Has the time finally come when it pays to buy an electric car? What is the best way to finance an electric car and what to look out for? Jan Tejnor from the Czech branch of MHC Mobility answered our questions!
- MHC Mobility provides fleet management to customers in ten European countries. Is there a clear trend that can be drawn from the needs of companies across countries?
In terms of categorising companies, two things have changed. Firstly, we see that large companies believe in electromobility and have been buying electric cars for some time. This of course brings with it the development of charging infrastructure for others. The second trend is that smaller companies and private customers are more interested in electromobility. In fact, the economics of operating an electric car are becoming more and more advantageous for private individuals as time goes on. For example, commuting to work using a home charging station. Moreover, the days when electric cars cost a million and got nowhere are long gone. The difference in range compared to internal combustion engines has decreased rapidly. At the same time, the market supply has improved significantly and the price gap between internal combustion and electric cars has narrowed considerably. There is no doubt about the emerging trend for electric cars today.
- When do you think the Czech Republic will make a complete transition to electromobility? Will it be before 2035?
The full transition to electromobility will never happen. Let me explain it like this. There are currently about 6 million passenger cars and about 600 000 trucks registered in the Czech Republic. About 200 000 new cars are sold annually in this country, a significant proportion of which are exported abroad. Therefore, if, in an absolutely utopian model, 100 000 new electric cars were to appear in domestic traffic every year, we would be running exclusively electric cars in 30 years at the earliest. Of course, we can also improve the statistics by diluting electric cars with used ones, which are also gradually appearing. That will get us to a quarter of a century before we switch to electric cars. But what will happen in twenty-five years' time is difficult to predict now. Moreover, key logistics such as emergency services, police, fire brigades are not yet going to switch to electric mobility. So electromobility is great, but it is not universal. Moreover, there is a political dimension to the problem. Every politician wants to please the electorate, and if they start tightening the screws too much on people with used combustion vehicles, then people will get angry and politicians will back down. So the result of all this effort will be, in my opinion, some sort of cat and mouse.
- In your opinion, does it make sense to have a company electric car now?
Definitely yes. Economically it makes sense, it just takes a bit of discipline to charge it. It's like when you start running, the discomfort becomes routine. Plus, there are chargers almost everywhere now. At MHC Mobility, we currently offer electric vehicles in every segment - from smaller cars to vans, including all related services. We can thus provide companies of all sizes with comprehensive fleet optimization. That sounds a bit of a stretch, but believe me, more and more companies are evaluating electromobility as the most rational solution.
- That sounds interesting, do you know of any practical examples where EVs are working well?
Yes, for example our big client, TESCO. In Hungary, they opted for electric refrigerated vans mainly for economic reasons. The overall cost of this mobility solution simply works out favourably. There is nowhere to charge and the electric cars need a minimum of maintenance. For deliveries of up to 200 kilometres per day, it is simply a rational choice. Electric vehicles for long-distance delivery are still a risky solution, but times are changing fast. I predict rapid technological advances in electric mobility, and soon it will start to pay to buy an electric car for longer distances.
- If a company decides to purchase its own electric vehicle, which financing method do you think is the most advantageous and why?
People often worry about the future when it comes to electric vehicles. They ask whether the electric car will still have the same range years later, what its residual value will be in the future, etc. That is why I clearly recommend a form of customised operating lease, where all these concerns are eliminated. The client pays a fixed monthly payment and drives. He doesn't have to worry about anything else. Our customers have verified for themselves that long-term rental in the form of an operating lease is much more profitable for electric vehicles than the acquisition of such a car for company ownership. We are ready to prove this to our clients with an individual calculation of the total cost of ownership.
- But there are many suppliers of operating leases. Please give us advice on how to make the right choice.
For example, it is very easy to buy a Skoda Enyaq iV or KIA EV6 on an operating lease. But you need to ask the "opex" supplier where I will charge, how much I will charge for, whether I have a single system or a bunch of charging cards and chips, how I will charge for private and business trips or what the service network is for my EV. The right operating lease provider should be able to arrange all of this for the client. That's why I always advise companies to choose a turnkey solution, where the operating lease provider makes everything simple, predictable and compliant with legislation.