Fleet Logistics UK reveals true cost of not plugging in PHEVs


Company car drivers who do not plug in and recharge their plug-in electric hybrids (PHEVs) are not only adding unwanted carbon dioxide into the atmosphere but are racking up unnecessary fuel and adding to true whole life costs for their companies.

That’s the message from Birmingham-based fleet management specialist, Fleet Logistics UK and Ireland (FLUK), which says that PHEVs can be the ideal business tool for company drivers looking to transition between conventional ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) engines and electric vehicles – provided they are used properly.

FLUK has now produced a series of whole life cost calculations to show the true impact of driving PHEVs on the conventional petrol engine alone and not employing electric propulsion.

Using a BMW3 Series 330e automatic saloon as an example and taking figures from ongoing work with clients to evaluate the optimum drivetrains options, FLUK found that the additional costs of non-charged PHEVs are high.

For example, using published mpg figures, fuel consumption drops from 176.60mpg to 50.40mpg* if driven on the petrol engine alone. As a result, the monthly fuel costs increase by more than £57 on a 10,000 mile per annum contract.

The fuel cost differential is even more marked over longer mileage intervals. For example, on a 15,000 mile per annum contract the fuel cost goes up by £86 per month, on 20,000 miles per annum it increases by £115 per month, and on 25,000 miles the fuel cost rises £145 per month.

This has a marked impact on the car’s whole life costs. Taking a 10,000-mile contract as an example, the whole life costs of the PHEV increase by £46.84 per month rising to £142.40 per month over 25,000 miles, if only the petrol engine is used. See chart below.

BMW 330E 4dr 2.0M Sport auto

36months/10,000 miles pa

36months/15,000 miles pa


miles pa

36months/25,000 miles pa

Monthly business fuel cost (using 176.6mpg)





Monthly business fuel cost (using 50.4mpg)





Increase to monthly WLC





*Published combined mpg at 30th September

**Costs of fuel applied are 129.20p per litre (petrol) and WLC calculations assume 19% Corporation Tax rate, 100% VAT recovery and include RFL, servicing, maintenance and breakdown cover.

For a large fleet running several hundred of these cars, the cost increases are clearly substantial. However, the drivers are not penalised over their driving style in terms of the Benefit-in-Kind taxation they pay, as this can start at £106 per month for a 20% taxpayer and £212 for a 40% taxpayer, regardless of how they drive the vehicle.

“We believe PHEVs have a role in helping companies move to electric vehicles. However, it is important they are used correctly so as not to impact air pollution as well as cost,”

said Sue Branston, Country Head for FLUK.

“If they are not recharged regularly and in line with manufacturer guidance, then they become more costly to operate for the business than initially forecast.

“Companies may want to consider talking to their fleet management specialists to seek guidance on policy amendments for those drivers who are not charging their PHEVs correctly which can easily be measured by the additional fuel costs they are incurring,“

she added.