YOUNG AT HEART: Substance abuse
15 December 2009
Tristan Young is Editor-in-chief of BusinessCar
It's easy to be cynical at Pre-Budget time. There have been enough occasions where the initial announcement sounds promising for the fleet industry, only for the detail to hide a sting or pitfall.
So it's not easy to get excited about the announcement that company car drivers of electric vehicles won't be paying any benefit-in-kind tax until April 2015, with the knock-on that businesses will pay zero national insurance contribution on the plug-in models.
Which all sounds great. But then how many of your drivers can a) easily limit their journeys to 50 miles between charge-ups, and b) are able to plug-in their cars when they get home. These points would trip up each member of the BusinessCar team for starters. Unless employers fit enough charging points to guarantee each driver with an electric car can recharge during the day, no-one that commutes over 20 miles to work could realistically rely on an electric car. Neither can any field-based staff, or even those that take longer trips occasionally, at least until there is a bullet-proof drive-in nationwide recharging network.
And how will cars like the Vauxhall Ampera - investigated on page 14 in the latest of our Future of Fleet series - fit, with its petrol engine to back up the electric motor? Will that be BIK-exempt?
So it's an interesting move from the Government, but until there are electric cars capable of a range in excess of the 60 miles that is currently seen as industry-leading, it will be of no appeal or benefit to a huge portion of company car drivers. A great Government headline that may not end up costing them much in real terms.