Neill Emmett is the head of marketing at LeasePlan UK, a multi-award-winning organisation at the forefront of helping fleets transition to electric vehicles. Neill has over 20 years of marketing experience within the automotive, financial services and recruitment sectors. He has been at LeasePlan UK for the last six years.
Neill leads LeasePlan UK’s electric vehicle marketing activity. Their recent campaign, Electric Moments, was born out of the ‘lightbulb’ moment when people realise that they could make the switch to an electric vehicle.
Founded on in-depth market research and insights, they unearthed the challenges that fleets, and their drivers, face when looking to switch to electric cars and vans.
His team have developed a go-to resource for drivers covering everything people need to know about switching to electric vehicles. This includes 50+ expert recommendation articles, EV educational video guides and free to access EV assessment tools.
Electric Moments has received a significant amount of kudos from drivers, fleet managers and brokers – and having shared these insights with LeasePlan entities around the world – Electric Moments is also helping accelerate LeasePlan’s global transition to electric vehicles. The Electric Moments tool kit is unique in the market today.
EDs: You saw the emobility revolution early on. What first made you think an industry, aligned to a 100 year way of working with combustion engines, would pivot to electric?
Back in 2017 when LeasePlan co-founded the EV100, we were one of a few lonely voices trying to tell everyone that the emobility revolution was coming. Now, companies want to go electric; regulators are pushing them, investors are requesting it and customers are demanding it.
When you see environmental lobbying on a global basis, combined with regional regulatory change that’s underpinned by attractive financial benefits you know that the market will move quickly.
I’ve seen similar regulatory-driven changes in other markets. It’s akin to the tide turning and all providers need to re-think their operating model overnight. As the market started to move, I knew that there’d be winners and losers, and I wanted to ensure LeasePlan were ahead of the curve.
EDs: What is your personal interest in emobility?
As a marketeer, it’s my job to ensure we drive measurable commercial growth and make a positive impact within society. I joined LeasePlan because I could see this was an organisation that had a real desire to change the status quo – committing to net zero emissions from its fleet long before anyone else in the market.
The world of mobility is transforming rapidly and at times of flux organisations need insight, guidance and clear signposting from experienced marketing heads to help steer a course forward.
EDs: Do you have a wider interest in sustainability?
Absolutely. I think this is why the campaign has been so authentic. I have young children and I want my boys to grow up safe in the knowledge that the air they breathe is safe, the food they consume is nourishing and they won’t fear the impact of climate change.
Growing up in a farming community we’ve been living in a sustainable way for much of my life. The food that we enjoy comes from local farms, we walk the children to school and when I need to commute, we do have an electric car (a Polestar 2).
There are things that we can all do that make a difference. I take a lot of pride in the work we do, the resources we have created and the tools we have shaped. If we can help people make the right decision for them and move to an electric vehicle, that’s a win for me. We often find an electric vehicle can be the start of a more sustainable lifestyle.
EDs: You’re a keen believer in data-driven marketing. What data insights have you seen that most interest you around the transition to electric vehicles?
The biggest insight gleaned from the research was around the challenges that drivers were facing when considering the switch to electric vehicles. We saw a fundamentally different mindset from those currently driving electric vehicles versus those considering driving an electric vehicle.
For example, those reviewing the purchase of electric vehicles were consumed with questions about how and where to charge, costs of vehicles and performance. Yet, the electric vehicle owners had a more positive outlook and seemed to be getting on well with their vehicles.
They were more environmentally conscious and were not looking back to internal combustion vehicles. It’s as if, after the switch to electric vehicles, they were more at ease and the decision was not as challenging as they thought. We set to tackle the concerns that drivers raised within the research head-on with free to access guidance, tools and educational support.
EDs: Do you see leasing as being a key vector in driving electric vehicle take up?
Despite the higher initial purchase costs, the favourable taxation rates have meant that for many drivers leasing, especially via a salary sacrifice scheme, is hands down the most cost-effective way to drive a new electric car.
As a leasing provider, we saw within our research a gap between electric vehicle manufactures and drivers. We see it as our role to help, facilitate and educate. We do this to raise the level of understanding for fleet managers and their drivers when switching to electric.
Fleet managers need a leasing partner who can help them steer the course, select which vehicles are right for them, help to set up charging and support to transition their drivers at the pace that’s right for them.
EDs: What do you see as the challenges to electric vehicle take up?
As I mentioned earlier, we have conducted a significant amount of research into the barriers to electric vehicle adoption. The biggest challenge is around adopting a new way of thinking and driving. Our insight is that it’s not “range-anxiety”, it’s “change anxiety” that’s holding people back.
To address these challenges, we’ve developed a wide range of free to access tools, video guides and expert insight articles. We’ve also made these available to our broker partners to help them aid their clients also make the switch to EVs.
EDs: Where do you see the electric vehicle marketplace in the next one, three and five years?
It’s a very exciting time to work in the emobility space. We’re seeing decades of evolutionary change within three to five years. Regulatory change is a formidable master.
The next stage will be the mass adoption of electrified commercial vehicles. Working with partners, such as Arrival, we see first-hand how much opportunity there is in this space to make a difference to the world we live in.
I’m confident that once the supply chain issues of semi-conductor shortages are resolved, we will see the transition from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles accelerate faster than many might think. What we need to do as suppliers and partners in the market is facilitate that change for everyone’s benefit as fast as we can.