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5 reasons to consider electric vehicles

posted 3 Sep 2016, 10:35 by John Breach   [ updated 3 Sep 2016, 10:45 ]

For many businesses travel is now the biggest contributor to their total carbon footprint, but myths surrounding electric vehicles is a major contributor to £1bn in unnecessary fleet management costs per year for businesses, according to the Energy Saving Trust. For a business where travel is unavoidable (e.g. delivery), switching to electric cars and vans will make a major contribution towards reducing their carbon footprint, but many still point to the limited range of electric vehicles (EVs) as the main reason for sticking with fossil fuelled vehicles, or that the lease or purchase of EVs is prohibitive. So, here are 5 myth-busting reasons why your business should look again at electric vehicles.

1. Electric vehicles are not zero carbon

Driving an 100% pure EV does not emit any CO2 directly, but until our electricity grid is 100% renewable there will be emissions associated with charging one, because our grid still relies heavily on burning fossil fuels. Currently, an EV emits roughly three times less CO2 per mile than a comparable petrol car if charged during the day but if charged at night, when most electricity is generated from nuclear energy, the carbon performance will be even better.

2. What about other polluting gases?

There is no direct air pollution from driving an EV but some polluting gases will be generated at the fossil-fuel power stations. Since these are normally outside city centres, EVs help alleviate the severe air quality issues in London and other UK cities. The City of London confirms that it has “some of the highest levels of [air] pollution in the country”.

3. The lease/purchase of electric vehicles is prohibitive

It is sensible to adopt a ‘whole-life approach’ when considering leasing or purchasing an EV. You’ll find initial capital cost of an EV is offset by the UK Government Plug-in Grant (maximum £4,500 in 2016/17) and the absence of road tax or congestion charge. Running costs are lower with cost per mile of about 3p compared with about 10p for petrol vehicles. For company cars the benefit-in-kind tax implications are much lower than for conventional cars.

4. Electric vehicles have limited range

EVs have seen a significant increase in range the recent years. Some 100% electric vehicles can cover up to 190 mile range on one charge, for example.

5. Lack of charging points outside of city centres

There are around 6,300 charging points in England, according to the Energy Saving Trust. Websites such as zap-map and Charge Your Car can identify charging locations. You don’t need to wait until the tanks nearly empty to recharge either. The idea is to top-up whenever the opportunity presents itself.

BST Environmental  has joined forces with Planet First to launch a new workshop aimed at helping organisations tackle the cost, time and carbon emissions resulting from their business travel. To find out more or register your interest please contact us.

6 ways to reduce your business travel carbon footprint

posted 20 Aug 2016, 14:08 by John Breach   [ updated 20 Aug 2016, 14:12 ]

As more and more businesses are measuring their total carbon footprint, the focus of attention is moving towards business travel. The impact of travel depends on the nature of the business itself. Consultants PwC reported that “Business travel remains our single largest generator of carbon emissions, and – as we’ve continued to reduce our emissions from energy - has grown to represent 70% of our total carbon footprint in 2015. Air travel accounts for most of this (59% of our total emissions) making it a top sustainability priority.”

Business travel is often necessary to build strong relationships with customers and clients but is also a significant business cost and can put a strain on employees’ home lives. Your approach for reducing travel emissions should involve reducing the number of journeys made and choosing the lowest carbon-intensive method of transport. Why not set yourselves some targets and monitor your progress?

Here are our six issues to consider in order to reduce carbon footprint of travel in your business:

  1. Examine the travel culture in your organisation. Is it a perk which you enjoy or a necessary part of your job which you would happily forgo if there was an alternative?

  2. Do you need to be involved at that event all? Could senior/junior colleagues who are already travelling to the event complete the work on their own? Could you be more usefully employed staying in the office?

  3. If you have to be involved, is it essential that you travel at the planned time? Could the meeting be rescheduled to a time when everyone will be in the same location anyway, even if it means a short delay in reaching a decision?

  4. How many of you and your colleagues need to travel? If numbers are greater than 1 or 2 would it be sensible to share a car or hire a minibus? Could you join-forces with other businesses located near by? Shared vehicles, even if fossil-fuel powered, can be the lowest-carbon options in these circumstances. Even better if they are electric.

  5. Can Information Communication Technology offer an alternative to travelling at all? Is face to face interaction vital in this case? If you are collaboration on a document, spreadsheet or presentation, then file sharing technologies such as Office 365 or Google Apps can be more productive than a meeting room. Do all the parties have video conferencing equipment, or could you easily hire a nearby facility?

  6. If you really must make that journey choose the lowest carbon option. Normally this is rail rather than road or air. Even if rail appears slower and more expensive than air travel, consider the useful work you could do during the journey, the time (and carbon) used in getting from City Centre(s) to Airport(s), and the hassle of airport security. Perhaps revise your company’s policy on First Class rail travel to ensure a good productive working environment during the journey, with access to Wifi etc.

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