Tuesday 9th of February 2021 | Posted In: Energy saving, Renewable energy

Electric vehicles: is now the time?

As a bit of a car enthusiast working in the energy industry, I’ve followed the progress of electric cars over the last few years with great interest and a reasonable dose of cynicism. Putting aside the concerns over whether it’s the right technology for the long-term and the true carbon cost of producing the vehicles, there are a few issues, range, cost, charging infrastructure, and desirability being the top four.

Over the last few years, things seem to have been coming together: range is better, topping 400 miles if you have deep pockets. Choice and desirability have improved dramatically. Charging infrastructure is still a bit of a worry.

The greatest progress has been on the financial case. Last weekend an offer leapt out from my social media feed: Hyundai Ioniq – a very respectable BEV with near-200 mile range – on a 24-month personal lease for a shade over £200, including VAT, no deposit. It was a limited offer but not the first I’ve seen near that price, a seriously affordable and tempting way into zero emission motoring. The range is too short for me to consider it a viable family motor, but if you have got access to another car for long journeys it could be perfect.

As a business, three things bolster the case for electric cars:

  1. Pure electric cars currently attract 0% benefit in kind tax. From 01 April that goes up to 1% - a bargain for company car drivers and perhaps an opportunity for a Net Zero-friendly salary sacrifice for employees.
  2. Electric vehicles are currently eligible for 100% first year capital allowances, so the entire cost of buying a car or van can be deducted from your pre-tax profits.
  3. They’re more affordable than ever…

The MG5 offers a strong case. The list price is £24,495 including VAT after a Government grant. It’s a proper, practical estate car with a claimed range of 214 miles, and it comes with a 5-year warranty. Sure, it’s not the most elegant of boxes and MGs tend to shed value at a scary rate, but it’s a lot of EV for the money and the reviews suggest it’s a perfectly decent car.

Need a van? The Nissan EV-200 has been around for a good while now. It has a range of up to 178 miles depending on the model, and prices start from £20,005 ex. VAT and, being classed as machinery, qualifies for annual investment allowance. There’s a 5-year warranty on the van and 8 years on the battery so you don’t need to worry too much about degradation.

A pure-electric replacement for your Hilux might be a little way off – Rivian seems to be on the case – but hey, you can have a Porsche Taycan with four-wheel drive and there are worse ways to waste 20 minutes than playing with the configurator.

If you’re already running electric vehicles or are thinking of doing so, I’d be interested in your experience – message me via our company Linkedin.