Driving electric Part 1 - The key things you need to know

07th Nov 2019

Driving Electric - Need to know

At the moment there are over 220,000 plug-in Electric Vehicles (EV’s) registered in the UK, with these numbers looking like they will continue to rise as electric vehicles increase in popularity. As measures such as clean air zones are being put into place to meet the Governments ‘Road to Zero’ target of no petrol or diesel cars or vans being sold by 2040, EV sales are predicted a steady growth. 


Over the next few months we will be looking at the rise in EV and the key things individuals and those running fleets need to consider. We will be looking in more detail at costs involved with the new and planned clean air zones, charging considerations and range anxiety, and choosing the right EV’s for your fleet. However first we have a short round up of some of the other key facts and some more details on the key things you need to know.

  • 96% of motorway service stations have rapid charge points
  • Over 26,000 charge point connectors
  • Fuel costs could be as little as 2p/pm
  • The government will give you up to £3,000 off the purchase price of a qualifying vehicle
  • There are now over 40 vehicle models to choose from

Switching to EV


Businesses in the UK could save thousands by switching some or all of their fleet to EV’s thanks to Government grants, fuel savings and reduced repair and maintenance costs. In making this switch, businesses can also deliver on corporate responsibility pledges to cut carbon emissions.


A business or fleet in the UK switching to electric vans or cars can save an estimated 20-30% in upkeep and repair costs alone compared with petrol or diesel vehicles. Contributing to the fact that over two thirds of current EV registrations are for businesses or fleets.



EV charging is a vital part of EV ownership and we will be looking at this issue in further detail soon. However to start with here are a couple of the key considerations:

Types of charging: There are three main types of charging – rapid, fast and slow. The fastest units can charge in as little as 30-80 minutes, while slower units require several hours.

Charging at work: An increasing number of companies are installing workplace EV charging units for use by employees and visitors, as a vehicle will typically be stationary for most of the day, it can be conveniently charged. Companies can also benefit from grants and allowances available for installation, with many opting for zero or low cost for their employees to incentive EV usage within the company.

Charging on the road: Although many EV charge points are free to use, most fast and rapid chargers require payment. Charging tariffs tend to comprise a flat connection fee, a cost per charging time (pence per hour) and/or a cost per energy consumed (pence per kWh). Payment methods can vary across networks with some requiring a RFID card and others a smartphone app. Most will also require an account to be set up before use.

Government grants


Low emission vehicles are eligible for a plug-in grant giving you a discount on the price of brand-new low emission vehicle and is included in the cost the dealer will ask for a point of purchase.


The amount of the grant depends on which category the vehicle is in. Not all low-emission vehicles will receive a grant with only vehicles that have been approved by the government eligible.

The most you can get is 35% of a car's purchase price - up to a maximum of £3,000, but this only applies to cars that meet certain criteria, including the requirement for a range of at least 70 miles on a single charge.


You can find out more and a full list of vehicles here: https://www.gov.uk/plug-in-car-van-grants

Company Car Tax


Under the current system, company car tax is based on a percentage of the official price of the car (called the ‘P11D’), the percentage, being primarily determined by the car’s CO2 emissions. For the employee, the benefit-in-kind (BIK) is then taxed at the appropriate personal tax rate

For zero-emission battery electric cars and PHEVs with CO2 emissions up to 50 g/km CO2, company electric car tax is currently set at 16% BIK. However, for 2020-21 BIK rates for pure-electric models will drop to zero, before rising to 1% in 201-22 and 2% in 2022-23.

Next year, a new system of categorisation comes into effect however. Models producing between 1 and 50 g/km CO2 will be divided up in terms of (electric-only) driving range. The reason for this is to continue to promote the use of the greenest models. PHEVs with a range of 130 miles or more on a single charge will only pay 2% BIK in 2020-21, while PHEVs with a range of less than 30 miles on a charge will pay 14% BIK. Above 50g/km CO2, it is categorised as any other model, with BIK rates starting at 15%.

It is important to note that even though EV drivers can tax their vehicle at zero cost, it is required by law that the car be registered the same is required of company owned vehicles.

Lower fuel costs


Recent statistics show that 100% electric vehicles could cost over 70% less than their diesel or petrol counterparts in fuel. In general, for a modern EV, a 100-mile charge currently costs around £4, with an equivalent fossil fuel car coming in at about £14 to travel the same distance. The range of an average EV is of course still currently significantly lower that it’s petrol or diesel cousin. There are also of course factors that impact on range, such as the driving style of the driver, weight and age of the vehicle and how well it has been maintained etc. Even so, in the case of a small family sized hatchback you could save over £1,000 in fuel by switching to an EV equivalent.  



Finding a suitable insurance option for your vehicles is an important decision for any Fleet Manager and EV’s can come with a few additional considerations. Many EV buyers can be considered lower risk thanks to their choice of car as the belief if that their values and choice of vehicle could make them a safer, more conscientious driver, so sometimes plug-in car buyers can be offered lower rates.


A couple of things to be aware of:


Charging: When charging your EV fleet, you owe a duty of care to members of the public and those that work for you that could trip and injure themselves on a cable. Make sure that you have adequate liability insurance cover included in your electric car insurance policy and consider additional driver training around these issues especially if you are switching to an EV fleet.


Leased batteries: If you lease your battery on a contract separate from owning the vehicle, it is important to make your insurance company is aware of this to prevent problems should a claim be necessary.

Local benefits


There could be a few local benefits and incentives adding EV’s to your fleet. For instance, there are a come locations across the UK like Leeds and Milton Keynes for example that offer free parking for zero-emission vehicles and also plug-in hybrids.


Following the success of London City’s Ultra Low emissions zone (ULEZ) There will also be an increasing number of Clean Air Zones being implemented across the UK. Here low emission vehicles can travel/commute through for free instead of being charged the varied number of rates (dependent on the local council) that are due to be enforced.


We will be looking at this more closely soon with a full rundown of the planned locations and charges.


Downtime savings (maintenance and repair)


100% electric vehicle engines have fewer moving parts than the conventional petrol or diesel internal combustion engine. Having only a motor, inverter and on-board charger can mean there are less parts requiring maintenance. This could also make the repair process much faster and more convenient, reducing the downtime of your Fleet vehicles and saving you money.

Our Sources and more information can be found here:


You can contact us to speak to one of our Team for advice and the benefits switching to EV on 01332 267367 or email pvmsales@pendragon.uk.com

  • Gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/plug-in-car-van-grants
  • Zap-Map: https://www.zap-map.com/electric-vehicles/electric-car-tax/