Volkswagen scandal drives car owners to electric vehicles

Companies and individuals suddenly more aware of their green footprint

There’s been a surge in the number of people wanting to buy electric cars in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

A Yorkshire-based car leasing company has found that both private and company buyers want to make the switch to green motoring after worrying how much their cars really are polluting the environment.

But it’s not just about green issues, the Flexed.co.uk company says – potential electric car owners are now being drawn in by the rock-bottom running costs and expanding network of rapid charging points.

“It looks like 2015 and 2016 are going to be critical years for the electric car industry,” says Flexed.co.uk’s Mark Hall, “And the huge irony is that one huge act of dishonesty by Volkswagen has made people open their eyes to greener driving.”

Flexed.co.uk ‘s Mark Hall says that business users are making the bulk of electric car enquiries in the last two months, with most citing the Volkswagen scandal as the reason for rethinking their fleet leasing and purchasing needs.

“In years gone by, the fleet controller’s job was entirely about getting the best cars they could from the annual budget, now they’ve got the company’s green reputation to consider as well,” says Hall.

Typical is one executive in charge of fleet buying and leasing for a company based in the Midlands: “We like to think we’ve got strong green credentials, and we’re shocked that the VW and Skoda diesels in our fleet are nowhere near as green as we thought.

“I think the range, performance and infra-structure is there for electric cars, so we’re making the switch this year,” he told Flexed.co.uk.

“Not only that, but we’re also exploring the possibilities of car charging points in the staff car park. It won’t be just for our fleet vehicles, but for staff members’ private cars, too.”

Private buyer Ron from Manchester told Flexed: “We’ve only ever driven VW Golfs, and now those days are well and truly over. Not only have we lost faith in the brand, but also in driving a diesel car. That’s why we’re looking at the Electric Cars.”

Drivers from the private and commercial sector are attracted by a “perfect storm” that makes electric cars make sense:

• Vehicle prices now compare favourably with petrol and diesel equivalents
• No emissions, so no road tax
• Running costs as little as 3p per mile, a quarter of the cost for petrol cars
• Speed, performance and range have vastly improved
• Easily-accessible rapid charging points across the UK

Flexed.co.uk isn’t the only company to have noticed this new trend. Car dealers up and down the UK are noting increased interest in electric vehicles, and are finding that installing rapid charging points on their forecourts are attracting new custom every day.

“We have a rapid charger available free-of-charge to our customers, and that’s really made the difference in attracting new custom,” one car dealership told Flexed.co.uk.

“You certainly notice the difference when you’ve previously been spending around £50 per week to fill your car with petrol.”

With enquiries after electric cars at a new high, Flexed.co.uk ‘s Mark Hall says that green driving is now a genuine alternative for road users.

“People want to save money, and at the moment electric cars make perfect financial and environmental sense,” Hall says.