Making no bones about it, buying or leasing electric and indeed plug-in hybrid cars admittedly still involves a premium compared to petrol and diesel equivalents, and people tend to be a habitual bunch, making plugging in still seem like a hassle to some, so developed societies are righty still very much in the carrot rather than stick phase of incentivisation.
For anyone thinking about making the switch to motoring characterised by being neck-bracingly rapid, relaxingly quiet and free of emissions away from the effects of Christmas sprout overdose, car manufacturers, charge point providers and other organisations including the government and local councils are currently dangling some pretty attractive carrots, not to mention a grid-related development in the pipeline that will revolutionise the EV landscape.
The government grant for home ‘wallbox’ chargers
With networks like Pod Point citing that charging a typical EV with a 60kWh battery and a range of around 200 miles at home costs £8.40 on average and that doing so can save as much as £1,000 per year compared to using public chargers, one of the easiest steps an electric car leasing customer or buyer can make is to apply for the government’s grant.
Its official name ‘the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme’ (EVHS) is a bit of a mouthful, many people calling it the OLEV Grant instead – and it’s not to be sniffed at, knocking 75% or up to £500 off the price of a domestic home charging terminal. Drivers of eligible EV and PHEV cars who live north of the border even get an extra £300 help thanks to the Energy Saving Trust Scotland.
All vehicles officially classed as ‘ultra-low emissions’ are currently eligible, including even those that now fall outside the Plug-In Car Grant (PiCG), which we think is generous, and the full list can be found here complete with recent additions like the new Mercedes B-Class, Porsche Taycan and MG ZS EV.
It’s fair enough that the grant only provides financial assistance for one charge point per household, stipulates that only physical charge points and installers approved by OLEV may be used, and requires drivers to have off-street parking facilities. Also, to ensure that scheme applicants are serious, it’s not possible to apply for the charger grant if the requested installation date is more than four months ahead of when their electric or plugin hybrid car arrives. Leasing a car that isn’t labelled ‘in stock’ typically involves waiting for a few months or more before delivery, so this is worth bearing in mind in relation to applying for the domestic grant.
The sheer number of different home charge port manufacturers from BP Chargemaster and Rolec to Alfen and Growatt might feel overwhelming to some prospective electric and plug-in hybrid car adopters, so it’s fortunate firstly that an abundance of really helpful reference points like Zap-Map exist and secondly that the majority come in either 3kW or 7kW power output ratings.
With home ‘wall box’ charge points for electric cars typically costing £900-1,000, the EVHS is a very worthy incentive to help out motorists tempted to go green.
Free electricity for drivers of new Volvo cars
From just before this Halloween, Volvo announced the start of essentially providing drivers of new PHEVs from its gorgeous Scandinavian range that are ordered before the end of June 2020 with free electricity for a whole year. It’s an excellent carrot but it’s a shame that it sadly might not extend to the forthcoming all-electric XC40 Recharge, unless Volvo offers something similar again from the second half of the new year.
To qualify, each new PHEV applying for reimbursed electricity needs to be registered with the Volvo On Call connected app, and the year-long period for all eligible drivers kicks off in May 2020. Sometime shortly after May 2021, the first owner of each successful Volvo plug-in hybrid will have their electrical consumption costs paid back to them, up to a maximum of 3,000kWh, at a rate decided by Volvo. This might sound a little unfair but they promise that they’ll use reliable independent sources for calculating the UK’s average electricity tariff rate.
The Energy Saving Trust puts the current figure at 14.37p per kWh, meaning that the 3,000kWh worth of free leccie tots up to around £431.10. Zap-Map’s home charging calculator reckons about 250 full recharges of an XC60 T8 Twin Engine hybrid’s 10.4kWh battery will be covered by the offer, but a straight 3,000/10.4 calculation hints at the possibility of as many as 288 charges. When it comes to leasing a hybrid or electric Volvo, the ‘first owner’ of the car will usually be the bank or other ultimate funder such as Arval or Lex, but Volvo seems to have leaned on the players involved as its website says that it’s the main driver who will be reimbursed with cashback, not a company car fleet.
V2G - the future of electric car charging
One stride in EV development that has been bubbling away on the stove for a while now and that we’ve got a great interest in is vehicle-to-grid charging or V2G for short. One worry that various people and organisations have had is that the world’s electrical grids won’t be able to cope when the majority of drivers plug their cars in when they arrive home each evening. It’s no wonder, with times past having seen grid outages following the nation putting their kettles on at half time during key sporting matches or during nail-biting episodes of Coronation Street.
With V2G chargers, the electrical energy stored in plug-in vehicles’ batteries can be automatically and intelligently fed back into the network at such times of peak demand, made possible by two-way chargers and ‘smart’ technology. It’s a simple but mighty promising concept, as cars spend 90% of their lives parked up doing nothing, and opens the possibility of EV drivers with solar powered homes to make money from selling renewable energy back to the grid in a win-win relationship. Demand-side response initiatives will help electricity companies balance the grid, preventing en-masse car charging crippling the UK and turning its lights out.
In the UK, companies like OVO Energy are already dabbling in V2G technology in the wild, having fitted out 1,000 Nissan LEAF-driving guinea pigs with two-way chargers, and other passionate organisations have also got their feet wet such as octopus energy with its own Nissan LEAF bundle called Powerloop and a tariff called Agile, enabling its customers to charge their cars off-peak when electricity is cheap and then sell it back to the grid at peak times, making a tidy profit. Further afield, the popular Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is already helping to balance the Netherlands’ energy network, a success proudly promoted by backers Shell, while Renault has been trialling V2G systems in Portugal with its ZOE.
We’re glad that the government hasn’t limited the scope of the home wall box charger grant like it did with the PiCG, and it’s very encouraging to see car brands like Volvo offering incentives like free electricity to encourage motorists to switch to buying or leasing an electric car, ahead of the time when we envisage new homes being mandatorily fitted with charge points of the V2G variety.
If you’re unsure which electric or plug-in hybrid car to consider for your circumstances, contact CarLeasingPeople today and some pointers. We wish all our readers a happy Christmas and all the best for the New Year.