More and more firms are switching from traditionally-fuelled cars and vans to ultra-modern electrified vehicles.
And if you’re thinking about joining the plug-in zeitgeist, here are some of the most important things to consider.
Graham Conway, Managing Director of leading national vehicle leasing firm Select Car Leasing, said:
“When the Government announced a ban on the sale and leasing of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030 onwards, it sounded the starting gun for the entire industry. We’re seeing more and more enquiries about electric car and van leasing as part of a revolutionary change in the motoring landscape.
“And to deal with this demand, Select Car Leasing has a dedicated team of leasing consultants focussed purely on electric vehicle leads. They live and breathe the world of electrified motoring, and their passion and knowledge is inspiring our customers to make the jump to environmentally friendly driving now.”
Select Car leasing has twelve Appointed Representative (AR) locations across the UK, and is expanding rapidly.
Steven Clarke is Principal at the Preston office, and with almost 30 years experience in the leasing industry, Steven is well placed to offer advice to businesses who might want to give their fleet a refresh, no matter how large or small their enterprise might be.
“Ten years ago, we leased our first petrol hybrid vehicle. At the time, that was quite unique. Five years ago, we started to really wake up to the potential of electric lease vehicles. And two years ago, there was an enormous shift in public opinion which means that now 40% of the vehicles we lease come equipped with a plug.
“That’s a staggering expansion of electrified vehicles in a short space of time. And I’d predict that in the next two years 80% of lease vehicles will need to be plugged-in. The future of vehicle leasing really is upon us. And if you’re considering either hybrid or fully-electric vehicles for your fleet or as a personal vehicle, there are a few key things to bear in mind.”
You don’t need to be a huge operation to benefit from electric.
“For me, it’s about having a conversation with someone, person to person, and getting to the root of what they need. We could be talking about a private lease based on a business connection, or it could be a business lease involving the same person.
We talk to people with a very small fleet - and we also help those who might have more than a thousand vehicles, who are often looking for an entire fleet ‘solution’, including our extensive fleet management package. And I think we’re extremely well-placed to advise across the whole spectrum because of the experience that we have.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a one-man-band, we value those relationships just as much as the larger contracts and we’ll help you find a solution, whether you’re considering an electrified option or otherwise.
When you call us, we’ll be your leasing consultant all the way through your customer journey. In this day and age, that personal experience is, I think, really important.”
Keep an open mind between a hybrid or fully electric vehicle
“At present, the electrified vehicles we lease are split fairly evenly, 50-50, between hybrid and fully-electric. And there are, of course, benefits to both.
What I would say is to have a degree of flexibility. We often get discounted deals, which we promote through the website, on a particular make and model.
For example, you might be thinking about a hybrid vehicle, but after seeing a tempting deal for a fully-electric Tesla Model 3, you might be really tempted to have a re-think. So, keep an open mind. And if you’ve got any questions at all, pick up the phone and have a chat with us - we pride ourselves on being able to have those conversations.
What I find is that when you speak to people about electric cars, they either know more than me or they know pretty much nothing and don’t know where to start. If you fall into the latter category, don’t be shy about reaching out for advice. I’ve been running an electric car for 18 months now so I’ve got personal experience, too.”
Don’t be a badge snob
“The electrified models that are coming to market now are really breath-taking, in terms of both design and capability. And if you’re used to only ever trusting the ‘prestige’ brands such a BMW, Audi or Mercedes-Benz, I’d say it’s wise to recalibrate your biases.
A lot of the Japanese and South Korean manufacturers, for instance, are really accelerating into pole position because their designs are so strong - take a look at the Hyundai Ioniq 5 or the KIA EV6, real head-turning cars. The German manufacturers are, of course, renowned for their reliability, and they’re also producing fabulous cars and vans.
But there are other firms now who also excel in terms of electric technologies. There’s a real shift in the power struggle between manufacturers from across the globe and it’s not just fascinating to see from an industry perspective, it also really opens up the market for lease customers, providing even more choice.
There are now more sensibly-priced electric vehicles on the market, too”
“Whichever way you look at, the range - or the distance an electric car can travel before it needs to be plugged in again - does matter, and you need to choose your electric or hybrid lease car with that in mind.
It’s not really a problem for me to charge my car at work every day, and there are more and more public charging stations being installed across the country. If you’re lucky enough to find a high speed charger, then even better, as you’ll be able to replenish your battery to around 80 per cent in a little over half an hour.
But I appreciate that this particular experience won’t be the same for everyone and business users need to do their homework and also be realistic. If your fleet drivers are only doing around 8,000 miles per annum, you can go fully electric, no problem.
But if you’re on the road a lot, doing 30,000 miles a year and there are instances where you can’t charge your car every day, a hybrid might be the answer. Mercedes-Benz has an excellent diesel hybrid powertrain - available in the C Class or E Class, among others - which offers up to 235 miles to the gallon. It makes a whole lot of sense.”
The tax savings can be enormous - but your fuel bill won’t be
“One incentive for going electric is the Government’s low-emission vehicles plug-in grant, with up to £1,500 available for cars and up to £5,000 available for large vans. But I think the biggest incentive when it comes to business lease customers is the Benefit in Kind (BIK) tax, where you can make enormous savings compared with a traditionally-fuelled vehicle.
The BIK tax for zero emissions cars is just 2% for 2022-2023, compared with 35% for a vehicle that produces between 150 to 154 g/km of CO2. That’s a huge difference when you’re keeping an eye on your bottom line.
If you’re a fleet driver, maybe a sales manager in the 40% tax bracket with a BMW 5 Series, you could save between £400 - £500 a month on your company tax bill by going for an electric model.
And let’s say, for example, that your prestige electric lease car costs around £700 per month. Your fuel bill, on the other hand, might only be around £150 per month compared to £500 per month with a petrol or diesel car. For a lot of people, making the switch is a no brainer.”
Once you switch to electric, you’re unlikely to revert back to petrol or diesel
“What we find is that once lease customers get familiar with an electric car, they don’t look back. They like the way electric cars drive in particular, largely because they’re so smooth.
There’s no gears, it’s automatic, and when you put your foot down they really do just go.
And once you get over the ‘range anxiety’ thing, and find your own charging routine and rhythm, you start to understand that it’s really not that complicated. Charging your car is an absolute breeze - there’s nothing to it. And you’ll enjoy never having to go to a petrol station again.”
Your vehicles are a big part of your business
“There’s no getting around it - cars and vans somehow really stir the emotions, even in customers who say they’re not really bothered about their vehicles. Whether it’s the way they look, or how efficient and cost-effective they are, getting your lease vehicle or vehicles right can make a huge difference to your day-to-day business operations.
And that’s where we come in. Each lease customer is different and requires a different vehicle solution. We’re on hand to help.
“As a member of the Network, I find I’m constantly being referred work by others. And it works both ways. If I need expert advice for example, I’d always go to the Network first. I’ve picked up so many customers through this relationship and it seems everyone knows someone who needs a car, or a fleet of vehicles!
For me, dealing local is also more important than ever. The whole point of The Business Network is that you actually get to meet the people you deal with which is almost unique these days! There is real, long term value in that. It’s the best way to cement a working relationship.”
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