An EV is a car which operates via one power source only – a battery. This high-performance lithium-ion battery will provide power to the electric motor. There is no combustion engine in the vehicle and therefore these vehicles produce Zero tailpipe emissions. As such, they represent the “cleanest” vehicle solution for anyone exploring eco-cars.
While EVs have been available for a number of years the choice to the consumer has been somewhat limited and, in some cases, cost obstructive. The Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe and Tesla S/X are not new leasing options. However, as we move towards 2020, a growing range of EV options are becoming available and many customer requirements/budgets can be satisfied. Add to that the improvements in battery technology and charging infrastructure and you can see why 2020 is set to be a productive year for EV.
The most crucial point to note is that there is no combustion engine.
Because there is no combustion engine in the vehicle, an EV can make some customers nervous due to the limited driving range. However, with efficient planning (charge points, vehicle range and apps for your phone) you can ensure that an EV meets your needs and requirements.
Due to battery developments, there are far more EVs which can offer between 200 and 300 miles on a full charge. However, in “real world” conditions, these ranges can be put under pressure for example during winter/cold weather periods.
The key is choosing the right EV for you and your driving behaviour. If you are covering 20,000 miles or more per year, you do need to carefully consider the suitability of the vehicle. However, for lower-mileage drivers with access to home and workplace charging solutions, there shouldn’t be any major issues.
Correctly charging your EV is paramount. For customers with off-street parking, a home charge unit would be the quickest and most convenient way to charge their vehicle. There are several companies which operate in the UK who can offer low cost charging points. So long as the charge point qualifies, the Government may offer a grant of up to £500 towards the cost of installation to minimise the outlay.
Some businesses are now installing electric charge points for their employees and we work with specialists who can offer workplace schemes. In addition, there are a number of charging units at motorway service stations, supermarkets, train stations and even public charging points in the street. For customers without off-street parking, research where the nearest charging point can be found. Ideally, a charging point at home (or near to your home) and at work will deliver the best experience for you.
How long does it take to charge an EV? This will depend on the capacity of the battery in the vehicle and the power output of your charging unit. A home charging unit will often be available as a 3.6KW (16Amp) or a 7.2KW (32Amp) output whereas workplace/public units can offer 22kW (AC) or 50kW (DC) and beyond. When you are researching your vehicle, you need to understand how big the battery is and at what rate it can charge. Some vehicles can only charge at 7kW AC regardless of the charging unit whereas some vehicles can be charged using rapid and ultra-rapid solutions. For example, a Model 3 Tesla (with an 88kWh battery) can charge at 17Kw AC, so will take 5-6 hours to fully-charge. In contrast a 50kW DC charge point would take 1.30 to 2 hours to fully charge the vehicle. Just ask the eCar Lease team to provide the full details of the charging capabilities of the vehicle so you can make an informed decision
An EV (at the time of writing) is eligible for a £3,500 Government plug-in grant (this was reduced from £4500 in 2018). To ensure the grant qualification a vehicle must emit CO2 of less than 50g/km and have a zero-emission range of at least 70 miles.
EVs are becoming more popular with company car drivers as they offer a better tax position for company car taxation. HMRC produce a Benefit in Kind (BiK) banding table which sets out the BiK percentages in conjunction with CO2 (shown as g/km). From the tax year 2020/21, a zero emission vehicle qualifies for the 0% BiK banding This represents a fundamental change in taxation attitudes and, for company car drivers, will offer considerable savings and, for the first-time in many years, a free company car.
While EVs may seem more beneficial to business customers (due to tax savings/corporate image), there are some personal customers who are more environmentally-minded. EVs offer a long-term solution to automotive sustainability and the global reduction in emissions. Additionally, for those customers who are affected by congestion charge/low emission charge zones, there are cost-savings available for utilising an EV. While London has been at the forefront for these emission-based charge zones, other cities like Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds are putting in measures as part of the Clean Air Zone strategies.
Also be aware that EVs are incredibly great vehicles to drive and can offer a cleaner, quicker and more fun motoring solution. The latest product provides for an exciting vehicle future and customers need no longer think they are missing out on petrol/diesel alternatives.
While manufacturers are continuing to develop their electric propositions, the limited range could render the vehicle unsuitable for some high-mileage drivers. Some of the finance companies that we operate alongside will limit the contract mileage we can offer on an EV, for example a small city EV with a limited range may only be supplied on a contract not exceeding 10,000 miles. In contrast a higher-range vehicle (like the Tesla and Jaguar I-Pace) may be supplied on 15,000 or 20,000 mile per annum contracts. If you are constantly on the road, you may not be suitable for the EV (just yet).
Servicing and maintaining an EV is slightly different to a combustion equivalent. Please do consider that with contract hire you can maintain the vehicle yourself (driver-maintained) or include all servicing, maintenance and tyre obligations for an additional cost (funder-maintained). Research suggests that electric cars are nearly 70% cheaper to maintain; the EV has less components that require maintenance and wear/tear on tyres and brakes is reduced. For EV Drivers, research where the nearest EV approved dealer is located as part of this. If you don’t have an EV specialist near to you, there may be some issues I the vent the car fails to operate properly.
The core competence of any EV is its battery. Evidence suggests that electric car batteries do not deteriorate in the same way as other electronic goods. However, to supply comfort to their customers, most manufacturers will supply a battery guarantee of anywhere between 5-8 years or 100,000-125,000 miles (whichever lands sooner). That being said, EVs have only been in mass-production for limited amount of time and we are still finding out about how efficient and long-lasting the batteries are.
The eCarLease UK team are experts in electric car and van leasing. As part of the CarLease UK group of companies (carlease.uk.com) we have over 50 years experience in selling and leasing new vehicles to happy customers.
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