Finally, it looks as though the BEVs are coming


We have been promised for some time that BEVs – pure battery electric vehicles as opposed to electric hybrids – will soon be making big inroads into fleets. Yet it hasn’t quite transpired so far.

However, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reported that BEV sales in July tripled year-on-year. The actual numbers remain relatively low compared to petrol and diesel but there is a definite trend emerging. What is perhaps even more pertinent is the news, released around the same time, that company car drivers will pay zero benefit-in-kind taxation on zero-emissions vehicles in 2020-21.

This latter development may, in the real world, turn out to be less significant than you might first imagine. Supply of the BEV models currently available is somewhere between patchy and poor, so there is unlikely to be a sudden, mass migration towards electric company cars. However, we appear to be moving inexorably towards a point in time where that situation will change. Virtually every major manufacturer is investing heavily in BEVs and a whole flood of new cars will hit the market over the next year or so.

Probably the most significant of these will be the new Volkswagen ID3, a Golf-sized hatch that is available with a variety of ranges but, in its most powerful form, can cover more than 300 miles on a single charge. Pricing is also promised to be competitive and it looks set to be a potential game-changer when it arrives in mid-2020.

The relative lack of compromise inherent in these newer BEVs in terms of range and operating costs, alongside their taxation advantages, means that within 2-3 years, we could potentially see significant numbers on fleets. Really, we are at a point in time where businesses operating cars especially – because the BEVs that are coming include few vans – need to think about what this change may mean.

A simple yet essential step may be to think about installing charging points at work and to consider how you might integrate BEVs into your company choice lists. For example, there is probably little point allocating a BEV to someone who has no charging facilities available at home, however much they may want one from a personal point of view.

Of course, the service, maintenance and repair profile of BEVs is quite different from petrol and diesel vehicles and this is something else to consider. At epyx, we now have a number of these vehicles on the platform and are starting to develop expertise in this area.

As a business, we are highly supportive of BEVs from an environmental point of view and we are happy to share any information that aids their adoption with both our fleet customers and the wider industry.


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