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What is an Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle?

The phrase Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) is one we often use here at Tusker. But what exactly is a ULEV? We take a look at the different types, predict which will be most popular in the future and explore the advantages for your business.

Five types of ULEV explained:

Classed as vehicles that emit 75g/km CO2 or less, there’s a range of technology underpinning low emission vehicles:

  1. Hybrid cars combine a petrol or diesel engine with an electric motor. The battery is recharged through regenerative braking and by the internal combustion engine. The extra energy can power auxiliary systems like sound and headlights and reduce engine idling when stopped. This combination results in better fuel economy without sacrificing performance. Hybrid cars include the Toyota Yaris and the Hyundai Kona.
  2. Plug-in hybrid cars must be plugged in to an electricity point to recharge their batteries. With their conventional petrol or diesel engine supported by an electric motor, they bridge the gap between purely electric vehicles and hybrids. They tend to have larger batteries than regular hybrids so they can drive longer distances on electricity alone. They switch between the electric motor and the engine so the car’s driving characteristics change depending on how it’s being powered. This is important for their tax treatment as you’ll see in a moment. Examples of plug-in hybrids include the Hyundai Ioniq and the Kia Niro.
  3. Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) use rechargeable battery packs to power electric motors instead of internal combustion engines. All their power comes from the battery which needs to be charged by plugging the car into a charging point or even a normal three-pin socket. They have no internal combustion engine, fuel tank or fuel cell. Teslas and the Nissan Leaf are typical examples of this kind of car.
  4. Range extender is a BEV that typically also includes a small petrol (rather than diesel) engine. This engine is used to recharge the batteries which supply the car’s electric motor with energy. Unlike a plug-in hybrid – where the engine is used to drive the car – a range extender engine is only used to recharge the batteries while on the move. This enables people to drive longer distances and reduces range anxiety.
  5. Hydrogen fuel cells are another type of electric car which uses a fuel cell stack powered by hydrogen to produce the electricity which powers the motor. There is no internal combustion engine in this kind of car. Unlike a BEV, the hydrogen fuel cell does not need recharging as it’s topped up with a supply of hydrogen from a petrol station. These vehicles only produce water from the tailpipe eliminating CO2 emissions. Cars using this method of propulsion include the Hyundai ix35 and the Toyota Mirai.

Those are the five types of ULEV available on the market today. But what does this mean for the makeup of your fleet?

Why a move to Pure Electric is on the cards

The UK government’s commitment to a net zero economy by 2050 has placed a significant focus on transport. Which is hardly surprising given that vehicles produce 33% of the UK’s carbon emissions. With company fleets representing 51.8% of new car registrations in 2018, the government is incentivising the take-up of ULEVs via a new tax regime.

From April 2020, cars that emit zero emissions will attract a 0% Benefit-in-Kind (BIK)- down from 16% – helping employees and employers save significant sums on their car benefit. And, as the table below shows, there are also healthy reductions in BIK rates for cars that emit less than 50g/km CO2 and can travel good distances using electricity only.

CO2 g/km Electric only mileage range April 2019-2020 BIK rate % April 2020-2021 BIK Rate April 2021-2022 BIK Rate April 2022-2023 BIK rate %
0 16 0 1 2
1-50 Over 130 miles 16 2 2 2
1-50 70-129 16 5 5 5
1-50 40-69 16 8 8 8
1-50 30-39 16 12 12 12
1-50 Under 30 16 14 14 14
51-54 19 15 15 15
55-59 19 16 16 16
60-64 19 17 17 17
65-69 19 18 18 18
70-74 19 19 19 19

Table last updated: 27.12.2019

As you can see, offering EVs to employees at a lower cost than petrol or diesel equivalents will deliver major financial benefits to your organisation and your staff. While helping to reduce everyone’s carbon footprint. According to Deloitte, an employee could experience total cost of ownership savings of 95% of more over a four-year period by opting for an EV over a comparable diesel car.

What does this mean for your car benefit selection and fleet profile?

If cost control and carbon cutting are your end goals, pure electric vehicles offer the best choice. Advanced battery technology means BEVs can typically travel over 250 miles on a single charge. Plenty of energy to cover the average daily distance covered by UK drivers of 10 miles.

EV users tend to complete the vast majority of charging – around 90% – at home or work. And with huge developments in the UK’s rapid charging network, longer journeys are also highly practicable. Drivers report pulling up, plugging in, stretching their legs, grabbing a coffee and eating a sandwich before returning to their car and a battery charged to cover many more miles.

Depending on how open your drivers are to change, they might not be ready to make these slight adjustments to their driving habits. For these people, there are other ULEV options as outlined above.

Work with a provider who makes making the right choice simple.

We understand that this brave new world of innovative car technology isn’t that easy to navigate. Which is why we make it easy for your employees to choose a car based on emissions and energy source. By providing enough information up front, your employees will be informed to make the right decision for them and your organisation.

Interested in finding out more?