The UK Government has implemented various initiatives to support the widespread adoption of EVs. One such initiative is the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS).
This article explains the details of the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS), what the WCS is, its objectives, and how it aims to facilitate the installation of EV charging points at workplaces across the country. Discover everything you need to know about the workplace charging scheme and how your business and your employees can benefit.
What is the Workplace Charging Scheme?
The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) is a UK government initiative that provides financial support to businesses that choose to provide EV charging stations for staff. Under the Workplace Charging Scheme, vouchers are supplied to companies to cover up to 75% of the charging unit purchase price and installation cost. This is capped at £350 per unit at a maximum of 40 units per business.
The WCS aims to encourage the adoption of EVs by ensuring convenient and accessible charging options for employees
Who is eligible for the Workplace Charging Scheme?
Any UK-registered business, charity or public sector organisation is able to apply for the Workplace charging scheme. This OZEV grant is open to all, regardless of business turnover, the number of employees or the size of the organisation.
In order to qualify a business must meet these criteria:
- There must be dedicated parking for staff (not available for the public or commercial customers to use)
- The business must declare during the application process that they either have a need for fleet EV charging equipment OR they intend to use the scheme to encourage EV uptake amongst the workforce
- The business must own the property or have written consent from the landlord for the installation to take place
- The charging stations will need to be installed by an approved OZEV installer
- The business should be registered at companies house or provide a VAT number
Workplace Charging Scheme Application: How to apply?
To apply for the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS), businesses in the UK can follow these steps:
Find out if your business qualifies for the WCS by meeting the criteria set by OZEV, this can be found in the section above or you can read the full criteria at the official workplace charging scheme guidance.
If you believe you meet the requirements but are initially deemed ineligible, you can appeal the decision by contacting the scheme administrator at [email protected]. Provide a report outlining any mitigating circumstances that you believe should be considered in your application.
- Gather necessary business details
Once prequalified, collect the following information to proceed with your application
Provide the address and administrative contact information of your business.
Location of installation sites
Specify the sites where you intend to install the EV charging infrastructure.
Clearly state the reasons why your business qualifies for the WCS, whether it’s for fleet use or promoting staff adoption of electric vehicles.
- Submit the application
Complete the application process by submitting the required information to OZEV. Ensure that all details are accurate and provide any supporting documents requested during the application process. Businesses can apply to the workplace charging scheme directly via the workplace charging scheme online application form.
- Receive the digital voucher
If your application is approved, you will receive a digital voucher from OZEV. This voucher is valid for six months and can be presented to an OZEV-approved EV installation company of your choice.
- Coordinate installation
Work with the selected EV installation company to schedule and carry out the installation of the charging infrastructure at the specified sites. Ensure that the installations comply with the requirements outlined by the Workplace Charging Scheme.
When does the Workplace Charging Scheme end?
There is no official end date in place for the workplace charging scheme, in fact, as recently as 2022 the scheme extended its scope to include SMEs, charities and Bed and Breakfast accommodation. So you can expect it to remain in place and likely extend further as the Government continues to work towards its net-zero targets.
Government programs and initiatives can be subject to changes and updates over time. Therefore, double-check the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) news page for the most up-to-date information regarding the status and potential changes to the Workplace Charging Scheme.
What is the cost of installing a charger at work?
The workplace charging scheme is a free benefit for eligible businesses, however, the voucher will not cover the total cost of the unit, installation and upkeep. The amount granted through the WCS is intended to cover a portion of the overall costs incurred by businesses. However, it’s important to note that the total cost of the installation, including the amount provided per socket, the number of sockets installed, and any additional costs associated with the installation, will depend on the specific requirements and circumstances of each individual business.
There will be additional costs beyond the installation that business owners will need to consider. Should you decide to install a 22 kW unit then you may need to upgrade your electricity supply from single phase to 3-phase.
To get an accurate estimate of the cost for a specific workplace charging installation, it is recommended to contact an OZEV-approved installer and get an accurate quote based on your business requirements. They will be able to provide detailed information regarding the costs involved in the installation process.
Workplace Charging Scheme voucher
The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) is a voucher-based system in the UK, eligible businesses receive a voucher that provides financial support for the installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure at workplaces. This voucher is issued by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV).
The voucher is digital and the value of the voucher is up to £350 per socket, with a maximum of 40 sockets per site.
It’s important to note that the voucher is specifically for the financial support of the installation costs and does not cover the ongoing operational or maintenance expenses associated with the charger.
Once you have successfully applied then a voucher will be issued for you to pass on to your EV charge point installer – they will deduct this from your installation bill and claim the grant on your behalf once the installation is complete. Installers have 4 months to claim the voucher via the workplace charging scheme portal, failure to do so in this time period will result in the voucher expiring and no claim can be made.
What is the Workplace Charging Scheme portal?
The Workplace charging scheme portal is the online platform provided by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) for authorised EV charge point installers.
It is used to claim the grant on the applicant’s behalf once the installation has been fully completed. It is just for the installation company and it is not intended to be used by the end-user of the charge points to claim the grant, nor is it used for any part of the application process.
Here is a breakdown of the steps involved in redeeming a customer’s voucher and installing chargers through the online portal:
- Installer verification
Installers receive customer enquiries and validate the eligibility of their WCS voucher code using the online installer portal.
- Site surveys and quotes
Installers conduct site surveys, provide quotes, and ensure the suitability of the intended charger installations at the customer’s sites.
- Chargepoint installation
Installers proceed to install OZEV-approved chargers, adhering to the commercial chargers’ minimum technical specifications. They activate the units and verify their safe operation and data communication.
- Grant redemption
Installers complete the grant redemption process on the online installer portal before the voucher expiration. This includes declaring installation costs and submitting photographic evidence of the installation.
- Notification to DNO
Installers inform the relevant Distribution Network Operator (DNO) in accordance with the Energy Networks Association (ENA) agreement. They also provide the customer with a copy of the BS7671 Electrical Installation Certificate.
- Confirmation email
The applicant receives an email from DVLA containing information provided by the installer and confirming the generated grant level.
- Applicant verification
The applicant reviews the details in the installer’s email. If any inaccuracies are found, the applicant has 7 calendar days to email [email protected] and raise concerns. DVLA may contact the installer for clarification. If the details are accurate, OZEV proceeds with payment to the installer.
- DVLA claim processing
DVLA processes the installer’s WCS claim within 7 working days unless there are queries. Installers respond promptly to any queries from DVLA.
- Grant payment
Installers receive the grant payment from OZEV within 30 working days. However, if they haven’t previously claimed grants from OZEV, payment processing may take up to 3 months.
- Document retention and audit check
Installers retain copies of customer details and required documents. In case of an audit check, the installer submits all requested documentation to OZEV.
The OZEV WCS online portal streamlines the redemption process for authorised installers, ensuring efficient communication, accurate grant payment, and document management.
Should my workplace have an EV charging policy?
If you are planning to install an EV charger at work, no matter the size of your business, it’s recommended that you provide staff with an EV charger policy. If you do not have time or resources to write your own policy then use our free EV workplace charging policy template. This will ensure the staff and the business recognise their obligations and terms and conditions of usage.
What about the EV infrastructure grant for staff and fleets?
Launched in April 2022, the electric vehicle infrastructure grant provides even more funding to SMEs (small to medium-sized enterprises) looking to install new EV charge points for their staff or fleet. The grant available is up to £15,000 towards the charge units, the installation and the infrastructure required to use them.
The fact that the grant can be used for infrastructure is what separates it from the workplace charging scheme (the clue is in the name!). Infrastructure can extend from electrical work to a consumer unit or a feeder pillar. It can also include cabling work to new charge points and parking spaces that will contain charge points in the future.
Going beyond electrical work the grant can be used to pay for signage associated with the charger, it can pay for Wifi boosters or labour and project management fees.
In order to apply for the EV infrastructure grant for staff and fleets, you must already be eligible for and enrolled on the workplace charging scheme and you must have 249 employees or less.
You can read full guidance on how to apply via the government’s EV infrastructure grant for staff and fleets: customer guidance page.
The final word on the Workplace Charging Scheme
The government is driving the UK’s switch from petrol to electric cars forward with a variety of measures and incentives. The Workplace Charging Scheme has funded approximately seventeen thousand charging units in the UK since its inception, with nearly 50% of those being installed in the last 12 months.
Let’s recap how the scheme works, the Workplace Charging Scheme offers a 75% discount on a new business charging unit to cover the cost of both the unit and the installation (capped at £350 and cannot be used on more than 40 units per business).
There are plenty of benefits for any commercial business choosing to install electric charging stations in the workplace. There are cost savings on fuel if you choose to move a company fleet from petrol to electric, and there are non-financial benefits such as boosting employee welfare and corporate responsibility.
In order to apply for the scheme, you must be a business, charity or public sector organisation registered in the UK that is either in need of fleet charging equipment or is intending to encourage its staff to use electric cars.
The online application process is straightforward and once approved you will receive a digital voucher that you must provide to your EV charge point installer in order for them to reclaim the funds on your behalf.
If you are an SME you can consider also applying for the EV infrastructure grant for staff and fleets, this provides a grant of up to £15,000 for both installation of units and the surrounding infrastructure.
Given the push in the UK to move from petrol to electric is growing in pace, the expectation from employees that workplaces should be providing EV charging will continue to grow too. Eventually, businesses that operate a company car scheme will need to prepare for electric company cars, which means providing employees with the ability to charge at work.
It is always better for employers to get ahead of the curve of employee expectations and utilise the schemes and grants that are available by providing staff with the option of workplace EV charging.
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John is the Editor and Spokesperson for Electric Car Guide.
With over 20 years of writing experience, he has written for titles such as City AM, FE News and NerdWallet.com, covering various automotive and personal finance topics.
John’s market commentary has been covered by the likes of The Express, The Independent, Yahoo Finance and The Evening Standard.