Commuters abandon public transport for cheaper electric cars, but many company car policies don’t allow EVs
With employees in the UK being encouraged to return to work, but being discouraged from using public transport, figures show that electric vehicles can be one of the cheapest travel options – but many company car policies don’t allow EVs.
A survey by DriveElectric, one of the UK’s leading electric vehicle leasing companies, asked public transport commuters if they were planning to change their journey to work post-lockdown. The results showed that 43% were considering an EV rather than using public transport; 33% said that they were planning to work from home; 13% said they would be driving a petrol or diesel car; and 11% said they would walk more.1
Asking public transport commuters how they were planning to change their journey to work post-lockdown:
The good news is that total annual costs for a new electric car could be as low as £8,803, compared with £8,935 for the train, and £12,950 for a new diesel car, for an employee commuting into London.2
The figures take into account the new, more expensive London Congestion Charge, now increased from £11.50 to £15 per day – except for EVs, which are exempt.
The zero percent company car Benefit in Kind (BIK) tax for pure electric vehicles from April 2020 could also save thousands of pounds per year for company car drivers.
But despite electric cars having no negative impact on air quality, being safer from a health perspective, and being cheaper in terms of whole-life costs, many businesses have company car policies that don’t allow employees to choose EVs.
DriveElectric has found that businesses have concerns about issues ranging from the purchase price of EVs to how to charge them, resulting in companies choosing not to offer EVs as an option for employees. However DriveElectric has worked with many companies to show that EVs typically have much lower whole life costs than petrol or diesel cars, and there are a range of solutions when it comes to charging.
Mike Potter, Managing Director of DriveElectric, comments: “People are concerned about using public transport when they return to work, and a car is the only viable alternative option for many. The improvements in air quality that have been experienced during lockdown could be maintained by using electric cars, but many company car policies prevent employees choosing EVs.
“Our experience of helping companies shift to ultra-low emission vehicles since 2008 has shown that the majority of perceived challenges associated with the adoption of electric vehicles by fleets can easily be addressed, and incorporated in a company car policy that supports EVs.”
Although under normal circumstances public transport is the preferable travel option to reduce congestion – and walking and cycling are even more ideal where possible – EVs could offer a lower cost and safer option, and could be used in conjunction with flexible working hours to minimise travel and congestion at peak times.
Improvements in air quality during lockdown have been well documented, and EVs will help to maintain lower levels of pollution, rather than shifting the health risk from COVID-19 to increased air pollution from vehicles.