E-cars are a great opportunity for your fleet: of course, you are no stranger to this realisation. Tax advantages, lower maintenance costs and the positive impact on the image are well known. But thanks to a mere idea, there is still no e-car in your fleet. We explain the most important steps and the pitfalls you should be aware of!
FLEET MANAGEMENT: ARE ELECTRIC VEHICLES SUITABLE FOR MY BUSINESS?
At umschalten.de you will find numerous decision-making aids if you are not yet convinced whether e-cars are a sensible purchase for your business or company. In our "FAQ: When are e-cars worthwhile for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)?"you can find out more about the most frequently asked questions about electromobility. In another article, we explain which framework conditions should be met so that your company really benefits from e-cars. And so that you know how to use e-cars effectively and efficiently in your fleet, we explain in a short fleet analysis how you can recognise the potentials. You can also find extensive information in our free white paper with a checklist for "switching" your fleet.
INTEGRATING AN E-CAR INTO YOUR FLEET - WHAT YOU SHOULD CONSIDER!
Once you have decided to purchase an e-car and have analysed exactly how your company and your employees can benefit from it, it's on to the practical questions, which we clarify in this article:
- How and where do I purchase an e-car?
- Which user groups within my company will use the e-car?
- How do I enable access to the electric company cars?
- Where do I park the e-car?
- What legal and fiscal framework conditions must be observed?
To find answers to these questions, we spoke to Mr Stefan Jacob. He is the specialist group manager for fleet management at DREWAG NETZ GmbH. DREWAG NETZ has been operating an electrified fleet for many years and advises companies on the implementation of their e-car plans, including the charging infrastructure. "You buy e-cars - like all other passenger cars - from a car dealer. As with a classic combustion vehicle, however, you should think carefully about what you need beforehand," explains Stefan Jacob. In addition to vehicle brand and type, other criteria such as range, charging options, safety and equipment are decisive for the choice of vehicle. You can get an initial overview at efahrer.com, for example. The running costs vary greatly: depending on the vehicle class, size and performance class, the costs can be higher or far lower than those of a combustion engine. In any case, you should plan for the often somewhat higher acquisition costs.
USER GROUPS AND ACCESS - ORGANISING THE FLEET
Even with an e-car in the fleet, it makes sense to coordinate the use of the vehicle. If an e-car is not assigned to an individual employee, but can be shared for business trips, it makes sense to identify so-called user groups. Before doing so, however, you should have worked out the needs of your employees. We have explained how to do this here.
User groups can be defined differently, for example according to their departments or activities. However, do not assume that all employees in one area have the same needs; the use of mobility can vary greatly. Therefore, for the classification, especially consider aspects such as frequency of trips, route length or charging possibilities at the destination. Sales staff or field staff are often not a suitable user group for simpler electric vehicles; here, the ranges of conventional mid-range vehicles are more likely to be required. Typical uses are journeys between branches or locations, inner-city traffic or only occasional journeys. Conceivable user groups would therefore be found in administration, or also entire sectors such as craftsmen's services, care services, delivery services or security.
"The use of reservation software depends very much on the respective requirements," explains fleet manager Stefan Jacob. If you do not yet have such a system, this can happen at the same time as the introduction of electric cars, for example because the vehicle is to be shared by several users. Providers such as Fleetster offer various packages for this purpose. Starting with the basic package, key management is already included here; for a higher monthly fee, an electronic logbook as well as a key cabinet or keyless telematics locks are also provided. The e-car package also includes algorithms and databases that enable realistic charging and consumption planning.
PARKING AN ELECTRIC CAR IN THE COMPANY CAR PARK
"There are a few things to consider before integrating electric vehicles into your own company car park," explains e-car specialist Stefan Jacob. You should seek advice on the charging infrastructure early on, for example from your local energy supplier. Depending on the structure of the car park and the desired charging capacity, major conversion work may be necessary. If it comes to laying cables, you should also plan for the fact that there could be more e-cars in the future and several charging points should be connected at one point. Even if you only plan one or two e-cars for your fleet at the beginning, you can avoid the expense of new construction measures at an early stage and can make free charging points available to your employees, neighbours or the public. "If you have a company garage or parking spaces in an underground car park instead of a car park, you also have to consider fire safety issues," Stefan Jacob continues.
As is so often the case, it gets a little tricky in the details: The signage of your charging station or e-car parking space should be thought through in advance. Do you want only electric cars to park in front of the charging point or are other vehicles also allowed to park there? Do you want to make parking free of charge only for these vehicles? Is parking only desired for the duration of the charging process? And: Are e-bikes or e-scooters also allowed to park and charge here? The decision ultimately depends on the space available in your car park and can also be changed later. In this article, you will find out how best to set out the rules.
It is also worth considering whether you would like to use the newly created charging points not only for your own company, but also share them with others. Car sharing can also be a strategy with advantages and disadvantages. Should you shy away from the effort or additional investment for the charging infrastructure, consider where public charging options are located in the vicinity of your company before purchasing an electric car. Should you want to integrate e-bikes or e-pedelecs, "pay special attention to questions of safety and locking as well," adds our expert Mr Jacob.
TAXES AND LAWS RELATING TO THE E-CAR IN THE FLEET
In principle, liability issues or compulsory insurance apply to e-cars just as they do to internal combustion vehicles. It was only in November 2019 that the Federal Cabinet extended the already existing eco-rebate. In addition, the premium was officially increased from 4,000 to 6,000 euros for pure electric cars up to 40,000 euros gross list price on 19 February 2020. Your employees will also benefit from the further reduction in the taxation basis of the imputed income. Instead of one percent of the gross list price for conventionally powered vehicles and 0.5 percent for plug-in hybrid vehicles, you only have to claim 0.25 percent of the gross list price for tax purposes for purely electric vehicles from 01.01.2020. This further reduces the tax burden when choosing an e-car for your employees. The charging of the private or company electric car is also tax-free for your employees if you offer it to them free of charge. For you, the vehicle tax is also waived for 10 years if you buy an electric car by 2020.
CONCLUSION: THESE 10 STEPS TO THE E-CAR
In this article, you have learned which criteria you should consider when buying e-vehicles, how to identify and define user groups and find solutions for parking electric cars.