Steve Beadle, who heads up Grosvenor Leasing’s award-winning 0zone team, explains that in 2022 companies leased or purchased nearly 200,000 electric vehicles and, with supply chain problems easing and more EVs being launched, this could reach 300,000 during 2023. 

Yet with a greater share of company fleets being taken by EVs, fleet managers will also encounter the ‘hard yards’ of the zero-emission transition. 

“In the very early years, our experience was that electric vehicle uptake was typically led by drivers who were EV evangelists,” said Steve. “These were early adopters who were
knowledgeable, keen to change and advocates of emission-free driving. 

“The second, larger phase, of EV uptake at Grosvenor Leasing has been down to the proactivity and expertise of our 0Zone team. 

“Since 2017, the 0Zone team has been working closely with our fleet customers to develop appealing ULEV and EV choice lists and car policies as well as educating, supporting and advising drivers. This has been extremely successful with over 90% of vehicles ordered by Grosvenor Leasing customers now having plug-in or self-charging capability.

“However, there is still resistance to moving to fully electric vehicles by some drivers and, where this is the case, companies will need even greater proactivity and support.

“This will involve heightened education and training on EVs, reassurance and advice regarding charging and range, raising awareness about the financial and tax benefits of choosing an EV, and more support around the suitability of electric vehicles to meet drivers’ job roles and personal lifestyles. 

“It will also be important to demonstrate that a complete support structure is in place for drivers of EVs, as resistance to change can often be due to a fear of the unknown.”

When Grosvenor Leasing launched its 0Zone solution 6 years ago, it was seen at the time as a pioneering step in the fleet sector. The 0Zone team was one of the first in the UK fleet sector to begin proactively advising and supporting companies and drivers with the transition to electric vehicles, offering guidance around the financial, operational and environmental benefits of adopting alternative fuels.

At the time there were very few viable electric company cars available, the charging infrastructure was in its relative infancy and uptake was low. However, by recognising back then that it was important to begin building a robust proposition around ULEVs and EVs, Grosvenor has steadily established itself as a market leader in the support it offers to electric vehicle drivers – from when they first begin choosing their EV through to their time on the road. 

“Demonstrating to customers and their drivers that we have a nationwide and accessible servicing, maintenance and repair network in place for EVs, as well as robust accident management and breakdown policies, is extremely important in encouraging the less willing drivers to move out of the comfort zone of always having had a traditional petrol or diesel car,” continued Steve.

“By also providing support with charging concerns, goes a long way to encourage the more resistant drivers into the new era of alternative fuels. Ultimately, it’s important to give them maximum reassurance that having an EV is a good choice, particularly as many of the headlines they will read are about charging issues, the slow pace of growth of the public infrastructure and range anxiety.

“Of course, we have to be pragmatic as there are still drivers who may not yet be well-suited to a fully electric car; perhaps due to where they live and work, the type of job they do and the miles they cover. In these scenarios, our 0Zone team will review their options carefully and may suggest a plug-in hybrid is better for them this time than a fully electric.

“However, there are still large numbers of drivers who could very readily go fully electric with their next car, and it is important to support these in reaching the right decision. After all, any petrol or diesel car added to a fleet now is likely to be there until 2026 or 2027, which slows down the green agenda for the business.

“Leaving it until 2026 or 2027 to go electric also means there is just one replacement cycle left before the Government’s 2030 deadline comes into effect. This means that the company realistically only has one shot of getting it right with plug-in technology!” 

As part of its EV transition proposition, Grosvenor Leasing has seen a very large uptake in salary sacrifice schemes, which is also encouraging some of the slower adopters into their first electric car.

The popularity of Grosvenor Leasing’s scheme is largely down to drivers being able to save up to 40% on a salary sacrifice EV compared to a personal lease, as well as the Grosvenor scheme being virtually risk-free for employee and employer.

“Our salary sacrifice scheme is certainly encouraging some drivers into their first fully electric car,” explained Steve, “and the reason for its sudden rise in popularity is all down to the very low benefit in kind tax (BIK) on electric cars, which makes the financial benefits extremely persuasive.

“Put simply, if an employee decides to sacrifice a portion of their salary for an electric car, the amount of income tax and national insurance contributions they pay will reduce.

“Their employer then provides them with a fully funded, maintained and insured electric car, on which they will only be paying very low benefit in kind (BIK) tax. This provides an immediate saving compared to buying that vehicle or funding it through a personal lease, and the employer also gains by making Class 1a NI savings as well as offering an additional staff benefit, at no extra cost.

“A unique aspect of Grosvenor’s salary sacrifice scheme is that it is also virtually risk-free, as it comes with protection against employees leaving the company, or going on extended sick or maternity/paternity leave.

“This is a particularly important feature of our offering, because it means companies can implement it with complete peace of mind.

“It’s also very straightforward to put in place, and with minimal input or administration it can be implemented swiftly – quickly becoming a very important staff benefit offering sizeable savings.”

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