The path to electric vehicle adoption might not be straightforward, but there are plenty of options for those drivers looking to make it as cost-effective as possible
On the face of things, it would be easy to proudly shout that electric vehicles in all their forms are still enjoying great popularity. Fully electric cars took a 16.1% market share for the first half of 2023, with volumes of nearly 153,000 units. That’s up 32.7% on the same period in 2022 with that rise showing little sign of abating.
Things aren’t quite so rosy on the van side of the showroom however, where just 5.2% of new vans sold are battery-powered. Yes, volumes are up by 8.7%, but vans clearly have some way to catch up with their passenger car counterparts.
We also have to be honest and recognise that EVs have become harder for dealers to sell. For company car drivers, with their Benefit-in-Kind advantages, fleet sales continue to be strong. However, for retail new or used EV sales, things are slightly tougher. Tactical offers have also returned to the market on both new and used EVs, sometimes including chargers.
Long-term of course, everyone knows about the government legislation for 2030 and 2035, with some manufacturers having already committed to an all-EV timeline earlier than that. However, the shorter-term is rather harder to predict.
That progress curve towards full e-mobility inevitably won’t be a constant linear one and so will naturally have some peaks and troughs. So, while EVs might be harder to sell at a retail level with some remaining customer reluctance still existing today, there’s no question that they’re the future for tomorrow.
Inevitably, that will also have some knock-on effect for fleet sales with residual values and so on. And at every level, those retailers, leasing companies and fleet managers that embrace such changes earlier will have more of an advantage.
It’s the same story with energy as well. Running an EV will roughly double the electricity use of an average home which, quite understandably, worries some drivers, particularly so with the recent publicity on electricity prices.
However, on the basis your fleet drivers can predominately charge at home, on the standard variable electricity tariff (which lowered to 30p/kWh from 1 July), EVs are far cheaper to run than an equivalent petrol car. With the average UK driver covering 6,800 miles a year, that would be rough petrol costs of more than £1,100 a year.
On that new Standard Variable tariff of 30p/kWh, that same annual mileage would cost just £510 in electricity. However, charge on one of the off-peak tariffs available to EV drivers from Ovo or Octopus and you can save far more if they charge at home. Charging on Octopus Intelligent at 7.5p/kWh for example, those same 6,800 miles could cost you just £127.50 – for an entire year of motoring.
Those savings can not only help individual drivers, but obviously can dramatically reduce the running costs when multiplied across an entire fleet. Ohme’s fleet software can also help fleet managers to easily monitor and reimburse those costs too.
Running an EV will roughly double the electricity use of an average home which, quite understandably, worries some drivers, particularly so with the recent publicity on electricity prices
As with car sales, there’s little doubt that long-term energy costs will be reduced, but the current shorter term is harder to predict (although energy providers are starting to bring more competitive offerings onto the market once more).
However, if drivers, fleet managers and OEMs continue to keep the faith in the emerging EV market there’s little doubt that things will start to turn towards them once more before too long.
To use a sailing analogy, you might not be able to change the direction of the wind, but you can always adjust your sails to reach the eventual destination…
Peter McDonald is mobility director at Ohme. Prior to his current role, he spent two decades working for automotive manufacturers including Nissan, SEAT and the wider Volkswagen Group.