EV chargers make for an inventive staff benefit and are more affordable than ever for UK businesses, thanks to the workplace charging scheme grant.
So how do you approach installing one in your commercial business? Here we run through the steps and the considerations for adding an EV charger to your business premises.
Editors Picks: Best workplace EV chargers
- Best for: Lead time
- Charger and installation cost from: £1,108.95
- Chargers offered: Optimus EV Charger
- Key ‘standard installation’ terms: Up to 10m of cabling, cable runs through a single wall 20 inches cm thick.
- What we like: The low entry price, simple ordering system and good reviews make Go Zero a stand-out option for EV owners
- Best for: Premium choice if money is no object
- Charger and installation cost from: £1,594
- Chargers offered: Andersen A2 7kW, Andersen A2 22kW
- Key ‘standard installation’ terms: Up to 15m of cabling, up to 7 metres of plastic trunking, cable runs through a single wall, installation time must take less than 4 hours
- What we like: Andersen makes beautiful stylish chargers in a range of finishes to suit your home, its a premium charger at a premium price
- Best for: Long cabling routes required with non-standard installations
- Charger and installation cost from: £1099
- Chargers offered: ivie 7.4kW
- Key 'standard installation' terms: Up to 25m of cabling
- What we like: ivie standard installations include up to 25m of cabling, over double the industry standard 10m.
ivie offers a 5-year warranty, 2 years more than most other installers
- Update August 2023: ivie is currently on back-order and not taking new orders
The steps to installing EV chargers in a workplace
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the steps to guide you through planning and installing an EV charger at a commercial business.
- Consider if the planned charger location meets the EV charger installation requirements. If you are planning to install units in a private car park you are likely to meet the requirements. The key considerations are that the parking must be off-street, you must be no closer than 2 meters away from a public road and if you are using an upstand it should be no taller than 2.3 meters high.
- Get a written letter of authority from the landowner. According to the Federation of Small businesses statistics, there are 5.5 million businesses in the UK and the majority of those businesses do not own their premises, they lease them from a 3rd party landlord. If you are planning to install an EV charger on a leased property you must have written permission from the property owner before doing so.
- Speak to a qualified EV charger installer. You can expect a site visit to discuss the installation and the type of chargers you may be interested in. The installer will need to assess the electricity supply at your premises. If you are looking to install a 22kW fast charger then you may need to upgrade your electricity supply from a single phase to a 3-phase supply.
The installer will need to assess the consumer unit at your business, if this is dated or lacking space you can expect them to recommend upgrading this equipment. They will also likely check the route from the consumer unit to the charge station to assess if there will be any additional costs involved in working out a non-standard route.
- Assess if you qualify for the Workplace Charging Scheme. This government incentive provides up to 75% off the cost of a charger and installation (up to £350) in the form of a voucher. Most UK businesses can apply for this voucher provided you are only offering the charging units to staff and not members of the public. You must also declare that you are either switching to an electric fleet or that you are encouraging staff to switch. You can apply for the Workplace Charging Scheme directly from this government application form.
- Write an EV charging workplace policy
Once the EV chargers are in place and ready to use, it’s good practice to produce a workplace charging policy to guide employees and visitors around the usage of the charging points.
The policy should cover the amount of usage permitted per employee and the etiquette around how and when they can use the charge points. Ensure the policy has been shared with the team and is visible to any visitors that may wish to use the stations.
What are the benefits of installing EV chargers in the workplace?
Installing an EV charger for your team to use has a wide range of business benefits:
- Employee welfare
Providing the team with the ability to charge an EV at work is a great benefit for staff to enjoy. It may be that employees no longer need to invest in a home EV charge point, saving them additional money as well as convenience. This will demonstrate to your team that staff welfare is considered and valued, which in turn will improve employee retention and motivation.
- Reducing company fuel costs
If your business uses a fleet of vehicles in its day-to-day operations then a switch from petrol to Electric will reduce business overheads, and the installation of on-site EV charging stations will become a practical necessity.
- Internal Branding and social responsibility
Going beyond staff welfare, the internal image of corporate responsibility is an important one to portray to a team. Demonstrating to staff that you are committed to environmental causes makes your business more rewarding to work for.
- Employee convenience
Workplace EV charging provides employees with a convenient and accessible location to charge their electric vehicles while they are at work. This eliminates the need for employees to rely solely on public charging infrastructure, reducing potential range anxiety and making EV ownership more feasible.
- Attraction and retention of talent
Offering EV charging as an employee benefit can enhance a company’s appeal to prospective employees and aid in employee retention. As the popularity of EVs continues to grow, job seekers are increasingly considering workplace charging availability when choosing an employer.
- Sustainability and environmental impact
Workplace EV charging promotes sustainable transportation options by encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles. By providing charging infrastructure, businesses contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, aligning with sustainability goals and corporate social responsibility.
- Cost savings for staff
EV charging at the workplace will result in cost savings for employees. Employees can benefit from reduced charging costs compared to public charging stations. Employees can make further tax savings by utilising EV salary sacrifice schemes.
- Enhanced productivity
Employees with access to workplace EV charging can have peace of mind, knowing they have a reliable source of charging for their electric vehicles. This can reduce time spent searching for public charging stations and minimize disruptions to work schedules, ultimately enhancing employee productivity.
By investing in workplace EV charging infrastructure, businesses prepare themselves for the anticipated growth of electric vehicles in the market. This positions them ahead of the curve, ready to accommodate the evolving transportation landscape and the increasing demand for EV charging.
Overall, workplace EV charging offers numerous advantages, ranging from employee satisfaction and retention to environmental benefits and cost savings.
Can I charge staff for using EV charging points?
The decision to charge staff for using EV charging points at the workplace is ultimately up to the employer. So yes if you choose to you can charge staff to user chargers. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind:
- Fairness and equity
If employers charge for EV charging, they should ensure that the system is fair and equitable. Consider implementing a transparent and consistent charging policy that applies to all employees, regardless of their vehicle type or charging needs.
- Employee morale
Charging employees for using workplace EV charging points may impact employee morale, especially if it is a new cost that was previously free.
- Incentives and benefits
Alternatively, employers may choose to offer EV charging as an employee benefit without charging fees. This can enhance the overall employee experience, attract talent, and demonstrate a commitment to sustainability.
Before implementing any charging fees, it is advisable to carefully consider the financial implications, employee perspectives, and the overall goals of promoting electric vehicle adoption. Openly communicate any workplace charging policies to employees and allow for feedback to ensure transparency and understanding.
Can I reduce the cost of workplace installation with a grant?
There is an OZEV grant called the Workplace Charging Scheme that reduces the cost of workplace charger installation. The Workplace Charging Scheme provided businesses with a 75% discount on the cost of a charging unit and the installation of the unit. This is capped at £350 and cannot be used on more than 40 units per company.
Any business in the UK no matter how large or small is eligible for the grant (not only businesses, charities and public sector organisations are now able to apply too). The WCS online application form is quick and simple to use, you will need to provide business contact details, information about where the chargers are being installed and provide a declaration as to why your business qualifies.
Is charging your car at work a benefit in kind?
A benefit in kind is a ‘non-cash’ benefit that has a monetary value, as it has a monetary value the benefit in kind could be taxed in the same way as wages. Is workplace charging treated as a benefit in kind? No, the Benefit in Kind (BIK) rules for EVs are different to petrol vehicles and there is a tax exemption in place to ensure that workplace charging is not treated as a benefit in kind.
This exemption allows employees to benefit from workplace charging providing they are at their place of work and they are either driving or are a passenger in the vehicle being charged. The exemption will cover the electricity charge and the costs associated with the employer installing the charging station.
The final word on installing an EV charger in your workplace
Installing an EV charger in your workplace can bring about a huge amount of benefits. It not only provides convenience for your employees but also contributes to sustainability efforts and showcases your commitment to a greener future.
By offering workplace EV charging, you can attract and retain top talent, reduce business emissions, and lower transportation costs for both your employees and your business. Additionally, it positions your company as forward-thinking and environmentally conscious.
The workplace charging scheme and company car tax exemptions provide employers with a discounted means to install and run EV vehicles for staff. The provision of free charging units will resonate well with employees as a money-saving benefit that demonstrates the business cares about both its staff welfare and its carbon footprint.
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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.