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Electric car and van advice for SMEs

Electric cars

Companies can benefit from significant savings by making the switch to electric cars , from reduced fuel and maintenance costs to a range of tax and local incentives, including access to low emission zones and parking concessions. 

Electric cars also reduce carbon and other emissions, which contribute to poor air quality in towns and cities. 

Many businesses have already accessed the benefits of electric vehicles (EVs), with electric and plug-in hybrid cars becoming mainstream in the company car market. The uptake in electric vehicles is being driven by attractive savings, making the cars cost-effective for company car drivers and their employers. Take a look at our case studies for examples. 

Electric and plug-in hybrid cars (ultra low emission vehicles)

An ultra low emission vehicle (ULEV) includes any vehicle that emits less than 50g/km of carbon dioxide (CO2) at the tailpipe. They include: 

  • Pure or battery electric vehicles (EVs or BEVs) 
  • Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) 
  • Range-extended electric vehicles (E-REVs) 
  • Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) 

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are not ultra low emission vehicles and do not plug in to recharge. A hybrid electric vehicle has an internal combustion engine and a small battery, which is charged when the driver brakes, known as regenerative braking. The battery power either assists the engine or drives the wheels entirely for a very short distance (usually less than a mile). This reduces fuel consumption and emissions, particularly in stop-start driving conditions. 

Find out more about electric vehicles and models using these resources: 


Driving range of electric cars

An electric car’s range is how far it can travel before it needs to be recharged. For a plug-in hybrid, the range is how far it can travel on battery power, before switching to the petrol engine (or, very rarely, the diesel engine). 

Battery technology is developing quickly and the driving range on new electric cars continues to increase. 

Typical ranges for the different vehicle types are: 

  • Battery or pure electric vehicle: on average 220 miles, depending on the model. 
  • Range extended: 60-150 miles on electric-only power, and a further 80 to 250 miles powered by electricity generated by the internal combustion engine. However, E-REVs are less commonly available and are not currently in production by any major manufacturer (with the exception of the LEVC Taxi). 

Range also varies depending on: 

  • How efficiently you drive – anticipating the road ahead and making full use of regenerative braking increases range. 
  • How you heat or cool the car (preconditioning) – heating or cooling the car while plugged in and using heated seats, rather than heating the cabin, increases range. 
  • How fast you drive – driving at high speeds reduces range. 
Credit: Volkswagen

Why choose electric cars?

Electric cars can be an excellent choice for businesses, both financially and environmentally. As well as lower fuel costs, there are various grants and tax incentives available, which can help make a stronger business case. 

We offer a series of EV Masterclasses, which cover company cars, vans, charging and installing infrastructure, or a session tailored to the vehicle supply chain (for example, dealers, leasing brokers and more). 

We also have a series of introductory video guides to a range of electric vehicles as well as a video series on the benefits of EVs and what you should look out for.  

For larger fleets, we offer fleet reviews, which offer analysis of your fleet and provide whole life cost (WLC) analysis for suitable models and estimated savings. This can help you to reduce energy use and emissions. We work with public and private sector organisations.

Last updated: 16 November 2023