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FAQs

From salary sacrifice to charging, this is the place to get your EV questions answered.

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General questions

Who should I call in an emergency or for need help with my EV?

If you have an EV through salary sacrifice. Here are some useful numbers:

If you’ve been in an accident - call our accidents partner, FMG: +443442438777

You’ve broken down and need roadside help - call the AA: +441213363664

You’ve damaged your tyres - call KwikFit: +44800425262

You need a windscreen or glass replacement - call National Windscreens: +448008778682

You need to book a service, MOT or technical repair - call Fleet Assist Service Booking: +441480813826

What does EV mean?

EV stands for electric vehicle.

EVs are powered by an electric battery which means that they produce no CO2 emissions at all. Unlike internal combustion engine (ICE) cars which put carbon into the atmosphere and contribute to air pollution and global warming.

EVs have no engine and no gears, which makes them very powerful and fast. EV drivers charge their cars in the same way that you would do with a mobile phone, top it up when the battery is low at home or using one of the public chargers across the UK.

Check out this guide which will help you if you're wondering whether you should buy an electric car over a fuel or hybrid car.

How do I drive an electric car?

Just like an automatic fuel car, except the car has no gears. Because it has no gears it drives incredibly smoothly. The only thing you might need to get used to is Re-Gen braking. This is as simple as releasing the throttle.

How does leasing work?

When you lease a car you agree to pay a monthly fee over a set term for use of the vehicle.

When you take out a lease as an individual this is known as personal contract hire (PCH).

Businesses can lease a whole fleet of vehicles in this way. This is known as business contract hire (BCH). Check out this guide that explains how the cost of leasing through a PCH compares with the cost of leasing through salary sacrifice.

Is there a delivery charge?

No, we'll get your car delivered free of charge to any UK mainland address, either home or business (except for Teslas which usually need to be collected).

What does kWh mean?

kWh means kilowatt hour. In an electric car, it is a unit of stored energy.

You'll see that car batteries are labelled with kWh. This lets you know how large the car battery is and how many kWh it can store.

Chargers are also labelled with kWh. This lets you know how fast a charger will top up your car.

In simple terms, the smaller your car battery is in kWh and the higher the charger wattage, the quicker the charge. Check out our charging pages for more information on charging speeds and the home chargers we offer.

What's a tethered or untethered charger?

A tethered charger has its own cables hardwired in. Untethered chargers don't. They need a cable to be connected each time you charge.

Most cars come with a cable, or you'll need to buy one to charge on the public charge point network.

Our EV specialists will help you decide which is best for you based on your needs.

I’ve heard there are long wait times. How soon can I get an EV?

It's no secret that there are supply chain challenges across the world at the moment for new cars, including EVs. But we’ve pre-ordered the most popular cars, either by reserving factory build slots with manufacturers, or buying cars that have already been made, so we can get you in one sooner. Your delivery timescale will differ depending on which make and model you go for, and how customised you want the car to be.

What can I do with my current car?

We've partnered up with Motorway who'll help sell your car from the comfort of your home for a great price. Just put your car registration details into our easy to use tool and you'll get an instant valuation for your old car.

When's the best time to sell my current car?

Once you know the delivery date of your shiny new EV you can use our Motorway tool to get a valuation and arrange the sale of your car at a time that's convenient for you. We suggest waiting until a week or two before your new car delivery date (we wouldn't want you to be without a car).

Salary Sacrifice FAQs

What is salary sacrifice?

Salary sacrifice is an employee benefits scheme that allows you to pay for a car out of your gross monthly pay. Because this payment comes out of your pay before any tax, it reduces your salary and in turn lowers your income tax and national insurance payments too.

Money that you'd normally never see (because it goes straight out of your pay to HRMC) goes directly towards paying for your car. This makes it a very cost-effective way to lease an electric vehicle and allows you to save up to 40% on the cost of an electric car.

Check out this guide that explains why companies choose our salary sacrifice scheme.

Will I pay company car tax with salary sacrifice?

Yes. You'll pay company car tax, also known as Benefit-in-Kind, on an EV through salary sacrifice. The good news is it's set at just 2%. The Benefit in Kind (BiK) rates are set by the government. It’s worth noting that they're currently fixed at 2% until April 2025, and after this, they'll increase by 1% each year until 2028.

Will I pay the same amount each month for an EV on salary sacrifice?

Your net payments may vary based on a few things, for example, if you change tax brackets, or if the government changes the Benefit-in-Kind rates.

What is Benefit in Kind (BiK) tax?

Employees pay Benefit in Kind tax on benefits they get from their employer on top of their salary. HMRC treats the benefit separately from your salary, which means you pay the tax before it arrives into your bank account. Any driver who uses a company car for personal use pays BiK tax out of their monthly wage.

Check out this guide on BiK rates for electric cars.

Is salary sacrifice open to everyone?

Your employer needs to join the scheme before you can get an EV with salary sacrifice. Once your business has joined the scheme, your employer decides who can get an EV through it.

As a minimum, you need to have completed your probation period, be on a permanent contract and paid via PAYE, and hold a valid UK driving licence. You must also be able to afford the vehicle without going below minimum wage and not be planning on retiring during the length of the contract.

There are additional insurance eligibility criteria which you can see here.

What's included with EV salary sacrifice?

We offer everything you need to hit the road.

Our package includes:

  • Your brand new EV A free home charger, installed by an expert engineer 4,000 miles of free charge (at home or on the public network)
  • Maintenance
  • Servicing
  • Replacement tyres
  • Breakdown cover
  • Insurance (some employers choose not to include this)

Check out this guide that explains exactly what's included in salary sacrifice and how much it costs.

How long does a salary sacrifice agreement last?

It's up to you! You choose the length of your agreement, between 2 and 4 years.

Can I choose my yearly mileage allowance with salary sacrifice?

Yes. You're in control of your yearly mileage allowance. The minimum is 5,000 and maximum is 30,000 miles.

What happens when the car needs a service or maintenance?

With salary sacrifice you get a full maintenance scheme which includes servicing, batteries and tyres under normal wear and tear conditions.

If you need help just need to phone our Driver Line on 0203 3222 601 to book in. When the car's delivered we'll also give you a pack with all the information you need on servicing and maintenance.

What happens if I resign or am made redundant while I have an EV on salary sacrifice?

If you resign or are made redundant during your salary sacrifice agreement, the EV can be returned and your employer’s early termination leaver protection will be used, usually resulting in no fee.

What happens if I go on parental leave while I have an EV on salary sacrifice?

If you go on parental leave while you have an EV on salary sacrifice you can keep the car and continue to pay for it for as long as you can afford to. If your salary drops below minimum wage and/or statutory pay, you'll be covered for up to 12 months from the start of your leave.

If you don't need the car anymore you can return it and your employer’s early termination leaver protection will be used, usually resulting in no fee.

What happens if I go on long term sickness leave leave while I have an EV on salary sacrifice?

If you go on long term sickness leave you can keep the car and continue to pay for it for as long as you can afford to. If your salary drops to a level below minimum wage and/or statutory pay, you'll be covered for up to 3 months from the start of your leave (defined as being off on sick leave for 4 weeks or more).

If you don't need the car anymore, you can return it and your employer’s early termination leaver protection will be used, usually resulting in no fee.

What happens if I lose my licence on medical grounds during my salary sacrifice agreement?

The car can be returned, and your employer’s early termination protection will be used, usually resulting in no fee.

What happens at the end of the salary sacrifice agreement?

You return the car, and we'll check for any damage or excess mileage charges. Damages above our end of contract damage waiver, and excess mileage charges, will be invoiced to the employer and are usually then deducted from the employee’s net salary.

How does parental and long-term sickness leave work for the employer?

The employer would let us know (providing some documented proof) and would keep paying the monthly rentals but stop deducting the sacrifice from the employee’s pay.

When the employee returns, the employer just needs to notify us and we'll credit them back for the number of months due under the cover.

What condition should I return my EV in?

We understand that wear and tear is part of everyday life.

Sometimes vehicles are returned to us with excessive scuffs, scratches or damage. When you hand your vehicle back over to us at the end of your lease, we'll inspect it to make sure you’re returning it to us in good condition.

Our inspections are carried out in line with the BVRLA (British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association) guidelines. Full copies of this can be found here.

Do you need to see my driving licence?

Yes. We'll check it when you order your car and every year once you have the car.

Are there any fees or other payments involved with salary sacrifice?

There are no set up fees for salary sacrifice and no upfront payments. There may be charges in circumstances of excess mileage, certain early termination circumstances, end of contract damages or fines.

Do I need to be an Octopus Energy customer to get an Octopus EV?

In short, no.

But Octopus Energy customers do get loads of great freebies. For example, when you lease a car with us and switch to the Intelligent Octopus EV tariff you'll get 4,000 miles of free home charging.

You'll get a free charger with standard installation no matter who your energy provider is through our salary sacrifice scheme, or ultimate EV package.

If you're going to do most of your charging on the road and opt for the 4,000 free miles of charging with Electric Universe, you'll get this no matter who your energy provider is.

Find out more about our charging offers here.

Can I get a free home charger with my salary sacrifice car?
How do I get my first 4,000 miles of charge for free?

To get the 4,000 free miles you'll need to switch to Intelligent Octopus, the energy tariff for EV drivers. It's especially designed for EV charging and keeping costs low. Find out more here.

Octopus Electric Vehicles in Northern Ireland

Can I still get a car from Octopus Electric Vehicles if I live in Northern Ireland?
Yes you can, but there are a few things you should know.

How do EV car deliveries work if I am based in Northern Ireland?
The electric vehicles are currently delivered to mainland UK only, but it depends on the manufacturer.

Is the charging offer for home EV chargers still valid in Northern Ireland?
Yes, you can get the home charger package if you live in Northern Ireland.

Are there a network of garages for electric vehicles in Northern Ireland?
Yes, you can get your EV serviced by garages in Northern Ireland.

Can I return an electric vehicle in Northern Ireland?
Sorry, we can only take returns in mainland UK.

Can I buy the car at the end of my salary sacrifice agreement?

Yes, you have the option to buy the car at the end of the salary sacrifice agreement for the current market value.

Business Contract Hire FAQs

How does Business Contract Hire work?

You pick your EV, choose your mileage and length of the contract, choose your payment plan and get a background check from us - and you should be ready to roll!

Are there any BCH handling fees, or extra fees for setup or admin?

No, unlike other BCH providers we don't charge extra for this.

Are EV chargers included with Business Contract Hire?

No, you'll need to pay for an EV charger separately. But you can get your charger installed by expert Octopus engineers, check out our chargers here.

Is maintenance included with BCH?

Our BCH contract comes with an optional maintenance package that you can add to the lease at an additional cost.

Why would I choose BCH over a salary sacrifice?

It depends on your circumstances, but if you have a small workforce or don't pay your team a salary, as a business, you can make bigger tax savings by choosing BCH. Including 100% of VAT for maintenance costs and 50% of VAT for your electric vehicle lease.

Can you take over a BCH order I've already placed with a dealer?

It depends, usually, yes! We can take over all Tesla and some Polestar orders (give the team a ring to find if this is covered), and can usually take over orders from other dealers, but these are on a case-by-case basis.

How do I get Business Contract Hire?

Book a call with one of our BCH experts who can run through your options in detail.

How does BCH work if you're a director and pay yourself in dividends?

It works exactly the same as if you were running a business with employees. Office or garden shed, BCH is for all sizes of businesses. The business essentially pays for the car, not the individual.

How does BiK (Benefit in Kind) work if I'm a Director and pay myself in dividends?

You'll pay 2% BiK rate (or company car tax) on any EV Business Contract Hire agreement, no matter how you get paid. BiK is set at 2% until April 2025. From then, it'll raise by 1% each year until 2028. With BCH you'll pay this on the portion of the company's tax rather than your salary, as you would with a salary sacrifice scheme.

Is a hard credit check done on the customer for BCH?

No hard credit check will be done on you, the customer, but a soft credit check will be done on the directors of the company. A hard credit check is done on the company or business as this is a business contract hire and is based on info held by credit safe (a credit referencing agency).

Who owns the vehicle under a Business Contract Hire lease?

The finance provider remains the owner of the vehicle during the lease. Your business leases it but isn't the legal owner.

Is Business Contract Hire tax deductible?

Yes, to an extent. Assuming you're VAT registered, you can claim 50% off VAT on the contract hire, 100% off VAT on maintenance and 100% off VAT on commercial vehicles.

Do you pay VAT on Business Contract Hire?

Yes, but you can claim a lot of it back! 50% off VAT on the contract hire, 100% off VAT on maintenance and 100% off VAT on commercial vehicles.

Can any business lease a car?

As long as you're either a sole-trader, pay yourself through dividends, are a limited company, or a partnership you can get a BCH agreement.

Learn more about how to lease an electric vehicle through your business in our handy guide.

What happens when my BCH contract ends?

We’ll take the car off your hands and you’re free to choose a new car lease contract. The only obligation you'd have is to pay any excess mileage or damage fees.

If you're on brokered BCH deal, you can speak directly to the funder when your contract ends.

Can I customise my car on business contract hire?

It depends. Not all electric vehicles are available for customisation and might be available ‘as is’ with standard options. Some have all types of fun gadgets and requirements to choose from, but be aware these will reflect in your monthly rental fee and add time to your delivery date. All options must be added before the BCH agreement is final.

How many miles can I drive on a BCH contract?

We offer a selection of mileage options in our BCH contracts that start as low as 5,000 miles a year. This will stay fixed for the duration of the contract to keep your monthly fee as low as possible.

If you go over your agreed mileage and you'll have to pay extra fees.

What initial rental (deposit) do I need to put down for a BCH contract?

It depends. The cost of the car, the length of the contract, the annual mileage all play a part in determining the upfront cost of your contract.

Do I have to pay for a MOT?

No, you don’t have to take your EV for a MOT until it's 3 years old. If your contract goes on longer than 3 years, our BCH contract comes with an optional maintenance package that can be added to the lease at an additional cost to cover this.

Do I get a replacement car to use if I've been in an accident?

Check with your insurance company and the body shop repairing your car to supply you with a replacement vehicle. We don’t provide any spare ones for these situations, unfortunately.

Are all the cars on BCH brand new?

Yes, they are all brand new.

I have signed up to BCH and I am awaiting my vehicle. When do I insure it?

Just before we deliver it. We'll get in touch to arrange a suitable time and date and confirm all the details for your brand new EV, including your vehicle registration and all the details you need to sign up for business insurance for the vehicle.

None of the cars offered on BCH on your website suit me, can I choose another car?

We work hard to keep our website updated with all the latest EVs, but if nothing tickles your fancy please give us a call and we will try to find you something that's a better fit.

Is BCH very popular in the UK?

At the time of writing this, there are over 1.6 million leased vehicles in the UK, a huge increase over the last couple of years. More and more customers are recognising leasing as a convenient service with everything included, and car ownership is a possession that loses value over time.

What are my responsibilities during the BCH lease?

We need you to keep an eye on your estimated annual mileage and the general health of the car to avoid excess fees. You also need to insure your vehicle. Our BCH contract comes with an optional maintenance package that can be added to the lease at an additional cost to cover servicing and maintenance, which we recommend to avoid surprise costs.

Is there an extra fee at the end of my BCH contract?

No. The funder will only charge you extra fees at the end of your BCH contract if you have exceeded anything in your contract like the agreed annual mileage or the car has been damaged beyond the previously agreed to wear and tear. The best way to avoid these fees is to read up on them before your contract starts so you are fully aware of what the limits are.

What is the maximum mileage allowance you offer for BCH?

Our maximum total contract mileage allowance is 120,000 miles.

Personal Contract Hire FAQs

What is personal contract hire (PCH)?

Personal contract hire is also known as a lease.

The lease has a set term length, set milage and a deposit to cover the period. You'll give the car back at the end of the agreed term.

This is the most cost-effective way to drive a brand new vehicle.

Check out our ultimate EV package.

How does the lease work?

As part of our ultimate EV package, you'll be getting your car on a Personal Contract Hire lease. You pick the car, the initial payment, term and mileage that you want, and we include everything you need to get going electric. At the end of the contract, you just return your car hassle free. Any other questions can be found here.

What's included with a personal lease?

Here's what you get with our personal contract hire:

  • A brand new electric car.
  • Your first 4,000 miles free - either on Intelligent Octopus if you switch to our EV tariff with a home charger, or on the public network through Electric Universe.
  • Free home charger and standard installation.
  • Servicing, repairs and replacement tyres.
  • AA breakdown assistance.
Can I buy the car at the end of personal contract hire?

No, you’ll give the car back at the end of the lease as the agreement is for Personal Contract Hire, which is a hire plan and you therefore don’t own the car at the end. Remember though, cars are assets that lose value quickly, so this way you get to return the car, hassle free, at the end of your term, and can then get a brand new car of your choice ensuring you have the latest tech.

What does standard installation include for home chargers?

A standard installation with expert Octopus installers includes the following. If installing your electric vehicle charger is more complicated than our standard installation, it may cost extra to get you set up. Of course we'll give you a quote for any extra work before we go ahead.

  • Remote survey
    • We'll use all the information and photos you’ve given to us to make sure we're able to do a standard install and decide the best logistics for the job.
  • Fitting the charger
    • We'll fit the charger on a brick or plaster wall, or other suitable place. We'll also fit an earthing unit (e.g. Garo or Matt:e brand) where needed.
  • Routing the cable
    • We'll route the cable through one drilled hole in a wall up to 20 inches thick, if needed. Up to 15 metres of High Tuff cable, run and clipped to the wall between your consumer unit and charger, up to 1.8m high.
  • Electrical connections
    • We'll connect the charger to the origin of the supply and install a Type A RCD in the consumer unit. We'll supply up to 3m of plastic conduit or trunking to conceal interior wiring.
  • Testing & demonstration
    • We'll do all necessary electrical testing and give you NICEIC certification, as well as showing you how the charger and app works.

See the full terms here.