Why an Electric Vehicle Fleet Makes Sense



What uptake has there been from businesses and public sector organizations with regards using ecar within their fleet?

When the first ecar public charge points were installed in NI there were 5 electric vehicles registered. We are now approaching 400 electric vehicles with more being purchased every week. Businesses and public sector organizations have been forthcoming with purchasing EV’s. For example Belfast Health Trust and Fermanagh District Council purchased multiple electric vehicles at the outset of the implementation of the ecar infrastructure.

A significant number of businesses have purchased both single and multiple electric vehicles including a fleet of BMWi3 and executive electric vehicles, such as the Tesla and the BMWi8. In addition to the existing extensive range of EV car and van models from Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Vauxhall, Peugeot, BMW and Tesla, there will be lots of exciting new electric vehicles coming to the Northern Ireland market soon. These will include the new Audi e-tron, the Volkswagen e-Up and e-Golf and many more.

What are the benefits (i.e. environmental & financial) for organisations opting to use ecar as part of their fleet?

Electric Vehicles offer a great reduction in running costs for EV drivers, especially for fleet vehicles with regular journeys of up to 100 miles per day. Although electric vehicles are more expensive to buy, they have significantly lower running costs when compared to petrol or diesel equivalents. The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association has calculated that depending on when and how an electric vehicle is charged it will cost 2 - 4p per mile. This compares to 10 - 14p per mile for an equivalent petrol or diesel vehicle, representing a saving of approx 80-90% on rising fuel costs.

There are other financial incentives for businesses such as the facts employees and employers are exempt from company car tax, van benefit charge, fuel benefit charge, fuel duty and vehicle excise duty. There are also enhanced capital allowances, where businesses can relieve the entire cost of an electric car or van against taxable profits in the year of acquisition.

Finally, there is 25% up to a limit of £5,000 off the price of an electric car, and 20% up to a limit of £8,000 off the cost of an electric van, and, a 75% grant towards the installation of a domestic charge point up to a limit of £900. The time to purchase an EV has never been better!

In addition to financial benefits, EV’s have no tailpipe emissions. It is estimated that an electric car powered from today’s grid could emit between 15 and 40 per cent less CO2 over its lifetime than a similar sized petrol car.

The Northern Ireland Executive set a target of having 40% of electricity generated using renewable sources by 2020. Therefore, ecarni fits neatly with this strategy as the growth in the generation of electricity from renewable sources offers a route towards carbon neutral motoring. The fact that electric cars have zero exhaust pipe emissions and are more efficient than conventional cars clearly demonstrates that ecars are the future of motor transport.

What needs to happen in order for organisations to make that shift to use ecar as part of their fleet?

Making the switch from an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicle to an electric vehicle is not as daunting as it may seem. Electric Vehicles are very modern, comfortable to drive and full of exciting new gadgets and technology for the early adopters out there. The business case for purchasing or leasing electric vehicles clearly shows a reduction in running costs therefore financially it is not a difficult choice, particularly when leasing a vehicle rather than purchasing it outright.

However, some people get concerned about the range of an electric vehicle being 100 miles or less. This is where the term ‘range anxiety’ comes from. However in many cases this is a psychological concern rather than a physical need. Our studies show that two thirds of all journeys in Northern Ireland are less than 5 miles, and one third of journeys are less than 1 mile. Furthermore, EV Owners can install their own dedicated charge point at their home, specifically for their own use.

There are of course scenarios where drivers depend on their vehicles for longer journeys, and this is why ecarni are building a robust public infrastructure across the region.

However, in addition to the ecar infrastructure, some manufacturers offer petrol/diesel vehicles for the small number of occasions in the year where EV Owners need to take any long journeys.

Finally, one other barrier which we hear from time to time is in relation to the battery of the vehicle. The majority of vehicle manufacturers prove a 7-8 year battery warranty with an electric vehicle, which addresses any issues surrounding re-sale of second hand EVs and their future residual values.

If you are considering making the switch to EV’s, we would encourage organizations to test-drive a number of electric vehicles for themselves, speak to dealers about any concerns, or email any queries to the ecar NI team atecar@drdni.gov.uk.

How does NI compare with other regions of the UK and Europe with regard ecar infrastructure?

Northern Ireland has one of the most advanced electric vehicle infrastructure projects in Europe, both in geographical terms and in charging capacity. Uniquely, nowhere in Northern Ireland is more than 30 miles from a rapid charge point, with the majority of ev owners no more than 10 miles from a fast charge point. We are also continuing to build upon this infrastructure in the coming months.

Ecar NI are also working very closely with ESB ecars in the Republic of Ireland to enhance our charge point management system, to create ‘live’ maps showing charge point usage, and to provide EV drivers with intelligent data on their charging activities. 

What collaboration is taking place with other public bodies (i.e Planning NI) to ensure ecar is integrated with other forms of current and future infrastructure in NI?

If you are considering making the switch to EV’s, we would encourage organizations to test-drive a number of electric vehicles for themselves, speak to dealers about any concerns, or email any queries to the ecar NI team atecar@drdni.gov.uk.

ecarni is currently working with over 60 organisations throughout the NI Public Sector Estate to install 100 additional 7kW charge points before the end of March 2015. Through this initiative, we are actively promoting public sector commitment to sustainability by encouraging the expanding use of EVs. The public sector makes up some 25-30% of the Northern Ireland workforce; therefore, targeting this area opens up the EV market to the largest workforce in NI, as well as the use of EVs by some 80% of NI motorists in their daily commute. These charge points will be fully compatible with the existing ecar infrastructure and will be connected to the existing ecar Charge Point Management System and Future Payment System.