i3Secure goes electric

Published on: July 8,2021 Published in: News

We are excited to share that we’re electric! And by that we mean, we have taken the decision to offer only electric vehicles (EV) to our team. Read on to find out why we did this and our wider research into the environmental sustainability of electric vehicles

Why Electric Vehicles

As an organisation we wanted to ensure that we did not start creating unnecessary carbon emissions only to have to reduce them when legislation required. We wanted to do the right thing from the outset, one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions for a business like i3Secure is business travel.

With that in mind we decided not to go down a conventional company car scheme, they are expensive and risky to operate for a business, they are also no longer financially beneficial to an employee with higher rates for company car tax. You also then end up in a position where some employees are eligible while others not, all of this is an environment we did not want to create.

So the solution we reviewed and ultimately decided on was pure electric vehicles through a car subscription service, we believe that with the current offerings there is now an electric vehicle suitable for almost all use cases. The range has increased dramatically, public charging is massively better than even a few years ago and costs have continued to drop with the introduction of new models.

We use a Salary Sacrifice scheme that allow zero emission vehicles to be leased or subscribed to the company and the costs be reduced from an employee’s gross salary, this results in savings of over a third to the employee with PAYE and National Insurance reductions.

Benefits to employees

The most obvious point is running costs, an average electric car will cost between 1-2p per mile if the driver switches to a tariff with discounted night time charging. This in contrast with 10-20p for petrol or diesel. There is no denying the upfront cost of the vehicles are significantly higher but with the salary sacrifice savings it means the actual net cost is much closer and often cheaper than the cost of an equivalent petrol or diesel vehicle.

In addition, some schemes including the one we use include charge cards which means staff can charge at most public charge points at no additional cost. This on top of the included Insurance, Maintenance and £0 Vehicle Excise Duty makes it very cost competitive for a new or nearly new car.

Employees can then use the car for personal and business use and don’t need to worry about the ever changing landscape of low emissions and clean air zones, some employees even choose to charge from Solar Panels for even less emissions.

Benefits to employers

With Salary sacrifice, the employer can save money on Employer National Insurance contributions of over 10%. There is also an ever increasing pressure to be socially responsible for company emissions. If more companies switched even some of their fleet to electric, the wider carbon emissions impact would be huge. We are starting to see big companies do exactly this, from logistics to energy, electric vehicles, both company cars and commercial vehicles are becoming main stream.

It is widely acknowledged that as an employee incentive, a discounted car, especially if it includes all associated costs, increase employee satisfaction. Other than a small amount of admin there is no additional cost to the business, it also means no awkward decisions about deciding what roles should be eligible for a company car, just make the scheme open to everyone who meets the HMRC requirements for Salary Sacrifice.

Environmental Concerns with Electric Vehicles

There is no ignoring the facts about the environmental impact on the production of batteries used in electric vehicles and it is something we investigated before deciding to go electric vehicle only.
There are 2 main areas of concern.

Firstly, raw materials that are mined, specifically Cobalt. Although it is true Cobalt is an important element of all rechargeable batteries, the reliance on it is reducing over time as battery chemistry is improving and will continue to do so. In addition, it is also important to understand that Cobalt is also used in the production of many other components including the process of removing sulphur from Oil based products such as Petrol and Diesel.

The other point that is important is the reuse and recycling of the batteries. It is a complicated process but there is an emerging industry for recycling. It needs to be said current electric vehicles are showing batteries with very little degradation even after 100,000s of miles often outliving the life of the wider car.
Unlike fossil fuels with nothing left to show after combustion, batteries can still be used for other uses such as static energy storage in domestic and commercial environments, finally after likely another decade or so the batteries will then be recycled to retrieve their valuable raw materials.

The second point, the carbon output of a vehicle should be measured not just at the exhaust pipe, ensuring the production of the vehicle is also taken into account. Electric vehicles create more carbon during production, this is primarily due to the huge amounts of energy processing and transporting the batteries.

It is hard to provide specific break even points because it varies dramatically due to several factors, including, the electricity mix for the country where the battery and wider car was made and also where the charging for the car will take place as well as the capacity of the battery. However, It is widely accepted the break-even point for carbon emissions including production is between 20,000 and 70,000 miles, in the UK we have a relatively green grid outside of peak demand and will continue to get cleaner over the life of the car.

We hope you enjoyed hearing about our journey and may even take some inspiration to look at Electric Vehicles as the way to go for your business.

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