With electric vehicles growing increasingly popular and with many benefits, both for businesses and the planet, it’s no wonder businesses of all sizes and industries are making the switch.
We understand that as a small business, making a new investment can be a big decision, and you want to be sure that it’s the right thing to do. If you’re a small business owner who’s considering investing in electric vehicles, this guide is designed to shed some light on your EV options.
Why Should Small Businesses Use EV?
In the past ten years, electric vehicles have taken the world by storm. EV sales have skyrocketed, with nearly one million fully electric cars on UK roads in 2023, and many businesses are now making the switch to all-electric. In fact, in 2022, to The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said that 58.8% of electric cars on the road were registered as businesses vehicles.
However, for smaller businesses, while EVs may be an attractive idea, the initial investment can be a daunting or even off-putting concept.
The first thing any business, regardless of size, needs to consider is their needs in terms of vehicles, and how EV can meet them. You may need to ask yourself:
- How many vehicles will I need?
- Where is the most practical location to charge them?
- What kind of distance will they be driving on a regular basis?
- Do my staff or customers have a need for EV charging infrastructure? If so, is this something I could consider monetising?
- Will the initial outgoings eventually be overtaken by the savings I will make?
With these things in mind, you can now work out your current transport outgoings, factoring in fuel, maintenance costs, road tax, and any other charges you may have to pay; such Clean Air Zone (CAZ) fees.
While EVs come with a hefty price tag, the actual day-to-day running costs of an EV are very low. Firstly, EVs are exempt from road tax and restrictions in large cities’ Clean Air Zones due to their zero tailpipe emissions, meaning you can drive in any area without incurring additional costs. This is especially beneficial if your small business is located in a city, or your work requires you to drive into cities to make deliveries etc.
You will not have to worry about rising or fluctuating fuel prices and maintenance costs are significantly lower, as their battery has fewer moving parts than an internal combustion engine has – meaning less can go wrong!
However, it is still important to book your vehicles in for regular MOTs to make sure everything is running smoothly.
On top of financial savings, EVs can also boost the appeal of your business. By using EVs or offering EV charging on-site to customers, you are demonstrating a positive attitude towards combating climate change and lowering your carbon emissions. This is likely to attract customers who share similar values and create an all-round more positive look for your company.
You can also use this to your advantage to generate an added stream of income, by offering charging to customers visiting your business. Not only will this encourage more footfall, but it will also encourage EV driving customers to spend longer on your premises and spend more money. You could even consider introducing a charging loyalty scheme, where, for example, regular customers can collect stamps each time they charge their car and get money off their 10th charge.
Introducing EVs is also an important and effective way of ‘future-proofing’ your business, while showing a dedication towards helping the planet and a modern, forward-thinking approach to business. It’s clear that EVs aren’t going anywhere, and with the UK government planning to ban the production and sale of new ICE vehicles by 2030, there’s no better time than now to make the switch.
Your Small Business EV Options
There are lots of different options when it comes to choosing your vehicle(s) and how you want them to work for you. For example, do you want to buy your EV, or have you considered leasing one instead?
Leasing is a popular choice for small businesses that only require a small number of vehicles and don’t wish to pay the large upfront sum involved in buying an EV. It’s also a great way to try before you buy, so you can get an idea of whether EVs are right for you.
Whether you decide to buy your EV, or lease one, you will need access to a charge point. There are different types of charge point available, some better for home use and some better for businesses with fleets. So, the best charge point for you may depend on the number of vehicles you will be charging and how frequently they will need to be charged. You can find out more about the types of chargers available, and which one is best for you with our handy EV chargers guide.
If your business is still growing, or you intend on incorporating more EVs into your fleet, you may also want to consider the practicality of expanding your infrastructure in the future.
Another bonus of having your own charge point installed, is that you can use it to generate an added stream of income for your small business. If you have staff that work on-site, you can offer them discounted use of your charge point, perhaps even developing a salary deduction scheme.
Guide to Funding and Support for Businesses
There are a number of schemes available for small business owners which are designed to support your transition to EV.
Eligible businesses can claim up to 75% of the installation cost of a ChargePoint through the government’s Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS). This allows you to save on installation for up to a maximum of 40 ChargePoints for your business.
If you are a landlord, you can also claim the same discount for installation fees, you can read more about the grant for landlords as well as tenants and local authorities in our EV news section.
If you’re unsure what you may be eligible for, or just want to calculate your outgoings before committing, you can use our free grant eligibility checker to find out how much you could save.
As well as receiving grants, there are also several tax incentives for switching to EV. For example, with an EV, you will be producing zero tailpipe emissions, meaning you are free to travel in any area, including ULEZs (Ultra Low Emission Zones). With more and more ULEZs being introduced across the country, this is something many people are beginning to factor into their decision to switch.
Currently, EVs are exempt from road tax, as they have zero tailpipe emissions- a factor used when calculating road tax amount.
EV owners can also benefit from free parking in certain council-owned car parks. It is important to check any restrictions beforehand though, as rules differ from car park to car park.
EVs can benefit businesses of any size, however, smaller businesses may see even greater savings, particularly when using a limited number of vehicles and primarily making shorter trips in urban areas, such as local delivery routes.
For growing small businesses, it may be beneficial to invest in a small number of EVs and consider leasing out your ChargePoints to generate extra income which can be used to feed back into growing your EV fleet, should you need to in the future.
Switching to electric is an investment, and not one to be taken lightly, but we hope that you’re feeling a little more confident about switching. For more information, you can check out our EV News page or contact our friendly team: