Five key considerations for businesses investing in electric vehicles

On Thursday (27 February), edie undertook a masterclass with EDF on electric vehicles (EVs) and accelerating the electrification of business fleets. Here, edie rounds up five key ways businesses can kickstart their EV journey. 

The masterclass looked at a number of issues from financial incentives for EV transition to charging infrastructure and V2G technology

The masterclass looked at a number of issues from financial incentives for EV transition to charging infrastructure and V2G technology

The event looked at the various ways the companies can begin their journey to mass adoption of EVs – and the financial incentives, and barriers, along the road.

--- WATCH THE WEBINAR ON-DEMAND HERE ---

Below are the top five takeaways from the masterclass.

1) The road to zero-emissions has been set in-train, and businesses need to take action

Kicking off the webinar, EV lead for EDF, Phil Valarino took the audience through the current policy and EV adoption landscape. He highlighted how 35 cities have now introduced ‘diesel gate’ charges – including the London Ultra-Low Emission Zone, which commended in April 2019 with expansion to the north and south circular areas of the city by 2021.

Valarino then set out the options for businesses with a 75% increase in available EV models within the EU marketplace this year, one million EVs on all roads by 2022, and then 30% of all road traffic by 2030 before a total ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicle sales by 2035.

2) The three reasons to invest in EV

The masterclass then outlined the three interrelated elements of investment – and how it played into EV investment strategies. Specifically, Valarino spoke about the ‘environmental issue’ – lower carbon emissions and reducing Scope 1 emissions, as well as supporting clean air policy and decarbonisation of the UK transport network; the economic issue – which includes lower fuel and maintenance, a number of government tax and grant incentives; and also the ethical issue – essentially the corporate social responsibility policy that sees company’s embracing EVs as part of a positive move for customers, employees and investors.

3) The government support is strong – but it won’t stay around forever

Going into the detail of the financial incentives offered by the government for EVs, Valarino explained the 0% Benefit in Kind company car tax on EVs that will be available to businesses from April this year until March 2021. However, he was keen to stress that the support won’t always be available.

In terms of other specific incentives, EDF highlighted the £10,000 Workplace Charging Scheme grant (up £500 towards each charger); 100% first-year allowance on expenditure on charge points or bought EVs; grants of up to £3,500 for cars and £8,000 for vans off the cost of businesses buying an EV; plug-in car grant exemptions from fuel duty and vehicle excise duty; and also the benefit of free movement under congestion charge and ultra-low emission zone schemes using an EV.

Valarino used an example of a BMW 3 series petrol car against the same marque’s i3 model. Imputing the same annual 15,000 mileage on the two vehicles, which both commuted into London/a congestion zone, resulted in a saving of around £6800 a year when all of the government incentives and fuel costs were added together for business vehicles.

4) Planning is crucial in the transition

Six key elements were illustrated by EDF as essential to consider in the planning stage of the transition of fleets away from ICE and towards EVs.

These included: analysis of a business’ overall transport usage; collaboration with others within the business and externally; ensuring that the relevant research has been undertaken on the EV market and various associated elements; make sure that the business has engaged fully with stakeholders on EV transition; testing and learning from EV adoption programmes and pilot schemes ahead of scaling up; and finally EDF called on companies to “think as far ahead as you can".

5) Vehicle-to-Grid lowers the cost of EV ownership

Going into detail on the V2G technology, Valarino said it goes “beyond simple one-way smart charging with numerous benefits for customers and the environment”. The energy stored in EV batteries can power a building, a neighbourhood and at scale even the entire electric system, enhancing renewable energy to the grid and helping with the energy transition. He stressed that vehicles can be used whenever required – and simply assists with costs while vehicles are parked up, selling the stored energy back to the markets. EDF believe that it can bring potentially levels of 8,000 miles in revenue for customers.

James Evison



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