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RISING demand for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) is creating a record growth in salary sacrifice car scheme orders.

Independent leasing company Zenith said it has seen salary sacrifice prove hugely popular over the past 12 months, with some customers achieving the largest number of orders since the launch of their schemes and an influx of employees who take a cash allowance. In 2020, almost 60% of Zenith’s salary sacrifice orders were for BEVs.

In one scheme that launched this year, 85% of orders have been for BEVs, with the remaining 15% for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. It will lead to an average saving of 372 tonnes of carbon for each year the vehicles are on the road.

Salary sacrifice allows all eligible employees to drive a new BEV at an attractive inclusive monthly cost compared to a petrol or diesel equivalent. And for companies, it is also a positive shift in terms of environmental impact and the broader benefits around duty of care for employees.

Jon Smith, relationship director at Zenith, said: “The pandemic has meant that many companies are reviewing their car policies to ensure that they are fit for purpose for the next decade. It has also proven to be a strong force for positive change, with some clear trends emerging.

“We have seen a significant increase in the number of BEVs across our customers’ fleets. The shift is due to several factors, including lower mileages driven now and anticipated into the future, lower BiK and companies seeking to lower their carbon emissions on their roadmap towards carbon neutrality.

“For some of our customers, removing limits on BEVs that an employee can choose within a scheme if they make a private use contribution has meant BEV ordering has materially overtaken normal ICE vehicles. The adoption has many benefits, including generating a BiK saving for the individual and an environmental benefit for the company.”

Employees’ ability to choose BEVs through company car schemes has given them options to gain access to green vehicle mobility that a cash allowance often struggles to match.

Jon Smith concluded: “The team at Zenith has worked hard through the initial stages of the pandemic and as subsequent lockdowns have been enforced to help our customers manage the costs of their fleet. It is a time where we have worked proactively and with agility to find the best possible solution.

“Looking forward, the range of BEVs is growing rapidly, and there are positive steps in expanding the charging infrastructure in the UK. Companies understand the benefits of company car schemes and now have more options than ever before in providing a vehicle from flexible leasing to salary sacrifice schemes.”

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