Even self-confessed ‘petrolheads’ are making the switch – like Hall Morrice client and Formula One racing fan, Sean Thomson, who heads up Aberdeen IT consultancy firm Zeno.
It wasn’t so much of a leap of faith but a tax effective step, coupled with the chance to road test zero emission driving, that resulted in Sean getting his first pure electric car, a Tesla Model 3.
Sean has owned a range of high-performance vehicles from the likes of Subaru and Audi and has been impressed by the capabilities of his latest vehicle.
When he recently drove his Tesla from Aberdeen to Edinburgh, he did so on just half its charge. Keeping his vehicle topped up hasn’t been a problem, as he parks up in his driveway and plugs in to his mains supply, so the car is ready to go for its next outing.
Sean says: “With knowledge comes understanding and being into technology I researched electric cars and wanted to give it a go. There are differences but once you experience electric driving for yourself, you find they are not really an issue.
“The two standard questions I get asked are how far can you go and how long does it take to charge? I always reply that it goes further than you probably think, and charging isn’t really an issue.
“You can plug in your car as it is parked in the driveway and you’ll find points at motorway services, so you can charge as you grab a bite to eat. There are bays at shopping centres like Union Square in Aberdeen, allowing the car to be charged as you do some shopping, go see a movie or have a meal.”
Capital allowance can be claimed on cars bought and used in your business meaning you can deduct part of the value from your profits before you pay tax. Company car drivers choosing a pure electric vehicle – a so-called plug-in car - will pay no benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax in 2020/21.
HM Treasury says that for cars first registered from April 6, 2020, most company car tax rates will be reduced by two percentage points. That means for a pure electric vehicle with zero tailpipe emissions, company car drivers will be taxed at 0%, paying no BIK tax at all.
Furthermore, the 0% rate is extended to company car drivers in pure electric vehicles registered prior to April 6, 2020. The 0% rate will apply to company cars registered from April 6, 2020, with emissions from 1-50g/km and a pure electric mile range of 130 miles or more. Both will then increase to 1% in 2021/22 and 2% in 2022/23.
Pure electric company cars registered before April 6, 2020, will also increase to 1% and 2% in subsequent years, 2021/22 and 2022/23.
Company cars registered before April 6, 2020, with emissions from 1-50g/km and a pure electric mile range of 130 miles or more attract a 2% BIK rate in 2020/21 and stay the same for the two subsequent tax years.
Sean says his fuel running costs are, on average, around 4p a mile compared to 28p a mile for his Audi, and that Scotland has a great infrastructure to support this mode of driving. Research published last summer revealed that there are now more electric car charging points than petrol stations in the UK.
He adds: "A decade ago, many berated electric cars as expensive and only useful for shorter drives, but technology has advanced and it’s not only a green solution but a desirable driving option.
“With thousands of charging points throughout the country all it would take would be a bit of advance planning to drive through the UK to the south of France or Spain.”
Electric driving looks set to become the new normal, with the Government to ban the sale of new petrol, diesel or hybrid cars in the UK by 2035. Talk to your accountant to find out why making the switch now could be a viable option for your employees and your business.