Electric vehicles (EVs) are the only new vehicles that will be sold from 2030, and to accommodate this we are seeing many of our corporate clients adjusting their procurement to ensure that they will have time and funds to incorporate EVs into their fleet, enabling drivers time to acclimatise to electric models and for a business charging infrastructure to be set up.
We know from our work in the industry that two of the biggest challenges businesses face from their drivers are concerns about the range and on how they’ll charge the vehicle.
This guide is designed to look at EV charging from a business and fleet manager perspective, helping you to understand how charging an EV works, as well as the concerns your drivers might have and how you can address them. We have a separate guide to charging for drivers which you can see here.
We’ve also got a guide for you and another for your drivers that looks at their concerns over mileage range.
Understanding EV Chargers
We know that EV chargers can seem complex and intimidating if you’ve never looked at one before which is why we think it’s important to give a general overview of chargers and how they work.
In the UK you will see tethered and untethered units. Tethered units are ones that have a charging cable permanently attached to them, so drivers just park and plug the wire into their car charging point. Untethered units do not have a cable attached and so drivers will need to use the appropriate charging cable in their vehicle and plug this into the unit and their car.
There are two types of current - alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC).
With DCs the electricity can only flow in one direction whereas in an AC the flow can change direction. This means that a system that needs to accept and provide electricity will run on an AC current, so electricity from the UK’s national grid will be on an AC current. However rechargeable batteries, like those used in an EV can only accept power in a DC current form. What this means is that in order to charge an EV the current needs to be converted from AC to DC. This will be converted either in the charger before the electricity is provided to the vehicle or the car itself will convert the current before the energy is stored in the battery.
You will usually find that UK three-pin plug, Commando, Type 1 and Type 2 will have AC connectors while CHAdeMO, CCS and Tesla’s supercharge are DC connectors.
EV Charging Connectors
There are a number of different connection points a charger might come with the most common of which you can see below:
The type a vehicle will have and be compatible with will vary depending on the manufacturer, country of origin and production, the speed of charging the vehicle can accept, the charging unit being used, and more.
You will usually find that UK three-pin plug, Commando, Type 1, and Type 2 will have AC connectors while CHAdeMO, CCS, and Tesla’s supercharge are DC connectors.
Vehicles are normally supplied with the cables necessary to charge them and these will be compatible with a number of chargers on the public network as there are chargers of all types.
EV Charging Speeds
In the UK there are three speeds of chargers: rapid, fast and slow.
This is the fastest category of chargers that are available for EVs and includes ultra-rapid chargers under the definition.
Rapid chargers can provide the highest level of power with up to 40 kW via AC charging, 50 kW via DC charging and over 100 kW via DC ultra-rapid charging.
The majority of units will be tethered, and you will usually find them at service stations as that’s where drivers usually need to get back on the road as quickly as possible.
Drivers should be aware that not all vehicles are able to accept rapid charging.
The most common speed of charging currently is fast.
Fast chargers can offer up to 25 kW of power though they usually offer seven or 22 kW.
You will see fast chargers on the public network, at supermarkets, carparks, fuel stations, and on street units as well as them being an option for home and workplace.
Some older models might not be able to receive charge at the speed fast chargers are capable of providing but the flow will be restricted to allow charging at a safe level.
The lowest speed of charging is three to six kW of energy.
You’ll usually find a slow charger on lamp posts or office / home units that don’t have the infrastructure or money for faster units, or the older public network chargers.
Using the three-pin plug will also charge the vehicle at a slow speed, though this will usually be much slower than the other chargers. We do not advise using this as a long-term charging method because of the time it takes to charge and inconvenience it causes.
EV Charging Locations
There are three main locations for chargers:
Most drivers will use a combination of the three, so we think it’s important that you know a little bit about all the options available to them.
Installing Workplace EV Chargers
Five days a week all of us spend around eight hours of our time at work, which is a large portion of the day. The amount of time that your employees spend at their workplace makes it the ideal place for them to charge an EV, especially if they are unable to have a home unit installed.
If you have private car parks for your business, or can work with the provider of your car parks, then you should explore the option of having charging points installed.
There are currently grants available to help with the cost of installation from the Office of Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV).
The grant will be capped at 75 per cent of the charger up to £350 per socket and limited to 40 sockets per company. This may not cover the full cost of installation depending on the units you choose and the number of sites you have to install them over.
A grant will be issued in the form of a voucher for the business to use within six months of the date of issue allowing time to arrange and install the units.
For more information on the scheme click here to visit the government’s full guidance.
There are added benefits to having EV chargers at work as well, which include reducing your business’ total emissions, reducing pollution in your local area, allows you to track the use and cost of EVs so you can see the real-world savings compared to the fuel bill you get from petrol / diesel engines.
Why Should My Business Install EV Charging Stations?
Installing workplace chargers is a great way to encourage your company drivers to make the switch to electric models, especially when paired with the low BIK rates they can benefit from. This will reduce your business' overall emissions and help you provide drivers who are unable to have a home charger installed with an option that makes EVs viable for them.
We've already mentioned that there are currently grants available for you to help with the cost of installation and as we get closer to the ban on the sale of new polluting vehicles it's expected that this support will reduce and change, as the home charger one has.
The most popular method of charging that we see drivers opt for is via a home charging unit.
Charging at home comes with a number of benefits, it’s a convenient location where you’re not required to occupy yourself whilst the vehicle charges, a place where you regularly spend extended periods of time, you can benefit from specific EV electricity rates or flash periods of low-cost electricity for charging and much more.
With all of this in mind, it’s little wonder that drivers choose to have a home charging unit installed, especially as they can still take advantage of the government scheme to help with the cost of installation provided certain conditions are met.
In order to have a home charging unit installed drivers will need to have off-road parking, suitable existing infrastructure, and permission of the homeowner if they are in a rental property.
If they do not meet these requirements then they might want to speak to their local authority about on-street units.
These offer drivers the same ability to charge whilst at home when they are not able to install a unit onto their property.
The third type of charger that is available is one on the public charging network. As the UK shifts towards EVs as the standard we are seeing the network expand rapidly. This rapid growth is needed, if not even faster, to keep up with the increasing demand that is building and only going to grow as more drivers switch to an EV.
Even if drivers have the use of a home or workplace unit there will be times that they need to use a public charger and so we think it’s important that you make them aware that there are a wide number of public units available that are simple and straightforward to use.
They can also use apps like Zap Maps that will show chargers near them and allow them to plan a route with convenient charging points.
What Are the Most Common Charging Questions?
Hopefully the above guide has helped give you an understanding of how EV charging works so that you feel you can alleviate some of the concerns that your drivers might have over taking an EV company car.
We also wanted to answer some of the most common questions we receive from drivers so that you have the answers to hand as well.
How does an EV charger work?
An EV charger takes electricity from the national grid and uses this to charge the rechargeable battery in your vehicle.
They are easy to use and it is simply a case of connecting the cable to your charging point.
How long will charging an EV take?
This answer will depend on the charger you use and the speed of energy it can carry as well as your car’s receiving capability.
We can take a look at individual models and their charging times when deciding what EV would be the best option for your next company car if that helps you decide.
Where can you charge an EV?
There’s a number of different places that you can charge an EV so you shouldn’t worry about not being able to find a charger.
The most common options are at home, at work and using a public charger when you need to. We’ve looked at each of these options in depth here (LINK) so you can learn more about them and understand how each charging location will fit into your life.
When’s the best time to charge?
The best time to charge your vehicle depends on the type of charger you are using and your lifestyle.
Some drivers find the best time is to charge their vehicle overnight at home, others prefer to charge up during the day at work or on a public charger as they run errands. There are also times when electricity providers have cheaper electricity rates for EV chargers that you might want to take advantage of.
Can I get a charger at home?
Yes, you can have a home charging unit installed and there is currently a government grant that could help you with the cost of installing this.
For more information get in touch with us on 01722 322 888 and as an official partner of Ohme we’ll be able to advise.
Can I Install My Own EV Charging Point?
Yes, you can have a home charger installed if you would like your own charger.
There are grants available to support landlords and drivers living in a flat but the availability of these may change in the future.
The cost of a home charger varies depending on what speed of charger you need, whether it is tethered or untethered, capable of smart charging and how much work is needed to connect the unit to the existing infrastructure.
Where Is My Nearest EV Charging Station?
There are a number of different websites and apps like Zap Map where you can get live updates on available chargers in your area as well as planning routes based on public chargers if you need a charging break on longer journeys.
The public network of EV charging stations is continuing to expand rapidly and we're seeing more units in residential areas to help drivers who are unable to have a home charger installed so your closest charger is getting closer and closer.