All motorists are currently getting to grips with a change in the automotive landscape in terms of how cars are powered. For most, it still makes sense to stick with conventional engines, or perhaps a hybrid, but for certain driver profiles, involving mostly low-speed driving in and around an urban centre over short distances, an electric car can make a lot of sense. A two-car family should certainly be considering the benefits. But what about a company car? Does an electric vehicle seem sensible if it’s the business paying for it?
Well, before we look at the (considerable) benefits, it’s worth reiterating that the same limitations apply to electric company cars as they do to private vehicles. In that, most EVs (certainly the affordable ones) come with relatively low range between charge-ups. It’s probably enough for most commuters to a town or city, but it’s worth doing the maths before you commit to the car. Also, if the company car is for pounding up and down the country’s motorway network to see clients, an EV won’t be up to the job. Even the high-end electric cars with long ranges (e.g. any Tesla and the Jaguar I-Pace) can sometimes require a long charge-up, depending on where it’s done, which may not be flexible enough for business use.
So, assuming you’re sure that an EV is up to the job, what are the benefits?
Well, from the company’s point of view, it looks good for the image and reduces its carbon footprint and fleet running costs (the cost-per-km, annual road tax and maintenance costs are lower than for a petrol or diesel engine, in general). In terms of other tangible financial benefits, commercial buyers of a fully-electric vehicle can receive a grant of up to €3,800, along with VRT relief on the vehicle, up to €5,000. On top of that, if the vehicle is to be used as a Taxi, Hackney or Limousine, there’s another €7,000 grant. What’s more, businesses can take advantage of the Accelerated Capital Allowance Scheme, permitting write off of the capital investment within one year.
For the end-user of the company EV, there’s zero benefit-in-kind tax and, just as usefully, zero benefit-in-kind tax on charging the vehicle up at the workplace. The savings can run to several thousand Euro.