While electric automobiles are reasonably simple to comprehend, the justification for commercial electric vehicles is less clear. Weight, cost, and operational limitations all mean that many more challenges need resolving before businesses can confidently shift to all-electric.

Fuelcards.com investigate the challenges at hand and how fleets can determine whether or not to go electric.

The cost and the availability

Commercial electric cars are more expensive than diesel-powered models, but the government’s Plug-in Grant scheme can help offset part or all of the difference (it pays for a maximum of 35 per cent of the purchase price).

Small vans, defined as those with a GVW of less than 2.5 tonnes, CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km, and a range of at least 60 miles with zero emissions, are eligible for a maximum discount of £3,000 off the purchase price.

Large vans with a GVW of 2.5 to 3.5 tonnes, CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km, and a range of at least 60 miles with zero emissions are eligible for a £6,000 discount on the purchase price.

For enterprises that buy vans entirely, the new 130 per cent super-deduction tax relief introduced in the March Budget allows owners to deduct more of the cost from their taxes.

Charging and range

Most electric vans on the market in the UK have a battery range of 90 to 120 miles, making them suitable for multi-drop last-mile delivery in cities, although ranges are increasing: the Renault Zoe Van, for example, has a claimed range of 245 miles.

These range claims are based on ideal conditions. They do not consider if the driver is extensively utilising the air conditioning in the summer, the heated seat in the winter, not driving smoothly, and, most importantly, how much cargo weight the van is carrying.

The Workplace Charging Scheme, which offers companies voucher-based help towards the up-front expenses of purchasing and installing EV charging connections, is once again incentivising EV adoption.

Grants are also available through the government’s Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, which covers up to 75% of the cost of installing a charger, up to a maximum of £350. However, this only applies to private residences.

Interoperability and application

The primary issue for a company is figuring out how to incorporate and run electric vehicles inside existing frameworks. Several concerns must be addressed, including how and where the cars will charge. These are some of them:

  • Is there a safe compound accessible if the vehicles are charged overnight on the premises?
  • Who pays for the power usage if drivers need to charge their vehicle at home?
  • When charging on the road, which networks should drivers use?
  • When using public charging, how do you pay for electricity?
  • How do you prepare for vehicle downtime and the possible loss of staff productivity while the car is charging?

If you have recently invested in company cars, why not enquire about fuel cards to make your fleet run more smoothly? Fuelcards.com are a leading fuel card supplier in the UK and Ireland and help many business fleets. Get in touch today to see what we can do for your business.