S h a r e
Range anxiety – what range anxiety?
We asked Fleet Alliance, Corporate Sales Director, Rob Wentworth-James about his experiences of living with an electric car rather than a conventional engined vehicle for a ‘warts and all’ view.
Here’s what he had to say.
Q1. What car do you drive, what is its range and how long have you had it – what did you drive before?
I’ve been driving the Tesla Model 3 Long Range for the last two years. Prior to that, I drove an Audi A5 3.0 litre diesel company car, which was costing me more than £400 per month in BIK tax.
As the Long Range model, the Model 3 has a promised range of 340 miles between charges, but the maximum I’ve ever managed to charge it to is 310 miles. In real life, I typically get around 250-260 miles between charges.
But that’s still more than adequate to meet all my driving needs. I can get to the south coast to visit clients, friends and relatives, and to Manchester or to Newcastle comfortably – so range anxiety is not an issue.
Q2. Why did you switch to an EV and what preconceptions did you have before making the switch?
One of the major differences was the BIK tax differential. As mentioned, the Audi was costing me £400 per month in BIK tax, but this compares to just £36 per month for the Tesla – a huge monthly saving. In the first year I had it, the BIK rate was 0% and last year it was 1%, so over the three years I’ll have it, the BIK rate averages out at just 1%.
The other deciding factor was environmental and the fact that the Tesla produces zero CO2 emissions. As a company, Fleet Alliance is committed to switching our entire fleet to electric power by 2030, and personally, my wife and I are very supportive of environmental issues, such as recycling and not eating meat, so this seemed a very logical and easy decision.
Q3. How is it funded and what are monthly operating costs?
The Tesla is on a three-year, 75,000 mile contract hire agreement, which was arrived at by competitively tendering the vehicle to our panel of funders to get the best deal. It was very noticeable that there was a range of up to £100 between funders, so competitive tendering undoubtedly gave me the best price. In addition, I pay a personal top-up of £60 per month which I do through salary sacrifice for maximum tax efficiency, so it costs me just £30 per month after income tax and national insurance savings.
Q4. What has been your experience of living with your EV for the last 24 months? What do you like about having an EV as your main car?
I have to say I’ve really enjoyed it and there have been some major benefits. To start with, the Model 3 is a great driver’s car, with a 0-60mph time of just 4.2 seconds, Dual Motor, All Wheel Drive and very firm suspension. I drive it in ‘Chill’ mode, but even then the acceleration can be frightening if it takes you unawares. I also like the fact that I can recharge at home and don’t have to drive three or four miles to find the nearest filling station – plus no smelly diesel on your hands!
The Model 3 is basically an iPad on wheels and all servicing updates are carried out online. In fact, in two years I have not had it serviced once! I checked with the Tesla dealer if I needed to bring it in, but they asked if I had any problems, which I hadn’t, so they said they did not need to see me!
Q5. What do you dislike and what, if any, have been the downsides?
There have honestly been very few downsides to living with the Tesla. I would say that if you’re planning a long journey, you need to plan your route a little more thoroughly, but the car informs me when to charge and the location of the nearest charge station. I’m glad to say I’ve never had a near miss charge-wise.
Q6. How have you found charging your EV both at home and out on the open road?
I have a home charge point installed by Podpoint, one of our strategic partners. I generally charge overnight. 4-5 hours will add around 150 miles’ range at a cost of around £6 on a night-time tariff. Compare that with the current price of diesel at the pumps!
On the road, I top-up at Tesla Superchargers – typically at motorway service stations. These have the feel of a used car Tesla showroom as they are currently separated from other marques, and typically have 8-16 superchargers which charge at up to 300kwh and can add 100 miles range in just 10-15 minutes.
Q7. Are any other family members considering an EV and how will it be funded?
Yes, my wife is planning to switch from her Toyota RAV4 hybrid, to an all-electric Fiat 500 La Prima which we will finance through Fleet Alliance’s hugely successful Salary Sacrifice solution. The car costs around £31,000 new and, if she took it out on a four-year, 20,000-mile personal contact hire agreement, would cost around £577 per month.
However, under our salary sacrifice scheme, a gross monthly salary sacrifice of £530 equates to a monthly net salary sacrifice of just £323 after income tax savings of £213 and a national insurance saving of £17. This represents a huge net saving of £254 for the same car when compared with a personal lease.
If she opts for the convertible model the net salary sacrifice would be just £390 – a monthly saving of £260 over a personal contract. And this is before we go out to competitive tendering to our panel of funders, which can reduce the cost by another 6-10%.
With savings like this, it’s little wonder that our salary sacrifice scheme is proving so popular with our clients – especially when compared with traditional sole supply salary sacrifice providers!
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