Many employers offer their employees the option of using a company car as a benefit. In the past, the company car with a combustion engine dominated. Climate-conscious employers are currently looking more and more at how emissions can be reduced in the area of mobility. One component of these considerations is the hybrid company car, whose climate-conscious use by employees can also be controlled under labor law.

 

An opportunity that often goes unused

A hybrid company car has two drives: a classic combustion engine and an electric motor with battery. The battery of the electric motor is charged at the power socket and is currently sufficient - depending on the model - for electric ranges of up to 100 kilometers. The idea behind the concept: Many everyday routes (e.g., typical commutes, trips to the supermarket) are not particularly long. These routes can thus be driven electrically without any problems. For longer distances, it would be possible to use the combustion engine. The hybrid is thus intended to combine the best of two drive concepts.

 

It becomes clear: In theory, the hybrid is a good way to significantly reduce everyday emissions. In practice, however, this will only succeed if employees actually use electric drives as a matter of priority. There is still great potential for improvement here. The electric drive is often only used sporadically, and we sometimes hear stories about charging cables that are still in their original packaging when the leased hybrid company car is returned. The classic drive is more popular with employees - whether out of habit or convenience.

 

Control options under labor law

The question for employers here is therefore how they can motivate their employees to use electric drive as a priority. In addition to appropriate communication and advertising for the use of electric drive in practice, employers also have a number of motivational design options when drafting the company car agreement: 

 1. The provision of a charging station (so-called wallbox) to the employees

The provision and installation of a wallbox reduces the employee's inhibition to charge the hybrid company car on a regular basis. If a wallbox is available at home, charging is possible without additional expense and saves one or two trips to the gas station. However, the following points in particular must be taken into account when drawing up the contract:

 

  • The question of bearing the costs of installation and regular maintenance re the wallbox.
  • An obligation on the part of the employee to make the necessary registrations with the network operator and to ensure the technical framework conditions.
  • A provision for bearing the costs if it becomes necessary to uninstall the wallbox "prematurely" (e.g., due to the employee's own termination or relocation).    
  • Regulations on bearing the costs if service becomes necessary due to the employee's fault.
  • The question of the possibility of charging another private electric vehicle via the wallbox (e.g. separate billing for fuel chip for hybrid company cars).

 2. A cap on the cost of gasoline consumption (with appropriate exceptions if higher gasoline consumption was unavoidable, for example due to longer business trips)

 3. The payment of a small bonus if a specified gasoline consumption has not been exceeded in the entire fiscal year

 

Such and similar concepts can certainly be incorporated into a company car agreement with some (legal) creativity. It will probably be some time before this topic is reflected in the standard form books. However, when it comes to climate protection, it is even more important to stay ahead of the times. We will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have about these options.

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