How we can speed up the electric vehicle revolution
By now you’ve probably heard that in 2030, sales of new petrol and diesel cars will be phased out in the UK, as we make our way towards reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In the not-too-distant future, it’s likely that we’ll all be driving around in fully electric vehicles. Lots of drivers have made the switch over to electric already and are enjoying the benefits of their zero emissions vehicles, like cheaper fuel costs, lower running costs and exemptions from lots of the charges that petrol and diesel cars still have to pay.
Making the switch to electric is very simple, but understandably it’ll take time for all drivers to fully embrace the benefits and make the change. So, just where are we in the transition and how can we speed up the electric vehicle revolution to achieve a greener and more sustainable future?
What are the main reasons electric transport is not where it should be?
Part of the UK government’s plan for achieving net zero is to reduce vehicle carbon emissions.Legislation to phase out the sale of new fuel-powered vehicles by 2030 in favour of eco-friendlier electric cars, is a key part of making this happen.
In the last couple of years, we’ve seen more positive signs with sales of electric cars increasing. In November 2022, electric cars made up an impressive fifth of all new car registrations.
Although things are definitely going in the right direction, there's still a way to go. So, what is it that’s holding some of us back from making the inevitable switch? A recent UK survey found that common reasons for some people not wanting to go electric were concerns about the number of public charging points, increasing electricity costs and concerns about range.
In the longer term, improvements in tech can help with some of these issues. Cheaper and more efficient batteries are important improvements to help make the transition more affordable for drivers. In the shorter term, there are plenty of other ways to encourage electric vehicle uptake.
1. Free EV switching app
Raising public awareness and dispelling popular myths is a big part of encouraging the uptake of electric vehicles. The use of free switching apps, like the government-backed EV8, can help do this. By letting users see real cost and carbon savings, electric vehicles that could fit their lifestyle, journeys that could be completed without topping up and the nearest charge points, the app can help you understand how switching to electric would work for you. If you haven’t already made the switch, why not take a look at the app? You might be closer to switching than you think.
2. Electrify fleets and public transport
One of the quickest ways we can accelerate the shift to electric vehicles is to focus on public transportation and local authority fleets. Focusing on high-mileage vehicles like buses and taxis means a bigger impact can be made in decarbonising transport by shifting fleets to an electric transportation system. The UK government has committed that 100% of central government cars and vans will be fully zero emission by 2027.
Will switching to electric fleets help?
Fleets and businesses are responsible for over half of new car and van sales in the UK.
If you’re a business and wondering if switching your own company vehicles to an electric fleet will help, the short answer is yes, it will! By 2030, the sale of new petrol and diesel-powered vehicles will be phased out. So, if you want to keep ahead of the curve, avoid congestion charges, save money in the long run and do your bit for reducing carbon emissions, then transitioning your fleet to electric is the way to go.
As well as changing to an electric fleet, if you’re an employer it's also worth considering an EV salary sacrifice scheme. Your team sacrifice a small portion of their salary each month in return for a brand-new electric car. You’ll save money by paying less employers National Insurance contributions while encouraging your team to cut carbon emissions and support the move to electric.
3. Financial incentives
Sometimes the financial barriers to supporting green causes can be high, which makes them difficult to get on board with for the masses. One of the ways the government is supporting the uptake of electric vehicles is through tax breaks and financial incentives.
As a company, you can take advantage of favourable company car tax benefits. For example, when you hire an electric company car you can claim up to 50% of the VAT back. You also pay much less Benefit in Kind (BiK) tax (company car tax) for an electric car. You’ll only pay 2% BiK on an electric car compared to as much as up to 40% for a petrol or diesel one.
4. Low emission zones
The introduction of emissions zones and charges also incentivises the switch to electric. Governments and local councils are increasingly charging petrol and diesel-powered cars to drive through certain zones while allowing electric vehicles to go uncharged . This can make a big difference in speeding up the transition to electric, especially for taxis and delivery vehicles that need to drive in the centre of the bigger cities like London, Bristol and Oxford.
5. Fund electric charge point infrastructure
There’s no doubt that to support the future of electric cars, investing in charging infrastructure is a must. Because the decarbonisation of transport is a top priority, the UK government has committed £1.6 billion towards improving the EV charging infrastructure to ten times the number of charge points by 2030.
By taking up government grants, we can all help to accelerate the building of the charge point infrastructure. For example, if you’re a small business there’s financial support available to help you install workplace EV charge points. For domestic properties, you can take advantage of funding for up to 75% of the costs to install a charge point at home.
Are government grants good enough to encourage electric transport?
The government has committed £3.5 billion to support the transition to zero-emission vehicles and the various investments and grants are giving targeted support to encourage more drivers to make the switch to electric. Funds are being used to invest in electric car supply chains, provide grants to support charging infrastructure, and support many financial incentives and awareness-raising campaigns.
While it's great that the government is providing support, it’s only by all of us taking advantage of the available funds, making use of tools and information (like the EV8 app), and making the move to electric ourselves that we can make vehicle carbon emissions a thing of the past. If we all do our bit and work together a greener, more sustainable electric future could be just on the horizon.