(Bloomberg) -- HSBC Holdings Plc is offering UK-based employees the chance to lease electric vehicles with their pre-tax paychecks, as the lender introduces a popular way for workers to cut their travel emissions.
All of the London-headquartered bank’s 35,000-strong UK workforce are eligible for the perk, which started this month, according to people familiar with the matter. It gives employees the option to lease a new, all-electric car for between two and four years, with the option to buy it from HSBC at the end of the contract.
More than 200 models -- including Teslas -- are available to lease, the people said.
The arrangement offers a big saving for UK salaried workers looking for their own transport, in a country where income tax rates go as high as 45%.
Under UK tax rules, electric or hybrid vehicles also attract a low benefit-in-kind tax, making it particularly cost-efficient. The current tax for employees using such a benefit is 2% for a vehicle with an electric range of 130 miles (209 kilometers) or more, according to UK government guidance. That percentage can go as high as 37% for diesel and petrol cars.
“Supporting the transition to net zero is a vital part of our UK strategy,” said Ian Stuart, chief executive officer of HSBC UK, the bank’s British retail banking subsidiary. Helping employees with its green car program would allow its employees to become “more sustainable in their day-to-day lives,” he said.
Bank of America Corp. announced its own perk this month that encourages all-electric rather than fuel-based driving. The company will give a $4,000 reimbursement to employees that buy an electric vehicle, or $2,000 for a new lease. The one-time perk will be available starting in July to workers who have served at least three years and have annual salaries of less than $250,000.
Such company programs play a major role in the auto market and help boost the uptake of electric cars. About 60% of new-vehicle purchases in Europe are made through the corporate channel.
The benefit comes amid the furore caused by a speech from the head of responsible investment at HSBC’s asset management arm that criticized the finance industry for worrying too much about the environment. The lender has publicly distanced itself from the remarks made May 19 by Stuart Kirk, who has been suspended by the bank.
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