Fleet Alliance has seen a huge surge in orders for of electric vehicles (EVs) as companies and drivers alike look to take advantage of attractive tax rates available, while enhancing their green credentials.
In the last 12 months, Fleet Alliance, which now manages a fleet in excess of 37,000 vehicles, has seen a 214% increase in EV orders – and a rise of over 5,000% since the start of 2018.
The increase mirrors that seen at a national level as 2020 was a record year for sales of battery and plug-in hybrid electric cars, which together accounted for more than one in 10 registrations – up from around one in 30 in 2019.
This was despite a 30% downturn in total new car sales, the worst performance since 1992. However, demand for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) grew by 185.9% to 108,205 units, while registrations of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) rose 91.2% to 66,877.
The increased demand for EVs across the country is reflected in the make-up of the Fleet Alliance fleet. Amongst orders for Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) in 2020, some 48.2% were for pure EVs, up from 28.5% in 2019.
A further 48.9% were for petrol PHEVs (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles), although this figure was down from 68.9% the previous year as pure EVs gained in popularity at the expense of hybrids.
Pure EVs now account for 15.2% of the Fleet Alliance managed fleet compared to only 3.8% in 2019 – and 0.3% in 2018.
Perhaps the most telling statistic, and clearest indication of how market demographics and buying habits are changing, is in orders for new diesel cars from Fleet Alliance customers.
These have plummeted to just 26.2% of the fleet, compared with 45.4% last year and 58.5% two years ago.
Orders of petrol cars, meanwhile, have plateaued and account for 35.9% of the Fleet Alliance fleet, compared with 35.3% last year, and 34.1% in 2018.
Managing director Martin Brown said the figures reflected the desire of company car drivers to move to less polluting, tax-beating models, allied to the Government’s recently announced decision to ban fossil-fuelled vehicles from 2030.
Benefit-in-kind tax rates for pure EVs are 0% in the current tax year, rising to 1% from April and 2% for 2022/2023.The 2% rate is then frozen for the following two years. This has had a big impact on buying habits, said Mr Brown.
“EVs have seen a year-on-year increase of more than 200% and now account for over 15% of our fleet.
“The increase in EV orders last year was at the expense of a fall in orders for PHEVs, which suggests that hybrid sales are starting to plateau while those of pure EVs are clearly accelerating.
“The new EV-incentivising BIK tax structure has undoubtedly played a large part in the switch to EVs,” he added.
In terms of individual models, the big winner in the EV stakes has been the Tesla Model 3, which now accounts for more than 40% of new EV orders. It was also the most popular on the Fleet Alliance EV sales charts in 2019, and is well ahead of its nearest challenger, the Kia e-Niro.
When it comes to hybrids, the Mitsubishi Outlander which for several years was the most popular model with Fleet Alliance customers, has now slipped to fifth place, presumably because the manufacturer has announced it will no longer support the brand in the UK.
Taking over the ‘most popular hybrid’ mantle from the Outlander is the BMW 3 Series hybrid with 11.5% of orders, followed by the Mercedes A-Class.