Choosing an EV – when you drive lots of miles for your job

Choosing an EV – when you drive lots of miles for your job

Posted by

The EV Team

January 2021

High-mileage drivers are generally steered away from electric cars. They are seen as not suitable for drivers whose daily fare is the UK’s motorway network.

But we don’t necessarily subscribe to that view.

It depends on the type of journey and how the miles are actually broken down. For example, if you currently drive 1000 business miles a week, or about 42,000 business miles a year, then an EV is perfectly suitable for you if the profile of those journeys is 250 miles a day spread over four days, with one spent in the office or at the home office.

Broken down in this manner, the mileage becomes more meaningful in terms of EVs. Many electric vehicles are now entirely capable of covering 250 miles on a single charge.

For example, here is the list of vehicles currently available that have a range beyond 275 miles:

  • Tesla Model S – WLTP range: 379 miles
  • Tesla Model 3 Long Range – WLTP range: 348 miles
  • Tesla Model X – WLTP range: 314 miles
  • Jaguar I-PACE – WLTP range: 292 miles
  • Polestar 2 – WLTP range: 292 miles
  • Kia e-Niro – WLTP range: 282 miles
  • Kia Soul EV – WLTP range: 280 miles
  • Hyundai KONA Electric 64 kWh – WLTP range: 279 miles

Source: Go Ultra Low

What if the range is not enough?

It’s best practice to stop after two hours at the wheel, otherwise safety-compromising fatigue can set in. And a quick break is a perfect opportunity to recharge your vehicle’s battery.

Either using your car’s onboard car navigation system, which can direct you to suitable charging stopovers on your journey, or EV charger resources such as Zap-Map and Open Charge, you can plan a journey break that can include a charge up of your car’s battery.

Rapid and ultra-rapid chargers can top up the battery very quickly – a 20-minute charge can give you up to 80% capacity. Drivers who choose a Tesla also have access to the Tesla Supercharger network.

A recent survey by the website cargurus found that the M74 in Scotland which runs south-east from Glasgow towards Carlise is the most EV-friendly stretch of motorway with just over 13 miles between charging stations. On the other hand, the M8 trunk road running from Glasgow to Edinburgh featured zero charge points along its 80-mile route; the 32 mile M60 that circumscribes Manchester is the same.

However, the M6, which is the UK’s longest motorway and connects the West Midlands to the North West of England, comes second behind the M74 with a charging point location on average every 14.5 miles along its 232-mile route.

What about charging at home?

We would advise all higher mileage drivers to have access to a home charger – it can work without, but if your job is to drive the miles, you really will need a home charger to make EV life efficient. So that when you get home at the end of the day, the car can be plugged in and ready for you the next morning. (See our section Ordering a home charger.)

How long will it take to charge my car overnight?

We would recommend that at home you have a 7kW home charger fitted. This will charge 3x faster than a domestic three-pin socket.

To know how quickly your battery will be charged, you divide the capacity of your battery by the output of your charger. We’ve taken the list of our higher range EVs to provide you with a guide to how quickly they will take to charge overnight from zero to 100% and the cost (calculated at 16.5p per kW). These are maximum times (ie zero to full), but generally, you can expect that when you begin charging your battery will not be fully depleted, so charge times will be shorter.

  • Tesla Model S – 379 miles recharged in 14.3hrs – cost £17
  • Tesla Model 3 Long Range – 348 miles recharged in 10.7hrs – cost £12
  • Tesla Model X – 314 miles recharged in 14.3hrs – cost £17
  • Jaguar I-PACE – 292 miles recharged in 12.9hrs – cost £15
  • Polestar 2 – 292 miles recharged in 11.1hrs – cost £13
  • Kia e-Niro – 282 miles recharged in 9.1hrs – cost £11
  • Kia Soul EV – 280 miles recharged in 9.1hrs – cost £11
  • Hyundai KONA Electric 64 kWh – 279 miles recharged in 9.1hrs – cost £11

Source: Go Ultra Low

Make the most of your charge

The majority of EVs have an app linked to the car that allows you to perform functions while the vehicle is still connected to the charger. The most obvious one is heating the car up and defrosting it during winter. The car will do this while still drawing electricity rather than once you have started and you drain the battery, which lessens the range.

Some cars also have the ability to pre-condition the battery. This effectively takes the battery to its optimal operating temperature before you drive, which helps extend the vehicle’s range.

BIK advantages

The benefits of an EV for longer distance drivers are the same as they are for drivers that cover fewer miles. But the savings have the potential to be far greater.

If diesels are the high mileage choice, the difference in taxation between a diesel and an EV is extraordinary. Over a three year period starting from the April 2020 tax year, a  40% tax paying driver in a Polestar 2 EV will pay £598 in tax over the full three years. The equivalent, say the closely related Volvo brand and its diesel XC60 FWD, will cost the same driver £16,265.

This is why it makes sense to understand your journey needs and try to make an EV work for your business requirements.

Case study

Rob Wentworth-James
  • Drives a Tesla Model 3
  • High mileage driver
  • Uses home charger

Not so long ago, a high mileage fleet driver would be pointed automatically in the direction of a diesel.

But that knee-jerk reaction to executives ‘out on the road’ is changing. And changing as rapidly the lengthening ranges of electric cars.

Rob Wentworth-James is the corporate sales director at Fleet Alliance and averages 20,000 miles a year, of which 13,000 are business-related. While most of Rob’s journeys are fairly short, they are interspersed with much longer drives to meet clients on business, or family at the weekends.

“There was no question that my choice had to be the Tesla Model 3 Long Range model,” explains Rob. “I find it can do 310 miles on a charge and with the sort of driving I do that was absolutely critical. The other reason for my choice was financial – the zero benefit in kind means I now have extra retained income in my account each month.”

The availability of Tesla Superchargers on motorways was another essential factor in Rob’s choice, particularly as they are exclusive to Tesla drivers.

“I have used the rapid chargers several times,” explains Rob. “You can be in and out in 25 minutes and I’ve never yet been held up waiting for other Tesla drivers to finish charging. It couldn’t be more perfect!”

As you may gather, Rob is something of an EV convert, describing it all as a “fabulous experience”. But what advice would Rob offer to other high mileage drivers considering an EV?

“I would say that driving electric is no different from driving any other petrol or diesel car, other than you have to plan your journey a little better. And for journeys over 250 miles, I’d be seriously considering going by train, so I could work. But that would be the case if I was in a petrol or diesel car, simply because it is a more productive use of your time. At least in my experience, I see no reason why a high mileage driver shouldn’t choose an electric car.”

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