The road to 2030 – EV driver transition

Company Focus

As we approach the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles, many businesses are wondering where to begin?

Perhaps you already have some electric vehicles (EVs) on fleet, or maybe you’re still trying to work out what this means for your drivers. Everyone’s EV transition journey is different, but it’s definitely on everyone’s mind.

Arval UK Head of Consulting, Shaun Sadlier said: “It’s important to keep things simple – don’t overthink it and don’t be afraid to ask for help. We’re regularly sitting down with customers to talk through things such as how they use their current vehicles, driver mileage and charging options to help find the best solution for their business. There’s still plenty of time and there are steps you can put in place now to make the transition as smooth as possible.”

Let’s break things down.

Goodbye to the diesel company car

You may have a number of different driver groups within your business and it’s important to consider the needs of each.

First, the company car drivers, where diesel has reigned for many years, particularly amongst high-mileage field based staff. You might expect these drivers to be resistant to change, but actually they’re increasingly becoming electric protagonists, pushing for more choice of EVs on their schemes.

This enthusiasm is hardly surprising when we look at the cost savings. With company car tax payable at just 1% for the 2021/22 tax year when choosing a fully electric vehicle, and the rising tax on petrol and diesel cars, ‘going electric’ is becoming a very financially attractive option.

“The range of fleet-appropriate electric vehicles available has grown significantly over the past few years and so, paired with a continually improving charging infrastructure across the country, more and more drivers are able to enjoy the environmental and financial perks of driving an electric car,” Sadlier added.

Powering the workhorse

Then we have the operational fleet. Often vans, but not always, these vehicles are a core part of their drivers’ day to day work. Whether they’re used for deliveries, transporting equipment or converted for your specific needs, this segment of your fleet needs a slightly different approach.

Talking about eLCV transition, Sadlier commented: “If you’re already operating a van fleet, you’ll have had to ensure your vehicles are ‘fit for purpose’ and it’s exactly the same when choosing suitable electric replacements. You’ll still need to consider payload and capacity, but this time you’ll also need to look at the mileage range of potential vehicles. We recommend that you consider the worst case scenario range i.e. based on a fully loaded van during winter weather!”

The selection of electric vans available is more limited than the choice of cars today, but this is improving rapidly as more manufacturers bring new models to market. In the meantime,  fleet operators have a valuable window of opportunity to really understand the operating profile of their van fleet – what type of journeys do your drivers make, what is the normal daily mileage of each vehicle, are there any longer journeys and are they regular or infrequent?

The answers to these questions will help you to identify electric vans that meet your needs. Earlier this year Arval published a piece of research into the impact of payload and other factors on electric van range to equip businesses with real-world data to aid with their conversations around eLCV transition.

Electric for one and all

Outside of the traditional fleet, we often find another significant population of employees – the non-company car drivers. Those who don’t have access to a company vehicle or drive on business, but often still commute to work.

To really address the true carbon footprint of your workforce, these drivers should also be considered, but how do you reach them? And is there a way to offer these employees an attractive, cost-effective perk too?

Salary sacrifice schemes are becoming an increasingly popular benefit for both employers and employees alike.

Employees can access an affordable brand new car, enjoying tax savings as the monthly cost is taken directly from their gross salary. Salary sacrifice vehicles are taxed in the same way as company cars, so these drivers also benefit from the same low company car tax as their colleagues when choosing an electric vehicle. And for employers, this is often a positive step towards their CSR objectives, whilst delivering a great benefit to help attract and retain staff. Win, win!

Taking the leap

There are a number of areas to look at as you begin your transition, but understanding your driver groups and needs is a great place to start. Planning for each of these audiences, and spotting the simplest opportunities to make the switch, will play a key role in your journey to 2030.

Involve your drivers in the process, taking them on the journey with you and making sure that they have a clear understanding of the financial and environmental benefits. Their endorsement will help to make the transition a smooth one and help everyone to see this as an exciting opportunity, not a daunting inevitability.

GreenFleet readers wanting to find out more about EV transition can join Arval’s upcoming webinar – ‘Leading the charge to 2030: Vodafone’s journey to an electric future’ - on 4th November.