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Advice to SMEs

Electric vehicles and ChargePlace Scotland

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Please note that this page contains information and links most relevant for people living in Scotland.

Electric vehicles (EVs) are on the increase in Scotland and it’s often businesses that are spotting opportunities to save money and reduce emissions by switching to electric.

What are the main financial benefits for employers?

  • the average electric vehicle (EV) will cost around 3-5p a mile to run, compared to 16-18p a mile for the average conventional vehicle fuel cost
  • low company car tax (or associated Employer National Insurance Contributions)
  • no vehicle excise duty for pure electric vehicle below £40,000 purchase price
  • full first year allowance* (FYA) – meaning organisations can offset the whole purchase cost against taxable profits in the first year
  • UK Government grant – applied directly at dealerships, a discount of up to a maximum of £3,000 of the price of a new EV is currently available. For electric vans, it’s 20% (up to a maximum of £8,000). For more information, visit the UK Government website
  • free electricity when charging through the majority of ChargePlace Scotland’s EV charging network
  • interest-free loans of up to £120,000, funded by Transport Scotland, are available to Scottish businesses to help lower their transport and travel costs

*Only businesses not taking advantage of the UK Plug-in Grants are eligible for FYA

How do I use public charge points?

ChargePlace Scotland is a growing national network of public charge points for electric vehicles.

A swipe card or smart phone app is required to access charge points. To obtain a swipe card (at a cost of £20 a year), or to download the free app, visit the ChargePlace Scotland website.

Registering requires a credit card, but many charge points in Scotland are currently free to use. This website also features a dedicated map of charge points, detailing their location, type, status and live availability.

A Type 2 charging lead is required to connect to all public charge points except rapid chargers – as these have tethered leads. Make sure you check that your chosen charging lead is compatible with your vehicle before purchasing.

The majority of public charge points will fully charge most EVs in 4-8 hours. Rapid chargers can charge most EVs from 0 to 80% in 20-30 minutes. Please note that not all EVs can use rapid chargers.

How do I install a charge point in my workplace?

Please refer to our domestic and workplace (non-public and public) pages to access guidance on our current funding schemes, eligibility and application forms.

What types of electric vehicles are available?

Battery electric vehicle (BEV)

A vehicle powered solely by a battery charged from mains electricity. Older electric cars have a typical range of 80 miles and are widely available on the second-hand market. Newer models can achieve twice this range, on the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) cycle, and some can even go beyond 200 miles on a single charge. As with conventional motoring, driving style, speed and air conditioning / heating use can reduce the range available. Current models include Nissan Leaf, BMW i3, Renault ZOE and Hyundai Ioniq.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV)

A vehicle with a plug-in battery and an internal combustion engine powered by petrol or diesel. Typical PHEVs will have a pure-electric range of up to 30 miles. The benefit of these vehicles is that once the electric battery is depleted, journeys can still continue in hybrid mode. This gives a range in excess of 300 miles. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Audi e-tron and VW Golf GTE are all current examples of such technology.

Extended range electric vehicle (E-REV)

These are a version of plug-in hybrids, with the vehicle powered by a battery with a petrol or diesel powered generator on board. With an E-REV, the propulsion technology is always electric and range can be between 150-300 miles. The BMW i3 (with optional range-extender) was an example of an E-REV, however as of December 2018, all new i3 models are fully electric.

Read our guide to ultra low emission vehicles to better understand how EVs can benefit your business.

For bespoke, free advice on which EV may suit your needs, please complete our online business enquiry form or email [email protected]

Do you own an EV?

The EV Life app is available free to download for electric vehicle drivers in Scotland. The app is part of a data collection project, funded by Transport Scotland and managed by Energy Saving Trust, designed to inform and shape Scotland’s future policy and infrastructure needs.

Find out more and download the EV Life app.

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