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Is your building leading the charge when it comes to electric vehicles?

The UK Government will ban new petrol and diesel cars from sale by the year 2030. Are there advantages to getting a head start? Darren Tonge of Hawkesworth looks at the current landscape and the benefits of early adoption.

2030 will see the ban of petrol and diesel vehicles from the UK market. The Government has made this decision as part of the ‘green industrial revolution’, a plan to tackle climate change and help achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Although it may seem like a long way away, it makes sense to start thinking about how your current building’s infrastructure will be affected by the ban.

The rise of the electric vehicle

Even though there are just under nine years before the ban comes into play, people are starting to see the benefits of moving to electric vehicles now.

According to Statista, one in ten car registrations in 2020 were for hybrid and electric vehicles. It is also predicted that 200,000 new vehicles will be registered in the UK this year.

There are several benefits to making a move to electric vehicles, or EVs for short. Not only do EVs reduce emissions and lower your carbon footprint, but they are cheaper and more efficient to run. Not only are you not paying for fuel, but pure battery electric vehicles are exempt from vehicle excise duty too.

An electric vehicle can drive in the London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) for free. The ULEZ costs £12.50 a day for cars, motorcycles and vans that don’t meet standards, leading to a considerable cost saving if you make these journeys frequently.

Bath’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) launched in March, and Birmingham’s will be launched later this year. Other cities will implement them in the future.

What you need to consider

If you want to push towards electric vehicles, you will need to make some small changes to your business infrastructure. One of the things you will need to consider is an electric charging point.

Here are some of the issues you will need to bear in mind.

Your fleet

The first thing you will need to do is work out the cost savings you will receive from a fleet of electric vehicles. You may decide to replace all existing vehicles, or just the ones that are due to be retired.

You will also need to get buy-in from management and drivers. You may need to make them aware of the advantages of EVs, as well as the changes in legislation.

If you have a fleet of company cars or vans, you will need to have several electric charge points available. This means that staff can fully charge their vehicle before visiting customers or attending maintenance calls.

Your employees

You may choose to offer an EV salary sacrifice scheme to employees. This enables them to pay for an electric vehicle each month with their gross salary, meaning they save money before tax.

Insurance, servicing and breakdown cover are included in the cost. As it is a lease, your employee can upgrade to a more recent EV at the end of their contract.

If your employees have electric vehicles, allowing them to charge their car while they are at work will save them time and money.

The good news is that most electric charging points are compatible with all electric vehicles, meaning it doesn’t matter what type of car your employees have.

Both options are benefits that you can offer during recruitment, as well as a morale booster for existing employees.

Your visitors

Offering charging facilities will give visitors an incentive to visit you, meaning that they spend more time and money with not only you, but the local economy.

Your building

If you lease your building, you will need to get permission from your landlord to install charging points.

You will also need to see if there is power available. Many buildings were constructed without thinking of the need for electric vehicle charging, so changes to your distribution board may need to be made to accommodate your new charging points.

The company you work with on your charge point installation will be able to make recommendations and advise what works will be needed.

Are there grants available?

Yes, there are incentives available for both electric vehicles and charging points.

The Government offers a grant of up to £3,000 for cars and £8,000 for vans. This discount is applied by the manufacturer or dealership, meaning that you do not need to apply.

The Office of Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) offers a grant of £350 towards the cost of a charging point, and businesses can install up to 40 sockets. The installation company you work with will help you apply for this grant.

In conclusion

More and more companies are committing to EVs. For example, Mitie is now working towards making 20% of its fleet electric.

With the 2030 deadline looming, moving to electric vehicles is something that you need to factor into the construction of new buildings, as well as the structure of existing ones.

However, with a little planning, it is not as daunting as it may initially sound.

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