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What Does The Government Have to do to Drive Ultra Low?

The announcement of the end of fossil fuel vehicles has been followed with announcements this week related to the end of certain fossil fuels for home heating. So what is the Government doing to encourage individuals and businesses to change to electric vehicles?

As a nation we are facing one of the most major changes to the way we live our lives. Despite what some doubters may say, we are facing a climate emergency. From the series of major storms in the UK to the horrific fires in Australia it is clear we need urgent and immediate changes. This has led the UK government to bring forward the end of sales of fossil fuel vehicles to be within fifteen years.

Drivers For Change

One of the most immediate reasons for the need to reduce fossil fuel use is to reduce air pollution.  Now we have almost totally eliminated coal-fired power stations, the largest producer of air pollution is transportation. More importantly, this represents pollution produced at street level, meaning it can be considerably more dangerous as it is more readily absorbed. Air pollution causes over 2,500 early deaths in the UK annually, and costs the NHS over £6 Billion per year, treating health conditions directly caused by air pollution.

Air pollution has been shown to cause cancer and reduce our life expectancy. It can damage our lungs and blood, cause heart failure, and exacerbates asthma. It  has recently been linked with dementia, diabetes, and obesity. It is especially harmful to children, the elderly, and people living in poverty or vulnerable to other health conditions. We have a responsibility to our children and future generations to reduce this serious health issue.

Making the Change

However, this leads us to a major question, how do you change the way everyone in the UK drives? There are those that say it is too soon for most individuals who may purchase and change their vehicles at least twice on average before the deadline for the sale of vehicles, however, without the required infrastructure in place, we will be  rushing headlong towards a time when we will not be able to support the number of vehicles on the road.

Developing Infrastructure

The often quoted statement is there are now more EV charge points than there are petrol stations, however this belies the fact that the way we use petrol stations and charge points is somewhat different. It may well be that, in fifteen years time, there will be new grades of super charger which will allow vehicles to be topped up in the same amount of time that it takes to fill a fuel tank, however at this stage there is a longer dwell time required for charging to take place. To implement the required number of rapid chargers will require major changes to the UK power infrastructure.

This is at a time we will be putting a large number of demands on the electricity network. There are calls to replace every home’s gas or oil central heating with electric heating as well as the support of vehicle charging load within virtually every home in the UK.

There is a strong risk the nation will move slowly and that there will be a great rush within the last year or so before fossil fuels become unavailable to attempt to supplement the infrastructure and that not everyone will  have the required equipment in place before the timescale expires.

Current Incentives For Change

The Government has already made some positive moves to support the take up of ultra low emissions vehicles. The first is the lowering of the benefit in kind for company cars to zero whilst increasing the cost of tax for higher emissions vehicles.

Understanding Benefit in Kind Taxation For Company Vehicles

The calculation of Benefit in Kind taxation is based on the CO2 emissions produced by the vehicle on the amount of CO2 produced per kilometre by the vehicle driven. The final amount of tax paid by the individual is determined by the list price of the car, combined with the employees personal tax rate and the emissions tax band.

For example; the method for calculating the tax paid is as follows, here we will presume the purchase of a 3 Series BMW with a cost price of £30,000 and an emissions rate of 124g/Km CO2 for a higher rate tax payer:

Company Car List price£30,000
Multiply by the tax rate (120-124g/Km band)28%
Multiple by your personal tax rate40%
Annual Tax payment£3,360

This equals a tax bill of around £300 deducted from your pay packet monthly for a relatively mid-range vehicle. It is not inconceivable to have a monthly tax bill of over £1,000 and the average fees for executive drivers is over £600 per month. £600 per month which could be saved instantly by switching to an electric vehicle for which there is no benefit in kind charging.

It is a positive move to encourage the one million company car drivers in the UK to move towards low emissions motoring.

Funding For EV Charge Point Installation

Government grants have been available for a number of years offering up to seventy-five percent off the cost of installation at home or for the workplace. Accredited installers such as EVChargePoints.com can offer up to £500 discounts for homes and workplaces who require charging infrastructure to be implemented. This covers the cost of purchase of the charge point and the required installation by a qualified electrician.

To date the take up of the scheme has been below expectations and there is an expectation that the programme will be reviewed to look to increase the uptake.  Whereas it is feasible that you could drive an electric vehicle without having access to a home charging point, it will put additional load on public charging infrastructure. The advantage of a home or workplace charge point is that the vehicle can be slow charged during times of low electricity tariff or off-grid renewable charging periods ensuring that the car always has full range available.

Without an effective home and workplace charging infrastructure we would not be able to support the number of vehicles which will be on the road in fifteen years time.

The Way Forward

We have to wait and see what the Government will announce related to zero emissions transport in the next budget and it is impossible to effectively second guess what may happen. However, the following are plainly clear.

The Writing is on The Wall For High Emissions Motoring – it is clear there will not be a time from now on that fossil fuel motoring will be less cost effective than zero emissions motoring. This will be reflected in fuel costs and taxation.

There Will be Clear Incentives For Zero Emissions Motoring – from Benefit in Kind which is set at zero for at least the next two years for zero emissions vehicles to grants which will be available for purchase of vehicles and charging infrastructure.

The Age of Electric Motoring is Here – Electric vehicles have arrived, there are exciting vehicles on the market. There have now been generations of vehicles and the evolution has meant the issues which may have existed with battery life or drivability have been resolved.

We Will All be Driving Electric Soon – There will soon not be an option to drive anything other than a zero emission vehicle!

Time will tell exactly what will happen, however there are positive times ahead for electric vehicles.

Published by evchargepoints.com

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