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EVs noticeably enticing drivers back to company cars, says Arval

By / 4 months ago / UK News / No Comments

“Noticeable” numbers of former opt-out drivers are coming back to company car schemes thanks to the benefits of electric vehicles, according to Arval.

It’s something that’s been increasingly reported since the zero and low Benefit-in-Kind rates were set out in July 2019 as a result of the WLTP consultation and subsequently came into effect in April 2020 – but now Arval has said the return of drivers to the company car fold is becoming increasingly more apparent.

Shaun Sadlier, head of consulting at Arval UK, said: “Many cash takers liked their company car but didn’t like paying what they perceived as high Benefit-in-Kind and that was why they opted out. Now, with low Benefit-in-Kind in place for EVs for at least five years, many more are now returning to company car schemes.

“We predicted that this would start to happen some time ago, but it’s now becoming noticeable in several of the major fleets with which we work. It’s a welcome development that will feed demand for zero-emission vehicles and lead to wider, faster adoption.”

The Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) has also been saying for some time that the BiK rates would attract drivers back. Although HMRC figures indicated a fall in the number of official company cars for 2018/19 – the most recent year for which data is available – the figures were skewed by the impact of voluntary payrolling and speaking this autumn AFP chair Paul Hollick said that any downturn in company car demand was expected to be reversed by the attractive BiK rates on EVs.

And speaking in October, Hollick said there had been much anecdotal evidence of drivers returning to the company car fold.

Arval’s Shaun Sadlier added that, while Benefit-in-Kind was the key attractor in choosing a zero-emission vehicle, there are also a range of other factors in play.

“If you talk to fleet managers and their drivers, there’s a lot of enthusiasm around the vehicles themselves. It’s as simple as many people really liking EVs as their day-to-day mode of transport. We are beyond the early adopter phase and heading into mass acceptance.

“All it takes is a couple of EVs on a fleet to disprove the reservations some people hold about these vehicles. They can see that misgivings such as range anxiety are actually of limited importance for the vast number of journeys that are made.”

Arval UK recently updated its own company car scheme to increase adoption of EVs; by September nearly half of its company car drivers had made the switch and this has now risen to nearly two-thirds.

“All of our consultants and many of our sales team have switched to EVs. They act as ambassadors for the technology, developing personal experience to share with customers, friends and family – as more people drive EVs, consumer confidence will increase. Coupled with the growing number of different models that are available, plus the recent 2030 announcement, it’s not an exaggeration to say that we can all play our part in a zero-emission future and choosing an EV is a step in that direction.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news - or gossip.