Central Europe is getting ready for electric cars, and so should you!

It’s a sign of the times: the no. 1 most leased car brand in CE, Skoda, has announced the launch of Enyaq iV, the first fully-electric business model of Skoda. It is slated to hit the market in late 2020 and it is proof, if proof be needed, that Central Europe is getting ready for plugged-in mobility. But is the required infrastructure available and are governments following with incentives to promote EVs?

Let’s get this out of the way first: the share of electric cars on the roads in Central Europe may be low, but even in the most electrified European markets the numbers still struggle to hit the 5% market share.  Of all cars on the roads today, 0.04% are electric in Poland, 0.56% in the Czech Republic, 0.10% in Slovakia, 0.20% in Hungary and 0.06% in Romania. Download the fact sheet.

Adding EVs to your fleet requires a tailor-made approach. The experts at Business Lease can help you take the steps to order and manage your first battery-electric or hybrid vehicles.

The future is clean mobility

These numbers need to go up and they need to do so relatively fast. The European Commission targets emission cuts in passenger vehicles of 50% by 2030[i] as part of decarbonization of the wider economy. This cannot be achieved without corporate fleets.

Car manufacturers have started churning out plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles in huge numbers and they are no longer limited to premium segments.

Buying EVs

Price is still an obstacle to EV adoption, though. Even a modest Opel Corsa-e has a price tag of just under PLN 130,000 in Poland, compared to just over PLN 50,000 for its petrol-powered sister. Getting fleets to add plug-in hybrid battery-electric vehicles to their offering without tax breaks and other financial incentives is difficult and governments in Central Europe have understood that.

Romania, for instance, put a scheme in place to give grants for buying electric vehicles. Slovakia, for instance, subsidizes plug-in vehicles[ii] and the Czech Republic allows municipalities to apply for subsidies to buy cars with alternative fuels.

More is being done on the tax front, though. All five Central European countries do not levy any motor vehicle tax and/or registration tax with some adding additional benefits like free parking while an EV is being charged.

Charging network in Central Europe

Having an EV is one thing, charging it is another. Charging networks can be sparse in parts of Central Europe, particularly away from motorways and cities, but they are expanding. The Czech Republic already has quite an extensive network and they are still planning further increase as to avoid being stranded with an empty battery in more distance regions from the big cities.

However, surveys have shown that most EV drivers charge their vehicle at home or at the office, indicating that’s where chargers are really essential. Fortunately, prices for EV chargers are going down and Business Lease has partnerships with experienced charger manufacturers in all Central European markets.

Various countries also give grants to refund part of the installation costs. This is the case in Romania, where the government refunds up to € 30,000 if you install a charger of more than 22kW. The Czech Republic and Poland also have incentives for EV chargers.

Business Lease set up a Mobility Expert Team five years ago, as a way to experiment with new mobility solutions together with clients and suppliers. One of its core missions is a focus on alternative mobility sources and CO2 footprint reduction.

Business Lease is a car leasing company operating in the Central European region and located in Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. Business Lease also operates on an international level and we are happy to provide you with further information on full electric and hybrid cars in your countries.

Get in touch with one of our International team members for more information.

Download the fact sheet  Here

Car Insurance and new technologies

Insurance and Risk management are not the easiest elements to manage in a fleet’s total cost of ownership. It can be challenging for fleet managers to develop a strategic view on their insurance portfolio and on the risks their drivers face or indeed the risks they may already have insurance for.

Account managers at Business Lease have noticed that fleet managers often do not have an overview of their claims history. Nevertheless, claims data analysis can often reveal particular types of accidents that occur more often than others. For instance, a high frequency of damage to front bumpers, can be countered by adding parking sensors to a car policy’s standard equipment. In turn, this could lead to lower premiums.

Autonomous Emergency Braking

Technological developments enable fleet operators to analyse their insurance needs in great detail. Research in the United States, the UK and Germany all indicate that Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) like Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) reduce the crash incidence by 30%, making it worthwhile to invest in fleets that are equipped with these systems. Modern cars are often pre-equipped with ADAS but retrofit options are available for older vehicles, too, offered by companies like Mobileye.

As an additional bonus, as a driver’s behavior improves, the vehicle’s maintenance and repair bills go down. Drivers who record more than one incident of harsh cornering per 100km, for instance, experience much greater tire wear, which can increase tire costs by 73% according to findings of DriveTech.

It can be cost-effective for companies to invest in vehicles with driver assistance systems to renegotiate their insurance premiums. Nevertheless, it is essential for drivers to turn on the safety features their cars are equipped with and it may make sense to add this requirement in the company car policy.

Companies can also increase the deductible they hold their drivers liable for, but such measures can be controversial from a human resources point of view.

Double coverage

Another important step is to have a full view of all insurance policies a company has obtained. If theft of objects from a car is already covered by a company-wide policy, it can easily be removed from insurance policies associated with leased cars.

Understanding your claims history can help companies keep their TCO down and it can help define a car policy. Indeed, companies looking for ways to optimize their TCO should also have a view on their insurance needs. And this is something their fleet management or leasing company can offer assistance with.

Summary to improve your management on fleet insurance:

  • Know your claims history
  • Monitor your drivers’ behavior
  • Check for double Insurance coverage
  • Update your car policy to be ready for new technology
  • Set up a meeting with Business Lease what insurance coverage is needed

Strong impression on an international fleet stage

Making a strong impression on the international stage for fleet and leasing. A job well done. Business Lease and Moove Connected Mobility managed to do good business at the Fleet Europe Summit in Barcelona.

The Fleet Europe Summit, which was held recently on 28 and 29 November, is an annual trade fair for businesses with large vehicle fleets as well as for vehicle and mobility providers. Business Lease had a stand prominently located at the main entrance. According to Hans Kolff, Director of International Sales, that location paid off: ‘We’ve now exhibited at the Summit for the 11th year, but this has by far been the most successful. Everyone who walked in saw us immediately, so initial contact was easily made. We were able to arrange several follow-up appointments with customers and prospects. It would have usually taken us three weeks of travelling to get that far. What’s more, we gave customer presentations at our two international partners (Alphabet and Athlon). Together with these partners, we can offer leasing services in all European countries and significantly increase our opportunities in Central Europe.’

The place to be seen

This trade fair is the place to be if you want to get noticed at international level. Hans: ‘We may be a relatively small player on the market, but we do operate in six countries. We distinguish ourselves from large leasing companies in a number of areas. At this Summit, for instance, we were the only privately owned leasing company. We aren’t affiliated to a bank or a car manufacturer. For large international firms, this independent character can be quite appealing. The fact that we are part of a family business with a long heritage also seems to win customers’ hearts. We noticed this clearly.’

‘The fact that we are part of a family business with a long heritage seems to win customers’ hearts. We noticed this clearly’