One of the biggest barriers to adopting electric vehicles is the cost of purchasing a new car. Don’t let that put you off. Leasing an electric car on a monthly subscription makes driving an electric car more affordable than ever before. Plus, most deals include tax, insurance and servicing making life even easier.
With rising fuel prices and fuel shortages, the interest in electric cars is greater than ever for good reason. Not only is leasing great value but the cost of running an electric vehicle is far cheaper and will also save you money, up to 40 percent, on maintenance.
ElectricDrives caught up with Alfonso Martinez, Managing Director at LeasePlan UK to get his thoughts on leasing an electric vehicle, how it can help speed up electric vehicle adoption and how it can help with the current climate crisis.
EDs: How important is leasing in the transition to electric vehicles?
Leasing is one of the key pillars in the transition to electric vehicles (EV). It provides businesses and drivers with a hassle-free and cost-effective way of making the switch, allowing them to spread the cost with fixed monthly payments. By removing the upfront costs, EVs suddenly become a much more affordable and realistic option for a greater number of people.
Leasing also offers a lot more flexibility than outright purchase; drivers can trade in their vehicle for a new model at the end of the contract, without any worries about depreciation.
EDs: What are the best ways of convincing people to make the switch?
Anyone who’s made the switch will tell you that once you go electric, you’ll never look back. Therefore, the trick is to get people behind the wheel of an EV and let them experience it for themselves. This is an ongoing challenge, however, our recent survey found that only 1 in 10 UK drivers have first-hand experience of driving an EV. This means that for the vast majority of drivers, the wonders of electric driving – what we call ‘electric moments’ – are still unknown.
It’s also important that we, the automotive industry, the government and other drivers, educate people about whole-life costs. Many drivers look at the cost of owning or leasing an EV and think ‘that’s more expensive than my diesel or petrol vehicle’ and immediately write it off as too expensive.
Yet, when you take into consideration the lower running costs and maintenance fees, as well as the attractive government incentives available, things suddenly start to look very different. We need to raise awareness of the realistic costs associated with driving an EV and show people the whole picture. If we can do this, then I think we’d be left with very little convincing to do.
EDs: What do you see as the biggest hurdles stopping people from making the switch?
Range anxiety and cost are still two of the biggest hurdles to mass adoption. However, this is quickly changing as more people become aware of vastly improved battery range of today’s EVs and the cheaper whole-life costs of driving one. At this point, the plug is cheaper than the pump for a large segment of vehicle types. With most vehicles now offering a range of over 200 miles (321km), this should be more than enough for the average driver.
The EV market is, however, facing a significant challenge with the ongoing semi-conductor shortage. Wait times for some models are longer than normal, which means businesses and drivers are either having to join a waiting list or choose another make or model.
Despite all this, it remains as crucial as ever that they continue to get ahead with their journey to electrification. Failure to do so could mean further delays and, for businesses, the added cost of having to ‘catch up’. My advice would be to lean on your leasing partner as often as possible to work out your options.
EDs: Is charging anxiety still an issue?
Public charging infrastructure for EVs has come on leaps and bounds in the past few years but there’s still a long way to go. Our 2022 EV Readiness Index found that the UK is the third most prepared country in Europe for the EV revolution, but with only 31,000 charge points available at present – most of them in towns and cities – there is a risk that drivers who want to go EV will be too worried to make the switch.
The Government now needs to deliver on its promise to invest £1.6 billion to expand the UK’s charging network to support EV drivers across the country, particularly in rural areas. We need greater access to reliable and affordable public charge points now, not just in 2030, and these need to be highly visible so that tomorrow’s EV drivers can make the switch with confidence.
EDs: How important is it for businesses to make the switch, especially with more zero emissions zones being enforced?
There’s no way around it; the future of fleet transport is electric, and business leaders need to be getting ahead. In less than eight years there will be a nationwide ban on the sale of new petrol, diesel, and hybrid vehicles, so around two leasing cycles. Not only that but we have a duty to go electric as part of the fight against the climate emergency.
Businesses need to take this seriously and put in place the necessary steps to electrify their fleet. This starts with prioritising those vehicles that are ready to be transitioned now, as well as those where there is a clear business case, such as those operating in cities with Clean Air Zones and Zero Emission Zones.
This doesn’t mean that they need to do everything at once. Instead, we industry partners need to help them to take incremental, more realistic steps towards electrification which help to deliver on their sustainability goals and wider business objectives. These smaller steps will soon add up to something far more significant.