FeatureThe EV Powered Interview

The Electric Car Scheme: Meet Thom Groot!

EV Powered got to sit down with Thom Groot on the motivation behind founding The Electric Car Scheme.

What is your background, and how has it led to The Electric Car Scheme?

At the age of 18, I moved to the United Kingdom from the Netherlands. After completing a Master’s degree in chemistry from Imperial College London in 2008, I discovered that the field of chemistry was slow-moving and not aligned with my interests.

Consequently, I ventured into consulting, where I worked with businesses all over the world. I have lived in several countries, including the UK, Belgium, and the USA, and have spent a significant amount of time in France and Singapore.

After looking to purchase an electric car in 2020, we found it was four times the price of an equivalent second-hand petrol car. While we wanted to go green, it simply was not affordable. This led to setting up The Electric Car Scheme with my co-founder Tom Eilon.

My motivation behind founding The Electric Car Scheme was driven by the belief that it represents a triple win: beneficial for customers, the environment, and a good opportunity to build a sustainable business.

How would you best describe The Electric Car Scheme to someone who has never heard of it before?

The Electric Car Scheme is a salary sacrifice employee benefit that allows employees to access electric cars at a 30-60% lower cost. In a nutshell, it is like the Cycle to Work scheme, for electric cars.

The scheme also gives businesses the chance to offer their employees an attractive and long-term benefit at zero cost.

The Electric Car Scheme makes it a no-brainer – employees receive the best prices on electric cars available in the market. Employers benefit from unrivalled protection against unexpected costs, and a trusted 5* service that goes above and beyond your expectations.

How does the scheme work?

The Electric Car Scheme works through salary sacrifice – you save 30-60% on the cost of any electric car by paying from your salary before tax.

You simply agree to have a portion of your pre-tax salary deducted each month to cover the car cost. Choose the car you want, add on any extras, and drive away saving thousands of pounds.

It’s easy to add everything you need into one bundle. You can get the full tax savings on maintenance, breakdown cover, comprehensive car insurance, and a home charge point – keeping your net zero journey hassle-free.

How does charging work with the scheme?

You can include a home charge point with your car and save 30-60% through salary sacrifice. We find the majority of our customers take this option as this is their first electric car.

To ensure a great customer experience for charging, we have partnered with Smart Home Charge, the first major charger installer to be endorsed by Which? Trusted Traders.

We can also support employers with charge point installation at their offices or car parks.

What feedback have you had from clients? Have they all had positive experiences?

The vast majority of our clients are thrilled with the service, and we have 100+ 5-star Trustpilot reviews and an overall rating of 4.8 (the best in our market).

The main feedback we get is just how helpful it is to have a knowledgeable person to guide you through the process, which can be complicated and is one of the reasons we set up the scheme in the first place.

Our goal is to make sure that it is as easy as possible for employers to offer the scheme and get people into their cars as quickly as possible. Serving thousands of customers, customers can rest assured they are in good hands. Our team of dedicated experts support from launch and all the way along the electric car salary sacrifice journey.

How has the industry grown over the past few years, from your perspective?

The demand for electric cars has been growing significantly for the last few years, as the cost of an electric car is still the biggest barrier to people in the UK making the switch to driving electric.

This has meant that salary sacrifice has become more and more important to the uptake of electric cars. In fact, the majority of new electric cars registered in the UK are company cars or through salary sacrifice. This will not only get more people into new electric cars, but will also improve the second-hand market – which over time will make it more affordable for all.

Electric cars are now the no-brainer for your next car, as costs are coming down, range and charging improve, and energy is more and more renewable. With the ban on new petrol and diesel cars coming in place in 2030, we are seeing more customers switch than ever before.

Finally, we have found that you save money on energy and you save money on maintenance and servicing. Electric cars have fewer moving parts and are, in general, cheaper and easier to maintain.

What are some of the main benefits of electric cars to fleets and their employees?

Fleets, in general, drive more miles and for longer than the average driver. This means that any savings on fuel, maintenance and emissions will be higher. It also means that fleets will recoup the higher initial costs quicker.

Apart from that consideration, more and more, businesses are starting to seriously consider the emissions and sustainability of their operations and their employees. Every person can make a significant impact to lower carbon emissions. Switching to an electric car is the biggest step you can take as an individual to reduce your carbon footprint.

Sustainable choices should be obvious and affordable. That means no trade-offs. When the choice is better for your wallet and better for the environment – it’s a no-brainer. With The Electric Car Scheme, everyone can make the choice to accelerate the transition to net zero.

What are some of the biggest misconceptions you face regarding electric vehicles?

The two main misconceptions we face are:

  • It’s more expensive than petrol or diesel – which is not the case once you apply the 30-60% savings available through salary sacrifice for electric cars (and the lower fuel and maintenance costs).
  • It is hard to charge an electric car / you will not be able to make long journeys – for the majority of people, and the majority of journeys, you will actually have less hassle with an electric car as you can charge it when you get home (rather than wasting time in a petrol station).

What would your message be to someone who has never driven an EV before and is sceptical?

Try it out for yourself and go for a test drive. Or alternatively, talk to people who actually drive electric cars. Everyone is at least slightly sceptical at first, however, everyone I have come across that has actually driven an electric car will tell you that there are far more positives than negatives.

What does the future of the electric vehicle industry look like in the next couple of years, in your opinion?

Electric cars are now the no-brainer for your next car, as costs are coming down, range and charging improve, and energy is more and more renewable. With the ban on new petrol and diesel cars coming in place in 2030, we are seeing more customers switch than ever before.

We are expecting that by 2024 everyone will know at least someone in their group of friends and family who will access their car through The Electric Car Scheme. Similar to the growth in the take-up of Cycle to Work, we expect that the scheme will dramatically increase the uptake of electric cars – and help us achieve our Net Zero goals as a society.

If someone is interested in The Electric Car Scheme, what should they do now?

It is easy to learn more about electric cars and salary sacrifice at www.electriccarscheme.com. You can also run a quote to see how much you can save on any electric car, and when you’re ready, talk to one of the team to set up The Electric Car Scheme for your company.

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