There are more than 780,000 fully electric cars on UK roads today 1 and electric vehicle (EV) take-up is increasing.
That’s the good news for a greener future.
But can the UK charging infrastructure cope with the rising demand? Judging by regular media headlines, EV drivers are struggling with insufficient public charge points which is creating range anxiety and potentially hampering EV adoption. Is this really the case? What is the reality and what are the implications for fleets?
UK charging points are on the increase
The first thing to remember is that, if you have chargers at home or in the workplace, there's no more having to find a fuel filling station,with EV drivers having the luxury of 'filling up' overnight, starting each day with a 'full tank'.
That's fine, of course, if your drivers have the ability to charge at home. But what if they need to charge on the road? Here, the good news -despite the headlines - is that the number of charge points is growing, and it's growing rapidly.
According to Zapmap, the UK’s leading EV mapping provider, there are currently 43,626 electric vehicle UK charging points across 25,413 charging locations. This represents a 38% uplift in the total number of charging devices in the last 12 months - and for the first time the number of UK charging locations has surpassed the number of petrol stations.2
But is it enough? A recent Department for Transport report showed a record number of electric vehicles per public charging point and the RAC is urging the government to introduce annual installation targets to make it easier for operators to install new charging hubs 3
There is clearly more to do, so what is the UK government doing to prepare the country for the 2030 ban onsales of new petrol and diesel cars?
Government infrastructure funding and workplace grants
The government has created a framework – the EV infrastructure strategy - and significant funds have been allocated to support the move to electric with the total funding for grants and infrastructure standing at £2.5 billion4.
A core part of the government strategy is to ensure a minimum of 300,000 public chargers are available by 20305. To meet this objective, funding schemes have been developed which include grants for workplaces, homes and on street charging. These include the Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) and the On street Residential Charge point Scheme (ORCS) to equip local authorities to scale-up their infrastructure. Of particular interest for fleets are the workplace schemes:
- EV infrastructure grant for staff and fleets – aimed at small to medium enterprises (SMEs)
- Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) – open to registered businesses, charities and public sector organisations
For fleets wanting further information on the grants available to businesses, and how they can claim the grants, there is a wide range of guidance at: Government grants for low emission vehicles.
Managing fleet EV charging
Whilst the public and private investment in infrastructure is critical, what else can businesses and fleet managers do to facilitate the transition to zero-tailpipe emission vehicles?
Business options for employee charging
To make charging easy for employees and boost EV adoption, businesses could consider providing subsidised or free charging support, such as:
- Installation of workplace charging
- Home charging resource for commercial vehicle drivers
- Provision of home charge points
- Support with offsite charging costs
- Charging solutions for employees without a driveway
- Advice on best practice charging
The move to electric represents a fundamental shift for both fleet managers and drivers so, what should be on the fleet manager’s to-do list?
- Charging considerations for the fleet manager
- Driver education - one of the biggest challenges is to educate drivers to ensure they understand how and where to charge efficiently
- Review fleet fuel budgets and reimbursement - EVs create a significant reductionin fuel costs - although the savings will be more significant when the vehicle ispredominantly charged at home or at work6. Communication of Advisory Electric Rates (AERs) which remained static at 9 pence per mile in the June update from HMRC7.
- Regional charging distribution is not equal yet 8 – ensure the public charger coverage is sufficient for your business needs
- Commercial vehicle charging - advance journey planning is particularly important for electric commercial vehicles regularly travelling long distances – plotting routes with rapid chargers is important to reduce vehicle down time.
EV charging in practice – the Gofor way
Gofor customers Penderyn Distillery and Mowi Scotland have recently made great strides in their electrification journeys, including both companies investing in onsite charging infrastructure to support their employees.
Penderyn Distillery, the home of the Welsh Whisky Company, appointed Gofor to manage its new electric vehicle salary sacrifice scheme. As part of embedding the new scheme, Penderyn has installed free on-site EV charging for its staff.
Stephen David, Chief Executive of Penderyn Distillery, explains the thinking.
‘I’m excited that we are partnering with Gofor inbringing this additional benefit to our team – we are committed to encouraging green driving but providing electric charging is only the first step. This salary sacrifice scheme means all our employees can not only personally benefit but help us deliver on our net zero ambition.’
Gofor is managing the transition to a combined electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle fleet for Mowi Scotland– Mowi is one of the largest seafood companies in the world. The company is now undertaking the installation of workplace charging at its sites - facilitated by Gofor. Originally deploying 7kw charge points, Mowi is now looking to introduce more rapid charging to its business. Ian Barrett, Purchasing Manager for Mowi, says:
‘We now have e-vehicle charging points at our head office in Fort William as well as our salmon hatcheries at Lochailort and Invermoriston – I can see from my office window the benefit our people are already getting from this! Our plan is to expand these charging points a tour locations across the Highlands and Islands.’
Keen to understand more about the move to electric?
At Gofor, we have extensive experience of the of the transition to electric so we are able to support you with every aspect - from implementing a salary sacrifice scheme through to our simple, five step framework to EV transition, covering EV test drives, best practice adoption and charge point installation.