Electric cars are often referred to as battery-electric cars, and they use an electric motor for energy instead of the traditional combustion engine. The motor is powered by a large traction battery pack that is charged by plugging it into an outlet.
All-electric vehicles emit no damaging gases, making them more environmentally friendly. These cleaner cars don’t require a fuel pump, a fuel tank or a fuel line.
All-electrics are free from the following pollutants found in combustion engine cars:
- Particulate matter
- Volatile organic compounds
- Carbon monoxide
- Sulphur dioxide
- Nitrogen oxides
- Greenhouse gases
The average electric vehicle is fitted with a range of specialised components, including:
- Charge port
- DC Converter
- All-electric auxiliary battery
- Electric traction motor
- Onboard charger
- Thermal cooling system
- Traction battery pack
- Electric transmission
- Power electrics controller
A hybrid car is one that uses more than one type of propulsion system. Typically, this type of vehicle has both an electric motor and a combustion engine reliant on petrol or diesel.
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Steady Growth of Electric Car Sales Across Europe
The number of electric vehicles on European roads is still relatively low. However, that number is rising quickly — driven by political will across the continent. According to the European Environment Agency, 1.5% of all car sales involved an electric vehicle in 2017 (all-electric and hybrid). In 2018 that figure was 2%. In 2018, sales of all-electric cars increased by 50% from 2017. In Iceland, 15% of new car sales involved an electric vehicle.
Ambitious legislation across Europe is expected to accelerate the growth of electric car sales considerably over the next decade. The UK Government, for example, has committed to banning the sale of new combustion engine cars by 2030, and hybrid cars by 2035. Similar commitments in other European countries are expected to follow.
What You Need to Know About Electric Cars
More expensive than combustion cars
Even the cheapest all-electric vehicles on the market are more expensive than standard saloons and typical fleet cars. However, the savings made on taxes, fuel and maintenance make up for this differential.
Extremes of temperature can affect the efficacy of a car’s battery. This means an electric car’s range must be calculated with the prevailing weather conditions in mind— particularly for long journeys.
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Electric vehicles aren’t carbon-free
Electric vehicles require charging via a mains outlet. As all developed countries still rely on fossil fuels (to differing degrees) to produce electricity, running an electric car does involve carbon consumption.
Charging stations are being opened all the time
In 2020, there were more than 20,000 charging stations in the UK. The Government is working with the private sector to ensure the rate of installation is ramped up over the course of the next decade.
Charging stations are now available at filling stations, work car parks, hospitals, shopping centres and homes.
Government help is available with costs
The UK Government’s Workplace Charging Scheme aims to help companies with the setup costs of converting their fleets to electric vehicles. The Government can provide up to 75% of the upfront costs of installing charging points. And because HMRC doesn’t class electric charging as a fuel, there are no BIK tax implications.
Electric Cars Are the Future of Fleet Management
Fleet managers should start planning for the future today. 10 years might seem like plenty of time to make the switch to electric vehicles, but for large fleets, a huge amount of planning is required. Installation and maintenance of the charging stations is a huge undertaking.
Switching to electric fleet cars sooner rather than later may make sound business sense. Government subsidies and tax benefits can deliver cost-savings almost immediately. And the lower long-term costs of keeping the vehicles on the road will gradually reach the bottom line.
According to SEAT, there are some clear advantages to making the switch, including:
- Class 1A National Insurance savings
- Running costs as low as 3p per mile
- Exemption from congestion charges
- No Vehicle Excise Duty
- £350 grants towards charging stations
Combustion cars are being phased out across Europe, and the clock is ticking. There’s now less than a decade to ensure company vehicle fleets are converted. And with savings available now, there’s never been a better time to start the conversion process. Read more on how to switch your fleet over to electric cars.