Sales of new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are forecast to rise more than 260% in the UK in 2020, according to figures from DriveElectric, an electric vehicle leasing company.

DriveElectric has used its own model, built from its intelligence of the UK market, to forecast EV registrations, and predicts that at least 98,500 new BEVs will be sold compared with 37,850 registered in the UK in 2019. The figure does not include plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).

The company says there are several factors driving the increase such as:

• Changes to Benefit in Kind (BIK) company car tax: there will be zero company car tax on pure electric cars from April 2020 for a period of 12 months. Switching to an EV from a plug-in hybrid could result in savings for the employee and the company in BIK, fuel and National Insurance of £4,578 in just one year.

• A return to company cars rather than employees taking car allowances.

• Increased availability of electric cars in 2020 compared to 2019, in part due to the new EU fleet-wide average emissions targets as part of the Clean Air For Europe programme (CAFE) – selling larger numbers of EVs can help car manufacturers avoid substantial fines.

• Existing manufacturers such as Tesla will continue with a large market share and a high number of deliveries (approximately 25,000 units).

• A number of manufacturers are entering the market with new battery electric vehicles, for example PSA, with a predicted volume of 12,000 units. Volkswagen will have a big push with EVs; although the new ID won’t be ready to roll out of UK showrooms until later in 2020, other all-electric Volkswagen models will help with the firm’s numbers.

• There is growing environmental awareness, about climate change and also about challenges with local air quality; EVs help to provide a solution in both areas.

• Increasing numbers of initiatives such as Clean Air Zones are resulting in organisations considering renewing their fleets with electric rather than petrol or diesel vehicles.

However, DriveElectric reported one additional key factor that is responsible for the increasing shift to electric vehicles.

It said that in its trials of EVs with organisations around the UK, drivers, many of whom may initially have been sceptical about a move to EVs, vastly prefer the driving experience of electric cars and vans to that of their petrol or diesel engine equivalents.