Since 2013, the demand for electric vehicles in the UK has increased significantly – there were almost 95,000 plug-in cars registered by the end of March 2017, compared to just 3,500 registered cars four years ago. This market is predicted to continue growing as it becomes easier than ever to drive an electric car, with over 4,000 charging locations and 6,500 charging devices currently in the UK. So how could your business benefit from this emerging market?
What’s on offer?
The government are currently offering a number of financial incentives to businesses that switch to EVs. The Plug-In Car Grant and Plug-In Van Grant schemes give businesses a discount of 20% off the purchase cost of electric cars and vans, reducing the initial outlay required when switching to an e-fleet. If you’re considering adopting EVs, it may be wise to act soon, as businesses can also claim 100% enhanced capital allowances for expenditure incurred on low CO2-emission cars, zero-emission goods vehicles and vehicle gas refuelling equipment until 2018.
Switch on your fleet
If your business has a fleet of vehicles then switching to an electric fleet (e-fleet) could significantly reduce your transportation costs. Electric vehicles are less expensive to fuel, with fuel for 100 miles costing around £2-£4 for an electric car compared to around £17-£20 for a petrol or diesel car. As electric vehicles have fewer moving parts than vehicles with internal combustion engines, they are also typically cheaper to maintain – studies have shown that electric car owners could save over £300 a year on maintenance, which adds up to significant savings when multiplied across a fleet.
Power up your revenue
Your company doesn’t need to have a fleet of vehicles to take advantage of the EV market – if you have off-road parking then you can benefit by installing EV charging points, attracting a high calibre of customers and demonstrating your green credentials to site visitors and stakeholders.
Under the Government’s workplace charging scheme businesses can claim vouchers to use against the upfront costs of purchasing and installing EV charge points. Vouchers worth £300 are available for each socket installed, up to a maximum of 20 sockets.
Whilst EV charge points are essential for businesses with e-fleets and attractive to employees considering switching personal cars to EVs, this is of particular interest to businesses in the retail and leisure sectors. Charge points are also likely to encourage new customers to visit your site as they can be few and far between in some areas. Studies have shown that electric car owners are generally more affluent than the average motorist, so installing charge points could mean that you have higher value customers spending time on-site. Businesses are starting to realise the benefits that installing charge points can bring – real estate giant Savills has recently announced that they’re planning to roll out EV charging points at shopping centres and retail parks across the UK to improve the customer experience, for example.
A smarter approach to demand management
EV charging posts with integrated batteries will also play an important role in the smart grid, plugged in to the regional distributional networks to support with future system balancing requirements. These posts can potentially export or import power from the Grid to automatically respond to frequency events or system supply and demand imbalance, without impacting fleet charging.
This use could then be extended to support businesses with reducing their non-commodity costs, from peak demand avoidance to the extra revenue that comes from participation in demand response schemes.
Funding and incentive schemes bolster the business case for EVs, but an EV strategy requires close cooperation between energy and fleet managers to optimise delivery and achieve savings.
The cost of charging is crucial: modelling the cost of charging up an e-fleet on-site is critical to factor in to future energy forecasts and avoid exceeding volume tolerances.
Alongside the unit cost of energy, non-commodity costs also count. Installing ten 50kW fast charge posts might attract new customers and boost revenue, but it could also impact the capacity charge incurred on the energy bill, and be beyond the capabilities of the existing electrical infrastructure. There are ways to counter this – for example, a retailer switching to LED lights could reduce your capacity by 100kW, the equivalent of two charge points.
While electric vehicles and charging posts do come at a cost, getting involved in the EV market could give your business a competitive advantage. If you’re interested in exploring the benefits of electric vehicles for your business, get in touch with one of our energy experts today. Call us on 08451 46 36 26 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.