Contract Hire / Fleet Services

Checklist for switching to a greener fleet

If you haven’t yet considered a move to green cars, now’s the time. More and more companies are recognising the importance of eco-friendly vehicles because it gives employees the choice to pay less BIK tax and positions businesses as forward thinking and environmentally-friendly. There are significant savings to consider too. With maintenance costs on BEVs (battery electric vehicles) reduced due to fewer moving parts, drivers will also see their running costs drop by going green. Based on a mileage of 7,500 per year, comparing the cost of fuel and electricity using the government’s AFRs, drivers could save up to £100 a month by switching to a BEV.

At Tusker, we appreciate that the decision to go green is dependent on a number of factors including:

  • Business location
  • Employee commuting and business journey profiles
  • Existing fleet make-up
  • Number of employees not eligible for a company car
  • Length of time left on existing leases
  • Feasibility of installing home charging points for employees

We also appreciate there’s a lot to plan. To help you move forward with confidence, we’ve prepared an essential checklist:

1. Understand your motivation

The way you transition to a green fleet, and your time frame for doing so, may depend on whether your primary concern is ecological or financial. So, deciding which is more important to your organisation should help you with all the decisions that follow.

2. Calculate the cost savings that could be generated

However your transition is to be accomplished, financial considerations must be taken into account. It’s important to work out the potential savings and costs associated with ‘going electric’. There will be upfront costs that need to be taken into account and set against the savings, and the speed with which those savings can be made available.

You could start by identifying the cars coming to the end of their lease and asking your provider about suitable green alternatives, so that you have an initial indication of the potential savings available.

3. Feasibility studies

As most fleets will want to transition over time, carrying out a feasibility study (or studies) which utilises whole life costs for both cars and infrastructure, should prove very useful. Feasibility studies provide a reliable indication of the level of savings available across the fleet, whilst taking into account which parts of the fleet, or which employee grades or categories might be included in a staged transition, to find the solution that would best suit your organisation.  It may be, for example, that the introduction of a pilot scheme, such as a salary sacrifice car scheme for non-eligible drivers is the natural first step, or perhaps changing your pooled cars to ULEVs.

4. Consider the necessary infrastructure

You may need to overcome employee misconceptions about ULEVs. This could be achieved by raising the profile of the organisation’s environmental and sustainability goals. Or it could be by providing useful and practical information about plug-in cars to your employees as you install charging points in the workplace to allay any anxiety about charging. Some organisations may also wish to consider installing charging points at some employees’ homes.

The number of workplace installations may depend on the driver profile of your employees, bearing in mind that employees who drive reasonably low mileages will probably only need to recharge at home.

And remember, government grants and tax breaks are available to mitigate the costs of going green and pure electric cars will be the only new cars on sale in the future, so you’ll need to invest in this infrastructure at some point.

5. Include a wide range of models on the choice list

Work with a provider that can offer a wide range of models – you need to have something for everyone. Include BEVs, self-charging hybrids (known as mild hybrids) and PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) to start. The biggest concerns will be battery range and charge time. Having a variety of options means choice both for drivers who tend to only make short, local journeys, and choice for drivers who cover more motorway miles or who need a longer range.

6. Review your car and fuel policies

You’ll need to revisit your fuel and car policies to ensure they are suitable for Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles. That includes items like business mileage and advisory electricity rates for pure electric cars and the calculation of BIK rates using Zero Emission Range for PHEVs where appropriate. Base your decisions on the whole life costs of cars rather than their monthly amount.

Understand too how expectations might change with regards to business journeys; for example, might the travelling time be longer? Although your employee may work whilst their car is charging, might there be a necessity to provide minimum subsistence rates for those drivers or take into account longer working hours?

If you already use fuel cards, ask for electricity to be accommodated too.

7. Educate your drivers

Drivers will need support to understand how practical plug-in cars can be and how significant the savings could be for them. You can help employees lose any preconceptions they may have about electric, explain the jargon and encourage them to test drive some ULEVs. Or perhaps you could start your transition by introducing Ultra-Low Emission pooled cars and encouraging employees to try one out on a business journey.

8. Don’t make a wholesale change

As we’ve mentioned, it’s unlikely that you’ll want to change your entire fleet to ULEVs in one go; you will want to ensure the smoothest and most cost effective transition. This is likely to also prove the best approach for your employees, particularly the higher mileage drivers who will want to feel secure that a change to a plug-in car won’t mean a significant change to their lifestyle or working practices.

Tusker has worked with a number of major companies to support their switch to a green fleet. If you’d like to chat to us about the potential benefits and savings for your organisation, give us a call on 0333 400 1010.

Interested in finding out more?