First world problems: Choosing a new company car
After three and a half years of loyal service, my current BMW 330e is due to be replaced in 6 months’ time and it’s that wonderful time again when I get to select my new company car.
I’m lucky enough to work for an organisation with a very open car policy which not only let me have a pretty free hand in selecting the make and model but also allows me to top up my allowance through salary sacrifice.
I selected the 330e last time because of the significant Benefit in Kind (BiK) tax advantages of opting for a Plug-In Hybrid however, with the ever-evolving electrification of cars and the associated government incentives, PHEVs are no longer the cheap option they once were.
In an effort to cut CO2 emissions and incentivise fleets to adopt fully electric vehicles, the UK Government has introduced new tax rates from April 2020 that virtually eliminate BiK on electric company cars. This together with the fact that these vehicles are not subject to BiK for private usage fuel make them too financially attractive not to turn down.
Although the list price of these cars is way above my allowance, the BiK savings mean that it is cheaper for me to make the salary sacrifice to step up, than to press on with a conventional car.
So financially it makes sense but what about the practicality of running a fully electric company car?
I currently drive approximately 16,000 miles per year. My daily commute to work is about 20 miles each way and I have existing charging facilities both at work and at home. So far so good.
Although my role is primarily office based, I do have to make a handful of project visits each month and these could be anywhere throughout the UK and often include overnight stopovers. How well suited to this style of work can an electric car be?
First, I have set a few basic parameters; any car I consider must have a WLTP range of over 250 miles, the ability to recharge at a reasonably quick rate and I must convince myself that there is a sufficient network of charging stations on my typical routes that I can use.
Having poured over Zap-Map for what seems like hours on end, I have concluded that so long as I sensibly pre-plan journeys, it is possible for me to successfully navigate around the UK without running out of juice and during the fours years that I have the car, this should only get easier as more fast chargers are installed. The major downside of this research is that my phone now has a plethora of various charging apps installed to ensure that wherever I stop, I will always be registered to plug in.
A year too early?
The next 24 months will see the introduction of a host of new EVs from manufacturers such as VW, Audi, BMW, Seat, Skoda etc. This is of no use to me as I need a replacement car by then end of 2020.
With the stipulation of at least a 250 mile range my sensible options appear to be:
- Audi Q4 e-tron (Not available until 2021)
- Ford Mach-E
- Hyundai Kona / Kia e-Niro
- Mercedes EQA (Not available until 2021)
- Nissan Leaf e+
- Polestar 2
- SEAT el-Born (Not available until 2021)
- Skoda Vision IV (Not available until 2021)
- Tesla Model 3
- Volkswagen ID.3 (Long range only has 4 seats and not available until 2021)
Having reviewed all these cars, I have drawn up my final shortlist:
- Tesla Model 3 Long Range
- Polestar 2
- Ford Mustang Mach-e RWD Extended Range
The Tesla Model 3 is available to order now and surprisingly has relatively short delivery times, currently about 6 weeks. On the other hand, both the Polestar and Mach-e aren’t scheduled to hit UK roads until later in 2020 but both can be pre-ordered by placing a refundable deposit of £1000.
So how do Tesla Model 3, Polestar 2 and Mustang Mach-e compare?
EV database is an excellent repository for all kinds of EV related data and a great place to go to compare facts and figures. Interestingly they also have estimated figures for those vehicles yet to be released. Quite how they go about estimating this information is unknown but at least it gives motorists some idea of what is coming up soon.
|Tesla Model 3||Polestar 2||Mustang Mach-e|
|Battery Capacity||75 kWh||78 kWh||99 kWh|
|Range (Claimed)||348 miles||292 miles||370 miles|
|Range (Real)||285 miles||265 miles||275 miles|
|Highway – Cold Weather||205 miles||190 miles||tba|
|Combined – Mild Weather||330 miles||305 miles||tba|
|Max Fast Charge||250 kW DC||150 kW DC||150 kW DC|
|7.4kW Charge Time||11h 45m||11h 45m||14h 30m|
|22kW Charge Time||7h 45m||7h 45m||9h 45m|
|150kW Charge Time||–||27m||44m|
|350kW Charge Time||25m||n/a||n/a|
|Tesla Supercharger 250kW||22m||n/a||n/a|
|Torque||443 lb-ft||487 lb-ft||306 lb-ft|
|0-62 mph||4.6 seconds||4.7 seconds||7.0 seconds|
|Availability||Now||Late 2020||Late 2020|
Beyond range and charging anxiety, I will be spending 16,000 miles per year behind the wheel of the car and therefore it is also natural to pay attention to the equipment specification of each vehicle.
|Tesla Model 3||Polestar 2||Mustang Mach-e|
|Cargo Volume||542 litres||405 litres||402 litres|
|Control Displays||Single 15.4″||11″ plus cockpit||15.5″ plus cockpit|
|Power seats||Yes X-way||Yes X-way||Yes X-way|
|Heated Seats||Front & Rear||Front, Rear and Steering Wheel||Front Only|
|Adaptive cruise control||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Blind spot monitoring||Yes||Yes||No|
|Road sign information||Optional||Yes||No|
|Infotainment||Tesla / Internet browser||Android Infotainment||Apple CarPlay / Android Auto|
|Audio||Tesla Premium||Hartman Kardon||B&O|
|Digital phone key||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Other features||Emergency brake, collision warning, sentry security||Cross traffic alert and auto brake, smart pixel headlights||Hands free tailgate, no door handles|
What does that mean for me?
Having carefully considered all the above and having poured over a multitude of online images, I have come to the following conclusions.
- The Mach-e comes less well equipment for a similar price
- It’s a close-run thing between the Tesla and Polestar and therefore it is worth putting down a deposit on the Polestar to at least secure my position in the queue.
- The main drawback on the Tesla is that it is a saloon rather than a 5 door, however it is available now and grants me access to Tesla’s network of Superchargers which is a point not to ignore.
I’m waiting to hear from Polestar when I may expect to take delivery should I confirm my order and I need to let Tesla know by the beginning of August if I want delivery by my target date. So I have a few more months to weigh it up before I have to make a final call.
As I say, first world problems…