There’s a lot of noise about electric cars in the media, fuelled by the steady increase in the number of new car buyers who are considering a switch from a conventional petrol or diesel car to an electric vehicle (EV).
A recent survey of more than 1,750 UK drivers from car benefit provider Tusker is the latest research to show the growing interest of consumers in electric cars. Some 63% of those surveyed indicated that they would consider an EV for their next car, which is a significant step up from 52% who expressed a similar interest in 2019.
The looming 2030 ban on petrol and diesel cars may still seem a long way away, but the resulting discussion of the impending change has greatly increased awareness of the pros and cons of electric cars.
Drivers surveyed by Tusker listed environmental factors, the convenience of home charging and reducing their tax bill as the three top attractions of an electric car.
Almost 80% of those surveyed said that they drive less than 150 miles in a week, which means that plenty of the latest generation of electric cars could fit easily into their lifestyles.
Among its own fleet of 20,000-strong company cars and salary sacrifice vehicles, Tusker’s fleet is now 20% of all vehicles – up from just 3% in less than a year – and that half of all orders placed by its customers in 2020 were for EVs.
Costs coming down
The cost of electric cars has long been a bugbear, but this situation has been rapidly improving in the last few years. When you factor in lower running costs, the economic gap between petrol and electricity vehicles shrinks even more.
Salary sacrifice and company car schemes, as well as manufacturer subscription offerings, are expected to act as a gateway to electric vehicle ownership for many consumers over the next few years.
Tusker is offering four-year salary sacrifice packages that include vehicle rental, maintenance and insurance, which are making EVs much more price-competitive with petrol or diesel cars. Some of the more popular choices include a Tesla Model 3 from £399/month and a Vauxhall Corsa-e from £249/month (T&Cs apply, obviously). Once you also factor in estimated fuel savings of around £1,000 each year, Tusker says that its drivers are saving significant sums of money compared to their old petrol or diesel cars.
It’s also worth noting that salary sacrifice contributions are taken from pre-tax salary, whereas a PCP or personal lease comes out of your take-home (after-tax) salary – although that obviously applies to any kind of car, not just EVs.
Like Tusker’s inclusive offering where the car comes with insurance, servicing, replacement tyres, road fund licence, breakdown cover and maintenance, car manufacturers are also beginning to offer subscription services alongside their traditional PCP or personal lease products. Volvo’s ‘Care by Volvo’ subscription is targeting consumers who are interested in switching to an EV or a plug-in hybrid vehicle, while Jaguar Land Rover’s new ‘Pivotal’ subscription model can put customers in a new car every six months so you can mix and match between electric and conventional models if you like. Other car companies are starting to follow suit, so you can expect to see more of these popping up later this year.
The monthly price of current manufacturer subscription offerings are noticeably higher than a regular personal lease or PCP and don’t benefit from the tax advantages which come with salary sacrifice, but they aim to make up for it with an inclusive package and greater flexibility than the three- or four-year terms than most customers are used to.
EV charging – the next big consideration
Charging has taken the place of cost of electric cars as the biggest consideration when choosing a new car. For now, driving an EV is simple if you are able to charge the car at home. All you need is access to a regular three-pin plug to charge your car overnight, although a dedicated wallbox will allow for faster charging.
The national roll-out of public charging facilities is certainly accelerating, but it’s still a consideration if public charging is your only option for running an EV. Plugging in at home is a more convenient option, as you can charge the vehicle overnight when you’re not using it. It’s usually significantly cheaper than using a public charging point, too.
If you are able to charge an electric car at home, we seem to be reaching the tipping point where an EV can be a perfectly viable option for many people – especially if your household has more than one car.