Fleets need to be able to buy electric vehicles (EVs) now that used car buyers will want in four years’ time – but are being hampered by a lack of choice, FleetCheck is warning.

Peter Golding, managing director at the fleet software company, said those that wanted to acquire everyday family cars today to maximise future residual values (RVs) faced instead a list of options largely consisting of prestige saloons and SUVs.

“What we’ve seen is a car market that has electrified from the top down, so if you want to spend £50,000-plus on prestige saloons or SUVs, you’ll get lots of options. This has worked reasonably well so far and those sectors are now essentially electrified. However, there are large areas of the market where businesses that want to buy bread-and-butter cars that are electrically powered are left scratching their heads.

“The biggest is probably lower-cost vehicles with a reasonable range. If you currently run a lot of small petrol hatchbacks and want to find an EV equivalent from an established manufacturer that covers around 200 miles at less than £30,000 – which seems a reasonable ask – options are very limited.

“There are other areas where choice is similarly almost non-existent – pick-ups, estate cars, anything around £20,000. The EV market is really quite homogenous in a negative way and this is proving damaging to future residual values.”

He explained that one of the key factors behind the dramatic fall in EV RVs over recent years was not a rejection from used buyers of EVs per se but simply that there were too many of the ‘wrong’ types of vehicles in circulation.

“If you look at the used market, there is ample evidence of this happening. Demand for many big, prestige electric SUVs is currently saturated, for example. These are just not the kind of vehicles that everyday buyers want – too big, too expensive to buy, and too expensive to run.

“There are models coming, we are told, and there are lower cost choices starting to appear from a wide range of Chinese manufacturers. However, life is frustrating for those who want to electrify in the short term or who don’t want to buy from a car maker without a well-established UK presence.

“What fleets need is to be able to buy the type of vehicles that everyday used buyers are likely to want in four years’ time. In most cases, that is not going to be the types of EVs available today.”