News.

Welcome to our news page. We love to share all of our exciting developments with the world and here you can find it all in one place; happy reading!

Now that the dust has settled, and most of the finer details have emerged, we at

wanted to give a quick round up and share our thoughts too.


Summary


Benefit in kind

We have had further clarity on benefit in kind rates for all vehicles, but our main focus here clearly is the visibility for zero emission vehicles.


  • April 2020 - end March 2021 = 0%

  • April 2021 - end March 2022 = 1%

  • April 2022 - end March 2023 = 2%

  • April 2023 - end March 2024 = 2%

  • April 2024 - end March 2025 = 2%


Plug in Grant (With Immediate effect)

The Incentives applied to the purchase price of the vehicle to artificially reduce cost of them has been extended, but reduced in value to stretch the funding further.


  • Cars £3,000 (Reduced by £500, and the addition of only cars priced below £50k, not including options)

  • LCV £8,000

  • Large Van/Truck £20,000

  • Taxis £7,500

  • Motorbike £1,500


Home Charge Grant

A change in value from 1st April 2020 effective on all installations past this point.


  • Installations up to the 31st March 2020 £500 Grant

  • Installations after 1st April 2020 £350 Grant


Workplace Charging Grant

A change in value from the 1st April 2020 with a twist!


  • Workplace charging grant vouchers issued before 1st April 2020 will be held at £500 per socket, up to 20 sockets (Max £10k).

  • Workplace charging grant vouchers issued on or after 1st April 2020 will be £350 per socket, up to 40 sockets (Max £14k).


Vouchers are valid for 4 months (120 Days)


Other Investment

Funding aimed directly at increasing publicly available infrastructure is always welcomed, and this one is a biggy! Most of this will be distributed into various sub segments of government to administer over the coming years.


  • £500m funding for rapid charging networks across the UK to be invested over the next 5 years.



Our thoughts


Overall, the elements outlined in the budget, and finer details released today is good news for the UK, with some less positive moves in the mix too. Government incentives such as grants and tax breaks are created as economic stimulus, designed to get new ideas, concepts or movements off the ground.


Naturally, as more and more people start to buy into the new concept or idea, part of the governments work is done, they have helped get it moving! Arguably the right move then, is to turn to the private sector, helping them to further stimulate the concept or idea leading to mass adoption.


To put this into perspective, though it has been far from perfect, the level of support for electric vehicle adoption in the UK has been well funded for several years. With the plug-in vehicle grant, home and commercial charging grants along with tax breaks for the commercial sector too.


Now that we have more choice on both the vehicle front and the charging hardware front, it makes sense to start reducing the funding levels, this means that people benefiting from the cost savings of electric vehicles will be offsetting this personally rather than through government handouts, this seems to make sense overall, but of course it will put a few people off.


For those put off by fairly low amounts of funding reduction, this will just lead to delaying the inevitable move to EV, but we think that this is ok at the moment. Rates of adoption are growing rapidly (excuse the pun) and general consumer and commercial interest is reaching fever pitch, so really, this is a big pat on the back to the government, but also the consumers and private sector that have led this change so far.


We think that the biggest pain point that will be felt will be the Plug-in car grant change from £3500 to £3000, for vehicles below £50k , with this happening on the same day as the budget announcement, probably to manage a “run” on claiming the grant.


An important point to note with the vehicles below £50k addition, is that this is the vehicle cost before any options are added, so essentially the "standard price" for the model. This for example means that for Tesla Model 3, both the standard and the long range would qualify, but the performance model wouldn't.


Really, this could have been managed better in our opinion, we appreciate this is supporting the everyday driver in favour of those that can afford it, however, those that can afford it have the potential to decide to continue with their large ICE 4x4 or SUV, surely the better move here would be to include all electric vehicles, given the that the bulk of which would be at the affordable end anyway?!


The commercial charging grant move is a very interesting one, essentially increasing the incentive for large scale rollouts in favour of “a few chargers”. This will help larger employers or operational fleets to put more infrastructure in overall, this must be a good move. One downside though would be that this pushes commercial sites towards the need for increased power, something that load and phase balancing can help with, but not in every case.


Continuing the theme of commercial benefits, the newly announced BIK measures will have a HUGE impact on company car drivers. We now have 5 years visibility of a very low rate with means that company car drivers can see the real benefit over their full period of use of the vehicle. Marrying this with incentives stacked in favor of large scale charging rollouts of up to 40 sockets, and it's clear which direction the company car market is going!


A couple of final thoughts, we love that government promises have materialised with regards to supporting rapid charging hubs with the £500m investment over 5 years, this will go a long way to helping with "range anxiety" and poorly serviced areas. We do need a more joined up approach to this though, contactless credit and debit cards are a good start here.


Now onto the dirty stuff, fuel! Some people have been commenting on the freeze in fuel duty as a negative move. We think this is neutral and overall good for the economy.


We need to manage the move from fossil fuels to EV over a period of time, and specifically not alienate or ostracise segments of society, both domestically or commercially that are not ready to make the leap just yet.


This in essence makes the world go round a little easier for a lot of people, for now at least.


Visit us at www.diode.energy to see how we can help your business make the switch to electric.





James and I had a long chat about the joy he gets from his Tesla Model S, an honest discussion about his charging experiences, the benefits of Zoom and busted some myths. So if you’re on the fence with electric vehicles, but interested in hearing about James’ experiences, keep reading.


James is well-known in the automotive industry, particularly for championing electric vehicles in the early days and defying the naysayers. He later built one of the UK’s first charging businesses - eventually acquired by Chargemaster -  and now he’s driving forward Zoom’s business development as their Chief Commercial Officer.


Here’s a round-up of what we talked about…


Let’s kick off with an overview of Zoom - what’s it all about?


Our fantastic proposition helps people get into electric vehicles. Firstly, if you want to rent an EV for the weekend or just give one a go, we have our very own community car-sharing platform for EVs, enabling you to book your neighbour's electric car, or even your local EV dealer’s stock car. And then secondly, for EV drivers, we have put together all the essential services - such as home charging, public charging, EV home energy tariffs and parking, to create one great value Drivers Benefits Bundle that saves our customers loads of money. We also offer an EV specific insurance service.


Tell me about your personal EV journey so far?


From 2014 until I left Chargemaster last year, I had plug-in hybrids - primarily Mitsubishi Outlanders.


However, late in 2016, I was at an EV event in Edinburgh and decided to put a deposit down on a brand-new Model 3. I got to drive the Model S quite regularly at work, so I had my heart set on getting a Tesla. I was ready to go fully electric and, at the time, I also wanted to come off the company car scheme for tax reasons.

I waited 2 years and heard nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not even a call to say I could configure my car.  As you can imagine, I became fed up with waiting, so I decided to ask for my deposit back at the end of 2018. And then shortly after, Tesla announced that you could configure your Model 3! I enquired about getting back on the waiting list, but you guessed it, I would have been right at the bottom of the list - and I’m sure the deposit was much, much higher too!

Then my luck started to change.


I was at the Fully Charged event last summer and I got talking with some members of the owners’ club. They tipped me off that there was a second-hand Model S coming on to the market, which I am pleased to say I managed to get my hands on.


So you’ve got a Model S - nice! What’s it like to drive?


I have driven Mercedes, Porsche and Range Rovers in my life - but I can honestly say that my Tesla is the best car I have had so far. Not just because it’s amazing to drive, but because it’s environmentally friendly, technologically advanced and the charging package I have with this vehicle is fantastic.


It’s extremely comfortable, long distance driving is effortless. It always puts a smile on my face and makes me feel proud every time someone gets in the passenger seat.


What’s your charging experience been like so far?


It’s brilliant - first class! My Model S was one of the last that qualified for free charging, so I get free use of Tesla’s supercharger network. The nearest place for me to go is Warwick services, which isn’t very far from my house. My car is instantly recognised when I plug in and charging starts straight away - no hassle.


There are a couple of areas in the UK where the Tesla network doesn’t cover - for example, on the M1 around Leicester Forest East services.


I spend a lot of my time on the road - Monday I am in Lincoln, then I am off to Manchester, then back to Stratford, so I actually do around 90% of my charging on the go.


I plan my meetings and journeys around where chargers are! Some Tesla charge points are in lovely locations, so most of the time, I can have a nice coffee, get wi-fi, do my emails and have calls like this - all while my car is charging up.


I do have a charger at home, but it’s only really for topping up.


So how long does it take you to top up?


At home? 2 minutes. I plug it in and go to sleep!

On the go? 15-20 mins on a supercharger, generally gives me an extra 100 miles.


Other than Tesla superchargers, do you use any others? What’s your experience been like?


I have a Polar and PodPoint account, just in case there’s no Tesla supercharger on my journey - but that’s rare.


I’ll be honest, I have had a couple of connection issues with PodPoint which meant that I ended up only adding 2 miles worth of charge for an entire day. Bit frustrating, but not the end of the world because I was only topping up.


You’re on the road a lot. Is charging ever an inconvenience?


Not at all. I top it up, go about my businesses and carry on. I don’t sit and wait for it to charge.


Did you know on average you’re in the supermarket 1 hour 10 mins to do your big shop? Depending on the size of your battery and speed of charger, you can easily put 25 extra miles on while you’re doing your weekly shop.


Also, free parking and free charging in town centres is becoming more common - for example, Milton Keynes and Stratford-upon-Avon.


Do you frequently do 100-200 miles?


Yes, I think nothing of it. A bit of planning. I’d happily drive down to Lands End.


Have you ever been caught short?


No, never.


Any intentions of swapping your Model S?


No, I love my Model S. I would have a model X one day, but it would need the free charge benefit. I do really like the new Jaguar iPace and the Porsche Taycan though - beautiful cars!


Any reservations before you bought your first pure EV?


None at all. It was a natural progression for me from my Mitsubishi Outlander.


What would you say to someone on the fence about switching to EV?


Borrow a car. Give it a go! There are lots of ways to get into an EV - book a test drive or rent your neighbour’s EV for the weekend via Zoom.


What would you say are the biggest blockers to mass adoption of EV’s?


Whilst infrastructure is excellent for the Tesla community, we need more public charge points.


That said, more cars are coming to the market with much longer ranges. But I still think we need more infrastructure for that trip down to Cornwall.


Companies want to install more charge points, but the cost to upgrade the power with the network provider can be too much - six or seven figures maybe. We really need the government to provide more support and investment.


So you must meet a lot of EV drivers? Have you ever met anyone who hates their EV?


Honestly, I have yet to meet an EV driver who hates it.

Well, actually, I met one guy who hated it.


I met a CEO recently who was trying a Model 3 Tesla and who didn’t plan his trip, drove past a Tesla supercharger, plugged into a standard charger at his meeting place, didn’t have enough charge to get home and then threw the keys back the following day.


The switch is a challenge, yes. You just need to adjust slightly.


Finally, what’s the wildest myth you have heard about EVs?


That you can’t drive them in the rain and through puddles!


Thank you for your time, James!

Updated: Feb 19



Metrorod is a national commercial drainage service, specialising in all things drain care and repair. From clearing blockages, CCTV drain surveys to innovative pipe laying techniques, they pretty much cover it all. They pride themselves on providing an excellent service with their highly trained and qualified engineers. Firmly putting customer service at their heart, they ensure every project is expertly project managed and the customer has the piece of mind that they’re being looked after.


We had a chat with Metro Rod HLP Managing Director, Spencer Horsfield, while he was en route to a job (disclaimer: he was using hands-free). He came across like a really passionate business owner, keen to switch his entire fleet to electric. He talked me through his experiences with EV so far - the good and the bad - and his aspirations for further adoption.


Here’s a round-up of what we talked about...


Tell me about your fleet - how many vehicles do you have?

We have 27 vehicles in our fleet - a mixture of cars, small and large vans. Our remit is rural Lincolnshire and Peterborough and each vehicle does around 100-200 miles per day.


Great - so how many of these are electric?

As it stands, we have 2 EVs - a BMW i3 and a we’ve just leased a new Nissan Leaf for one of our sales guys. I have heard good things about the Leaf, but I can’t comment on it myself. The BMW, however, is absolutely fantastic to drive and surprisingly quick off the mark!


How did you find the electrification process?

Purchasing both cars was really straightforward - no different to before. We went through our usual brokers and secured a good deal on the lease. Winner.


Charging, well, this wasn’t quite as straightforward, if I am honest. Let’s start with the BMW i3. This was our first EV, so we had absolutely no prior experience. We were offered no advice or guidance on charging and had to arrange for the installation of home and work charge points ourselves.


In fact, when the car arrived, it just had a 3-pin-plug charger in the boot, so we just assumed that this would be ok to use at home. Not the case, as we later found out that this should be used in emergencies only, due to it taking 15 hours to charge from 0 to 80%. The cables got super hot actually., I trained as an electrician a long time ago, and although regulations have changed since, I would never recommend this as a long term solution.


This was the same for the Leaf, but we learnt from our previous experience.

The big thing missing from this process was a wrap-around service to ensure we knew what infrastructure we needed, such as types of chargers and management software. An EV is not the same as a regular diesel car - you can’t just fill it up in a few minutes at the garage when you need to. We needed someone to help us choose a fit-for-purpose charge point, that was the best value, and then let us know if it was something our home and site could accommodate.


Why did you decide to go electric?

I strongly believe that it is the responsibility of everyone to do their bit to move away from carbon-based fuels. The nature of our business means we consume so much diesel, so for us, doing our bit means shifting our fleet to electric as soon as possible - something we fully intend to do. We’re also a business and need to closely manage our costs - EVs are a practical solution to bringing our operational costs down.


So this leads me on to how your business is benefiting from the i3 and Leaf?

As with most businesses that switch to EV, we’re hoping to dramatically reduce our diesel bill and see an estimated 70% reduction in the cost to maintain and service each vehicle we bring into our fleet. I believe an EV has around 30 moving parts compared to diesel engines with around 3000, so that’s got to count for something on service day!


Do you charge at home, work or on the go? Tell me about your experience

90% of our charging is done at home or work. We’ve had a very limited experience using public charge points.


I am not going to lie, the little experience we have had with public chargers hasn’t been great at all. I won’t say which brand, but on more than one occasion, when we’ve wanted to top up while en route, we have had issues with the card readers and have been unable to charge.


Ok, it seems that you’ve experienced some challenges - any others you’d like to mention?

Yes, it would be great if there were more public chargers and if they were reliable. Like I said before, 90% of our charging happens at home or work. Having more public chargers would give skeptical team members more peace of mind, especially as we introduce more EVs to our fleet.


So you’re planning on introducing anymore EVs to your fleet? Tell me more.

Absolutely. Any car will go electric when its current lease ends - same for small vans. Anything that comes into our business now will be electric - we’ve made that decision.


We are, however, waiting for more affordable larger vans to come to the market, that will do a decent range. At the moment it’s not practical for us to bring larger vans into our fleet, but when the time is right, we will make the switch.


Are you planning on upgrading any of your infrastructure?

Yes, we have multiple sites across Lincolnshire and Peterborough, so we plan on adding extra chargers to the rest of our sites. I have no idea what we need, if I am honest, so I am looking forward to handing that challenge over to you guys!


Happy to help! Final question: What’s the biggest misconception about driving an EV?

When you think about it, they’re no different to diesel vehicles in practice. You’d always want to run on a comfort of, say, ¼ tank at least. EV drivers just need to get into the habit of topping up more. So when you stop for 30 minutes, you need to look for charging points. And to be honest, unless you’re doing long trips on a regular basis, you’ll be able to do most charging at home or work.


Range anxiety. Admittedly we thought this might be an issue beforehand, but I can honestly say that we have never once been in a situation where we’ve been anxious about running out of charge.


I guess EVs aren’t for everyone yet. Our rule of thumb is: As soon as vehicles hit the 200+ mile mark and are affordable, we’re happy to bring them onboard.


That’s great - thanks for your time, Spencer!


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