Newly elected government must embrace real-world practicalities of EVs
Politicians elected on 12 December must work with the fleet and motor industries to understand the challenges faced by the switch to electric vehicles and help facilitate their take-up on a realistic level.
So says Tony Donnelly, chief executive of Goodwood Corporate Mobility, as he warns that politicians advocating a sooner ban on combustion engine vehicle sales “don’t have the remotest idea of the real-world practicalities and care even less what their clean air vision requires ahead of implementation”.
According to Donnelly, politicians are playing a ‘date game’ by proposing to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans earlier and earlier – from 2030 to 2040 depending on political party – with the Labour Party advocating that all car fleets go electric by 2025.
However, Donnelly, who drives a full electric BMW i3, said: “I am all in favour of the electric vehicle revolution and I spend my working week with businesses who want to embrace this wonderful and powerful proposition. But they are unable to do so for reasons that include vehicle cost, battery range concerns, an inadequate national recharge infrastructure and the requirements of drivers who travel long distances and struggle to find the time to recharge.”
He continued: “The environment is hugely important, but not to the exclusion of all that is sensible and essential from a business perspective.
“Progressive businesses need to get their people and products to their markets and that requires a combination of mobility services. To the fore is the company-provided car for those who prefer the flexibility a vehicle offers, instead of and assuming that public transport will work for them.”
Donnelly said that the introduction of a 0% BiK rate for EVs in 2020/21 was leaving employees required to drive long distances financially disadvantaged as “through no fault of their own, they will be paying significantly higher company car Benefit-in-Kind tax on an internal combustion-engined model”.
Meanwhile those drivers looking to embrace EVs from April 2020 could be hampered by vehicle supply constraints while fleets should also ensure detailed analysis of drivers’ journey profiles was undertaken as a starting point to check the practicality of electric vehicles, he added.
Donnelly concluded: “The fleet market has both a huge potential and desire to lead the rapid national acceleration of electric vehicle take-up, but for many it is still too difficult to make the switch in the real world. Politicians must understand that and those elected on 12 December must work with the fleet and motor industries to understand the challenges faced and then deliver realistic – not kneejerk – solutions over a viable timescale.”