The snap General Election is over, we have a result and a new Conservative majority, however, it is not clear what will this mean for sustainable transport, in particular for electric car drivers.
At 10:04 pm on Thursday the 12th December exit polls predicted a Conservative majority as the result of the General Election, and time has shown this is the case. However, now that the political dust is settling, what will this mean for sustainable transport and drivers of electric vehicles?
There were many promises made, and we will have to wait and see what will be delivered, however it is worth considering the key manifesto areas.
It’s fair to say that we could expect ‘business as usual’, however, with the recent international environmental conference struggling to find a common resolution and all bar the most obtuse individuals openly declaring climate emergency it’s clear that, once we have got ‘Brexit done’ that the environment and in particular transport will be a big area that the newly formed government will concentrate on.
Bring on Brexit
It is clear Brexit was one of the strongest reasons for people’s political leanings, over 47% of people polled stated the completion of the Brexit process was the reason for their final voting decision.
It is clear now, finally, this will happen with a 31st January 2020 date being mooted and with the Government with a clear majority, it is probable that the voters will get their wish and we will leave the EU.
Whatever your opinion on Europe, it will be satisfying to at least allow the government to be less ‘single tracked’ and allow greater concentration on other matters. The new Government has already stated that gaining the UK’s net zero emissions is to be the “first priority” for the business of the party.
When this will start is of course still up for question, the matter of Brexit is clearly not simple, and even with almost four years of preparation there is work to be completed and a lot of detail which has not been shared with the general public.
A Conservative government does stop the risk of another ‘go, no-go’ referendum mooted by the Labour party and a clear majority will allow the leading party to carry on with business as usual, whatever that may be.
The BBC website offers the following Brexit timetable:
Therefore, we can see that there is at least another year of complexity before we will be in a situation where the Government will be able to concentrate on other matters. Of course, environmental issues will not go away, however we can presume there will not likely to be major changes of policy until the full detail of EU and international trade deals have been completed and the transition period has at least been started.
A Bit of Business as Usual
We cannot presume that the environmental situation will be totally ignored, however we should expect that much of what we have in place today for Electric Vehicle drivers will remain, and this is a very good thing!
There is a considerable amount of support for electric motoring, however most people are not fully aware of what is out there, so a refresher of the current benefits is in order.
Company Car Drivers Rejoice
Shortly prior to the election the government announced the latest rates for ‘Benefit in Kind’ tax. The tax which is paid by employees who receive benefits on top of their usual salary, for example when they have access to a company car which is also available for private use.
Calculation of Benefit in Kind taxation is highly complex, with tax bands based, for the most part, on the CO2 emissions produced by the vehicle with the amount of CO2 produced per kilometre fitting into individual bands based on emission ranges. The amount of tax paid by the individual is then determined by the list price of the car, combined with the employees personal tax rate.
The bottom line is that the Benefit in Kind tax for traditional fossil fuel vehicles could range from an average of £300 per month to over £600 for more gas guzzling vehicles. However this is not the story if you drive electric.
The latest announcement from HMRC sets the new benefit in kind rates for zero emission vehicles is 0%, reduced from 16% in the current tax year. This is a saving of up to £600 per month, over £7,000 per year.
The new tax rate is part of a major drive to encourage zero emission fleets. As part of the announcement of the new benefit in kind rates the Government stated that they “recognised the value of the company car market in supporting the transition to zero emission technology… By providing clarity of future appropriate percentages, businesses will have the ability to make more informed decisions about how they make the transition to zero emission fleets.”
Saving Money When Buying a New Car
Another major benefit is the plug-in electric vehicle grant which allows buyers to offset a proportion of the cost of a new electric car, van or motorcycle for both domestic or commercial use.
For an electric vehicle to qualify for the grant must have emissions of less than 50g/km and a zero emissions range of more than 70 miles. The maximum grant available for new electric cars is £3,500 and up to £8,000 for electric vans. The grants represent up to 35% of the purchase price of a new electric car to bring them roughly in line with the cost of an equivalent petrol or diesel model.
A major advantage of the grant process is there are no forms to complete or complex paperwork. The grant is automatically included in the cost of new electric vehicles and the process is administered by the dealer as part of the sale of the vehicle.
Home Charge And Workplace Charging Scheme – Installing a Home Charge Point Became More Cost Effective
When you have an electric vehicle, having a charging point at home allows you to recharge your vehicle overnight and ensure that it is always ready for you to drive away with full range when you need it.
Of course there is a cost for having this equipment professionally installed, however, again the Government are here to help you with some favourable grants to make the cost considerably lower.
The Home Charge Scheme grant is a 75% contribution towards the cost of one charge point and its installation up to a maximum of £500 (including VAT) per household/eligible vehicle.
You can find accredited and approved charge point installers via Electric Vehicle Charge Point Quotes site: https://www.evcpq.co.uk/
A similar scheme is available for workplaces where up to 20 charge points can be provided with 75% of the installation cost (capped at £500 per charge point) can be claimed to provide charging infrastructure for employees and customers. Again, accredited and approved charge point installers via Electric Vehicle Charge Point Quotes site: https://www.evcpq.co.uk/
Low Emissions Zones – Get Ready to Pay by Day…
It has started in Central London, however, cities across the UK are talking about introducing low emissions zones. Bristol Council has even mooted the imminent banning for all Diesel vehicles within the city.
To put this is perspective, to drive an average executive car for one month in Central London would set you back £720 just in low emissions zone charges, add £345 for congestion charging on top of escalating fuel prices and car tax and the joy of motoring is rapidly diminishing.
The alternative is to drive an electric vehicle, you can then say goodbye to car tax, emissions charges and even congestion charges, that’s an average of £1,245, almost £15,000 per year.
So, What Next?
The glib answer would be to say, ‘wait and see’. However, there are already a number of positive reasons to consider electric motoring and a number of grants and incentives available today to make it considerably more cost effective.
Is this situation likely to change? I would say that the answer would most likely be yes it will and with the environmental position we are in, I can only presume that the incentives will improve over time. However, as we stated earlier, there will be at least another year before major changes are likely to occur, and, as anyone who has worked with Government grants or funding will realise, they are just as likely to disappear with little or no warning.
If you are looking at the cost of motoring and are considering a change or vehicle, or if you manage a fleet of commercial vehicles you have a golden opportunity to get money off the purchase and infrastructure required.
Beyond this you will be looking at motoring with reduced or eliminated taxation, fuel costs which are a fraction of fossil fuels and most importantly you will be ahead of the game in terms of supporting rapid and necessary environmental change.