Time for all to see the benefit of BiK

Thomas McLennan, head of policy and public affairs at BVRLA,

The electric car market is in good health. Even in the face of extreme supply issues across the industry, the BVRLA leasing fleet is back above pre-pandemic levels, while the total company car fleet is up to 18% EVs, from just 1.8% in 2020.

Many factors have aligned to make that happen. Quality of vehicles, depth of choice and improving public charging infrastructure all play a significant role. Above everything though, there is one reason for electric car uptake being in such a positive position.

Thomas McLennan, head of policy and public affairs, BVRLA


Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) rates for electric cars have remained low – very low – incentivising drivers to make the transition from petrol and diesel cars. As a result, cars registered to companies are now responsible for nearly 60% of BEVs on UK roads*, as the BEV company car fleet has surged to 145,000 vehicles from just 15,600 two years ago. With nearly half of company cars on order being for BEVs, that number will grow further.

Low BiK rates make driving an electric vehicle more affordable and have enabled salary sacrifice schemes to democratise access to EVs and extend their appeal beyond the highest earners and most environmentally conscious. Over 60% of salary sacrifice EV drivers are basic rate taxpayers. That appeal to those basic rate taxpayers will improve as infrastructure and choice evolve, but only if the financial incentives remain.

Until electric cars are the only choice, they need to remain an attractive, cost-effective one for the masses to see them as a workable solution.

This means BiK rates need to be kept low. Drivers need to be given confidence that their tax payments will not skyrocket during their lease period. There is uncertainty on BiK beyond 2024/25, creating fears that drivers entering into an agreement now will see the goalposts move mid-lease.

Fear and uncertainty will see the uptake of electric vehicles hit a wall. Lack of foresight, combined with high rates will stop the transition to EVs in its tracks and prevent the UK from achieving its transport decarbonisation targets.

That is why we have launched our #SeeTheBenefit campaign. By highlighting the positive role that low BiK rates are having on take-up of electric cars, while showing what high rates will do to registrations, we are pushing for the Chancellor to protect BiK rates, give greater foresight on what changes are due and prevent any sharp, sudden increases.

The first step is to get the issue high up on the agenda, and we are looking to industry professionals for support. The BVRLA is hosting an event for MPs in July, and we need as many of you as possible to write to your MP to urge them to attend.

We have drafted a letter for you, simply needing you to enter your personal details at bit.ly/BVRLACompanyCar and hit send. Every letter makes our collective voice louder. Thank you in advance for your support.

*SMMT data: 58.8% of all electric cars on UK roads are company registered.

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