Looking to buy an electric company car? Here are CUPRA’s top tips

For user-choosers or salary sacrifice drivers, picking an electric company car is a big change. We asked CUPRA’s fleet experts for advice to make it feel easy...

CUPRA fleet range parked in car park

As a user-chooser or salary sacrifice driver, you’ve probably seen plenty of headlines about the big benefits of swapping to an electric company car. You’ve also probably heard plenty of positive anecdotes about the cost savings, and how the charging is easier and cheaper than you think. But you’ve also probably still got lots of questions and concerns.

We get it. Swapping to an electric company car is a big change. Your company car is your reward for all the hard work you do and one of the biggest perks of your package, so it’s absolutely right that it should be the perfect fit for your needs.

That’s where CUPRA is changing the game. Offering an extensive line-up of all-electric and plug-in hybrids which all deliver head-turning style, fun driving performance and great everyday practicality, and a choice of well-equipped trim levels, it means you’ve got a wide range of models to pick from that all suit your exacting needs and deliver more for your money.

You also get the depth of dependability that comes from CUPRA being part of the larger Volkswagen Group. That includes a network of 60 CUPRA dealers and 120 CUPRA service centres, helping you find quality fixed-price support for your electric and plug-in hybrid model wherever and whenever you need it – whether it’s for annual servicing, regular maintenance, or in an emergency.

So, from tax jargon to charging, here’s some simple advice from CUPRA’s fleet experts for making the all-electric switch on your next company car even easier.

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CUPRA Born driving on road front three quarters

Try an electric car for yourself

The first (and possibly best) piece of advice that CUPRA’s fleet team offer is to try an electric car for yourself to see how it can fit into your lifestyle. “Experiencing an electric car is absolutely crucial,” says CUPRA Area Fleet Manager Mark Penny. “Drive an electric car. Experience it. Try charging it at different charge points over a few days. You’ll soon see the benefits and understand how easy it is to use.”

CUPRA’s online Virtual Showroom can certainly help answer some of your queries and concerns, with experts on-hand to give you a personal interactive walk-and-talk tour around the all-electric CUPRA Born or the CUPRA Formentor. You can also use the EV&me by CUPRA app to record and collate your most common journeys in any car. It then gives you the potential cost savings that you could make by swapping to an all-electric or plug-in hybrid CUPRA.

But probably the best way to answer a lot of the questions around electric driving is to try the technology out for yourselves. That’s where CUPRA’s unique CUPRA Experience business demonstrator programme comes in, letting fleet managers and company car drivers try out an electric car for a few days[1]. After all, there’s nothing like experiencing an electric car first-hand from behind the wheel for an extended period to really see the day-to-day benefits

Understand the BIK benefits of going electric

This is the big incentive for making the electric switch. For both user-choosers and your employer and fleet manager, there are a wealth of financial benefits that come with running an electric company car. For user-choosers in particular, these come in the form of ultra-low charging costs and minuscule benefit-in-kind payments.

Let’s start with the BIK first.
BIK is a taxable amount for user-choosers that is worked out using a vehicle’s P11D value (the list price minus VAT) and its CO2 emissions. Using the all-electric CUPRA Born as an example, its zero tailpipe emissions mean it commands a BIK rate of just 2%, while its P11D value of £36,420 means that the payable BIK for a 20% taxpayer is just £12.17 per month, while someone in the 40% tax bracket will pay just £24.25 per month. Oh, and VED road tax is free for EVs, too.

For comparison, an efficient 1.0-litre petrol hatchback emitting CO2 emissions of 125g/km commands a BIK rate of 30%. Combine this with a P11D value of £23,070, and 20% taxpayers will pay a whopping £1384 per year, while 40% taxpayers will hand over an eye-watering £2768 per year. Road tax for this model: £210 per year.

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Cupra Formentor PHEV charging socket

Make the most of convenient cost-effective home charging

More than 80% of electric car drivers charge their cars at home because it’s undoubtedly the most convenient and the most cost-effective solution.

First, you’ll need to choose which type of charger you want. Depending on the wiring in your house, a 7kWh wall-mounted charger is likely to be the best option, because it offers a good mix of speed and efficiency. It lets you fully recharge your electric car overnight on your driveway , so that you can start the next day’s journey with a full charge. Beat that, petrol.

You’ll also need to choose whether you want a tethered or untethered charger. Tethered means the cable is always attached to the wall, while untethered means you need to use the cable from the boot of your car every time you get home. For convenience, most people opt for tethered.

Like we’ve said, home charging can be incredibly cost-effective when done right. Smart wall boxes, like ones offered by CUPRA partner Ohme, work with your electric car, Wi-Fi, energy tariff and smartphone to only charge your car when the rates are at their very lowest – generally between the hours of 1am and 4am.

As a result, research by the Energy Saving Trust claims that user-choosers who opt to charge overnight at home can save 66% on ‘fuel’ costs compared to petrol or diesel equivalents.

Rethink range and how you use it

Range is probably the most contentious – and most important – talking point among user-choosers when it comes to making the electric switch. You might worry that the range of an electric car will limit its real-world usability for work or play. Thankfully, that couldn’t be further from the truth. You just have to rethink how you use it.

Data suggests that the average company car driver covers just 20-45 miles on an average weekday. To put that into perspective, the all-electric CUPRA Born with a 58kWh battery can cover up to 264 miles (WLTP)[2] on a single charge, while the larger 77kWh battery model has a range of up to 342 miles (WLTP)[2], which would be enough to cover more than a week of driving without ever needing to charge. Not bad, eh?

But we also know that many user-choosers need a company car that can do the big journeys for work and big family adventures, too. So, you’ll be glad to hear that 342 miles is the equivalent of driving from London to Newcastle in one go.

Thankfully, very few drivers will ever have to cover mileage like that without a break for coffee or lunch. That’s where the UK’s ever-growing and ever-more-reliable network of public chargers comes into play (more of which in a moment). It’s also important to know that CUPRA models are packed with plenty of smart tech that can help boost your range. Which takes us neatly to our next point…

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CUPRA Born touchscreen

Use driving tech to enhance your range

The new wave of all-electric cars, like the CUPRA Born, come packed with the latest and most-advanced in-car technology, making driving easier, less stressful, safer and – crucially – even more energy-efficient. That means you can get more electric range from your car, without changing how you drive.

Adaptive cruise control, speed limiters, regenerative braking and ECO driving modes can all be utilised to maximise the range of your car. In the case of the CUPRA Born, you can also use the intelligent MyCUPRA smartphone app to help you plot the most time- and range-efficient routes with the most convenient chargers at the start, middle and end of your journey, with battery pre-conditioning to ensure you get the maximum range possible and the most time-efficient charging from your car.

Know your battery to get the best from charging

If you drive a petrol or diesel company car, you might be used to running it until the fuel light comes on, then brimming it full with a quick splash-and-dash fuel stop. Electric charging is a little different, but all it takes is a subtle change in mindset.

Electric cars work best between 20% and 80% battery capacity. So, start thinking about recharging at 20%. That takes the pressure off and gives you plenty of time to find your best and nearest charging option – whether it’s a long and slow charge in the heart of the city near your next destination, or a rapid range boost at a service station to get you back on the road as time-efficiently as possible.

Equally, as an electric car’s battery approaches 100% capacity, the rate of charging often slows down to optimise battery performance. As we said earlier, that’s fine if you’re doing a long and slow cost-effective overnight charge at home. But, on a fast or rapid public charger it probably means you end up stood still charging for longer, without any real benefit in range. So, keeping on-the-go battery charges between 20% to 80% means you’ve always got range in hand, without wasting time.

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CUPRA Born charging at public charger

Fit public charging around your day

It’s important to know that on-the-go charging of electric cars is about grazing, rather than ‘brimming the tank’ full with a 100% charge each time. Think of it like how you eat: grazing on snacks when you’re on the move during the day, then having a big meal when you sit down at a restaurant or at home.

Whenever your car is parked, pick somewhere where you can top up your battery at an appropriate speed and cost while the car is static. That way, charging fits neatly around your work or leisure activities, rather than defining your day.

Travelling to a meeting but want to pause for a coffee, a quick lunch, or to check your emails? If you can find a 100kW+ rapid charger, do a rapid top-up. Or, if you’re heading into town for a long meeting or a trip to the gym, find a nearby car park with a fast 7kW to 22kW charger to top-up slowly and cost-effectively. Equally, if you’re staying overnight away from home, find a hotel with on-site charging or nearby charging – refilling your battery while you relax with a good book, or get tucked up in bed.

Equally, there are many misconceptions that the UK’s public charging network isn’t up to scratch. Fortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Data from zap-map.com says there are over 40,000 public chargers active in the UK, while new government legislation means you no longer need a raft of apps or RFID cards to use them – just tap your contactless card and you’re away.

So, from rethinking range to understanding home charger, there you have our best tips for company car user-choosers looking to go electric. Now it’s time to pick the CUPRA model that’s right for you.

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[1] Ts&Cs apply

[2] Figures shown are for comparability purposes and were obtained after the battery had been fully charged. Mains electricity required for charging. Only compare electric range figures with vehicles tested to the same technical procedures. Figures may not reflect real life driving results.

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