Professor Peter Wells: There’s never been a better time for employers to go electric

There has never been a better time for employers to encourage electric car ownership, or for employees to appreciate the benefits.

There are major savings to be had for individuals, including with the plug-in car grant, benefit in kind, and salary sacrifice schemes, while several car manufacturers are offering to help with free installation of domestic charge points.

On total cost of ownership, electric cars already make a compelling case for most drivers most of the time. Employers can also access workplace charge-point assistance, for up to 40 sockets.

Just as importantly, employers can rethink their entire travel carbon budget as more and more organisations compete to become fully net zero.

Leadership on carbon is increasingly a matter of critical importance to organisations and their brands: consumers, investors and recruits are increasingly aware of the issue.

The variety of new electric cars on offer is also burgeoning: more manufacturers are offering more models in more segments and at more price points, despite recent supply problems.

The cost of batteries has fallen by 90% in just over 10 years. Many electric cars offer ranges of 250 to 300 miles on a single charge, with further improvements yet to come. What is more, drivers and passengers alike are realising that electric cars are peaceful spaces for a smooth journey, while for the long term there is the reassurance of eight-year warranties on batteries.

Meanwhile, cities are squeezing out petrol and diesel by using zero emissions zones. The number of diesel models available on the market has plummeted. Manufacturers have stopped engine development programmes to focus on electric. So-called ‘gigafactories’ making battery packs are springing up all over Europe, including BritishVolt in the north east of England. In short, the momentum is unstoppable.

By 2030, virtually every brand of note in the UK will be fully electric, and the race is on to build out the public charge point infrastructure.

Employers can help here too, perhaps by forming agreements with leading charge-point network operators to offer special deals to their staff or by redesigning their requirements for staff travel.

As the pandemic showed, a surprising amount of work can be done without getting ‘on the road’ in the time-honoured fashion.

The incentives to go electric are already being scaled back, as uptake races ahead. With zero road tax to pay on electric, and likely declines in duty and tax on fuel, the government must soon come up with a way of replacing lost revenues. So now is the time to act, take advantage of the incentives, and go electric.

Professor Peter Wells is director of the Centre for Automotive Industry Research at Cardiff Business School at Cardiff University