Despite the supply of electric cars being impacted by the global semiconductor shortage, registrations are on the rise.

According to latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), 12,899 of the latest zero emission cars hit UK roads in April, an increase of 41% on the same month last year.

Electric vehicle (EV) adoption – particularly among company car drivers – continues to be driven by low benefit-in-kind tax rates, low running costs and a range of wider financial incentives.

All the while, however, the economic environment remains a challenging one, meaning cost control measures remain high on the priority lists of fleet managers and business drivers alike.

A spotlight on rising energy costs

Rising energy costs have left the advisory electricity rate (AER) for company cars trailing in their wake, and the current rate of 5p per mile is not due to be reviewed until the end of the year.

Fleet businesses, however, can take steps to ensure drivers are operating their vehicles in the most cost-effective way.

As with petrol or diesel vehicle mpg, the range of an electric car will be improved by drivers refraining from speeding and by taking a smooth, gentle approach to acceleration and braking. The optimal 50mph for conventionally fuelled cars may not be applicable to EVs, but the faster the speed, the greater the energy consumption too. 

Telematics systems can play a helpful role here, allowing businesses to compare the kWh per mile efficiency of their vehicles and drivers. Problem trends can be addressed using driving performance monitoring solutions, such as WEBFLEET’s OptiDrive 360, that score and profile drivers based on a range of key performance indicators.

Furthermore, functionality such as the WEBFLEET Charger Connection Report can offer visibility over vehicles’ charging statuses and remaining charging times, helping ensure drivers adopt the most cost-effective charging practises. Electricity grid demands will tend to peak in the early evening, for instance, when drivers are most likely to plug in their vehicle on their return from work. Charging overnight, when electricity prices are lower, can help to minimise this cost burden.

Mileage claims in the spotlight

With the AER failing to reflect rising energy costs, some company car drivers may be left feeling short-changed.

Although fleets are able to reimburse employees at a higher rate, doing so calls for evidence to be made available for HMRC on the additional costs incurred. Where fleets abide by the AER, employees may feel a greater inclination to overestimate journey distances when submitting claims.

The combined cost of overpayments across a sizable car fleet can be considerable, while non-compliance with tax and national insurance obligations can also lead to HMRC penalty payments.

By using telematics to digitise the mileage and expense claims process, the accuracy of mileage records can be improved. The WEBFLEET Mileage Logbook app, for example, provides evidenceof exactly how many miles are travelled, by whom and when.

Drivers can clarify whether a journey is for private or business purposes via their smartphones or in-car driver terminals. The app provides them with direct access to their individual journey logs to add further relevant details, while mileage expense reports can be generated and exported directly into company accounts.

With such solutions in their cost control armoury, fleet managers can better marry their green ambitions with financial security for their businesses as they venture into a new and dynamic era of e-mobility.

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