The news is a boost to both vehicle manufacturers and the green lobby as it seeks a faster uptake of ultra low or zero emissions vehicles (LEVs) for business use. 

Lex Autolease’s survey of financial directors and company car drivers shows that reduced fuel spend is the primary benefit of adopting LEVs (FDs – 73%, Drivers – 67%).

Chris Chandler, principle consultant at Lex Autolease, said: ‘For battery-based technologies to survive and prosper, it’s important that companies and drivers have common ground when it comes to vehicle selection. 

‘Not surprisingly, the cost of fuel is that binding agent which brings these two parties together and relationships can only strengthen in the face of rising oil and pump prices.’

While both believe the low cost of fuel is the primary benefit, they differ on the supplementary benefits of LEVs. While drivers feel that they can also profit from lower Benefit in Kind (67%) and cheaper parking / congestion charges (41%), FDs are drawn towards LEVs due to the potential corporate responsibility and environmental benefits (65%). 

The “feel good factor” of LEVs is also a clear benefit, with just over a quarter (26%) of drivers claiming that the adoption of such technologies makes them a “green pioneer”. Similarly, just over one in 10 also think that being behind the wheel of an LEV offers greater refinement in the form of quietness and comfort. 

Meanwhile, more than one in five FDs think that EVs and hybrids will reduce maintenance (23%) and improve the marketability of their organisation (22%). 

Chris Chandler adds: ‘Some of the so called ‘soft measures’ – such as reputation, refinement and kerb appeal – can be underestimated, but companies and their employees will not select vehicles on cost alone. 

‘Running costs will remain the primary motivating factor, of course, but LEVs will need to compete with petrol and diesel alternatives in all areas to ensure their slice of the market grows.’