As of October 2020 there were 164,100 pure-electric vehicles, and 373,600 plug-in models recorded on UK roads.
108,205 pure-electric cars were sold in the UK in 2020, with Alternatively Fuelled Vehicles (AFVs) making up one in 10 new UK car registrations. It was a strong performance – and will no doubt continue, especially with EV range improving and battery prices free-falling.
More EV drivers means more charge point infrastructure is required. And with that comes opportunity for businesses.
Why should businesses consider investing in EV infrastructure?
Two clear reasons for installing EV chargers that most businesses can’t and shouldn’t ignore are:
- It’s a new opportunity to attract desirable customers
- It’s evidence that your focused on supporting green business initiatives – an essential CSR component in today’s market
8 potential benefits of EV charging stations for business
1. Attract customers
EV drivers may stop for a few of hours to top up their car. Installing an EV charger has been found to help businesses improve footfall with this audience.
2. Put your business on the map
EV drivers rely on apps such as Zap-Map to locate charge points and if you wish, your business can be referenced publicly. With time on their hands, EV drivers dropping by to charge are likely to explore your business offering.
3. Offer something your competitors aren’t
A large percentage of physical shoppers will bring their car with them. Many EV drivers will likely want to have the option to charge while they shop. Therefore, offering charge points may mean you are chosen above competing businesses. And with many businesses struggling to compete with online offerings, it’s becoming more and more important to provide a superior shopping experience.
4. Increase customer connections
Smart EV charging can allow drivers to connect with a business if they stop by to charge, meaning businesses can gain further customer insights and even communicate deals and offers – increasing the likelihood of return visits.
5. Support a green business initiative by reducing your carbon footprint
The average CO2 emissions of cars sold in the UK rose for the third year in a row in 2019. And government figures show that transport accounted for 34% of UK CO2 emissions, with cars representing the majority. If the UK is to reach its net zero target by 2050, a large cross-industry effort is required to encourage wide-spread EV adoption. It’s important to be mindful of the intense scrutiny on how businesses are contributing to such efforts.
6. Back-up your brand values and CSR commitments
If your brand or CSR policies are focused around sustainability and green business initiatives, the absence of EV infrastructure will likely undermine such efforts, resulting in a lack of brand trust.
7. Attract and retain customers and employees
Having an EV infrastructure in place demonstrates a proactive approach to innovation and a modern culture – and may tip the balance in attracting top employees as well as retaining your workforce. And if you’re able to electrify your fleet, the government has now introduced tax cuts for employees using corporate EVs for personal use – a great perk for new and existing employees.
8. Change is coming and it pays to get ahead
With the introduction of low and ultra low emission zones, and an upcoming ban on new diesel and petrol cars and vans, the pressure on businesses to upgrade their fleet is increasing. And with the EV market growing, widespread adoption and the expectation for charging provisions in workplaces as standard is not too far off. Businesses can gain a competitive advantage by getting ahead, and can currently take advantage of existing workplace grant schemes for installing charge points or buying certain new EVs for their fleet.
How to get started with workplace EV charging solutions
Start by setting your goals
How many charge points would you need to adequately serve new EVs in your fleet, employees, visitors and/or customers? Establish what you currently have and what you want to aim for.
Goals can be about the number of charge points, new electric cars in your fleet, reduced climate impact, reduced local impact, or reduced nitrogen oxides and noise.
It may also be worth starting with a pilot scheme and scaling up.
Next, map the costs of your new infrastructure
There are many things to consider when it comes to mapping the costs, such as:
- The cost of the unit, which will vary based on the speed of charger you choose.
- If you are electrifying your fleet too, consider the long-term pay off and the grants available against the high purchase costs (e.g. it’s estimated that electric cars are 60% cheaper for maintenance and parts, and electricity itself is cheaper than petrol).
- Consider the grants available to you for charging units – you can claim a workplace EV charging grant (OZEV) which gives you £350 off per charge point socket up to a total of 40 sockets.
- Operating costs should be factored in (installation, maintenance etc.).
- You will need to decide on a cost model and whether or not you want to charge users to use your infrastructure.
Read our blog EV Charging for Business – What Are The Costs & ROI for more insights on costs involved.
Assess your site
Once you’re ready to find out more about EV charging for your business, you should contact a reputable charge point operator (such as Mer) to request a site visit before taking any further action.
The operator will be able to:
- Give you a quote for units and installation
- Identify ideal charger locations
- Find out if any capacity upgrades are required
- Discuss requirements for load balancing.
In order to provide such detail, an operator will need to assess the premises, the location of the meter, the maximum electrical capacity and the space capacity (the difference between actual load used and the maximum available).
The number and type of EVs using your charging infrastructure will impact the number and type of charge points needed.
It’s important to bear in mind that some EV models can only use slow chargers, but others can use fast and rapid. And yes, fast and rapid chargers will mean a quicker charge time, but they will also increase the electrical load.
It should also be considered that the number of vehicles being charged is closely linked to downtime – so specific business needs may mean you regularly have a large number of EVs charging for a long time all at once, meaning you will need more charge points – but they won’t necessarily need to be rapid chargers.
If your charge points will be used by employees, guests and customers, you may not know the EV model types. Instead, you may need to focus on estimating usage based on what you do know or can find out – i.e. no. of employees with EVs, current customer and guest footfall and estimations of how many of those may use EVs. The operator visiting you will be able to advise on the best type of charger(s) to accommodate most vehicle models. And at Mer we tend to recommend starting off with a few chargers in this instance and assessing usage before expanding.
Ensure your chargers are supplying 100% renewable energy
If you are investing in a sustainable EV infrastructure, it makes sense to ensure they are powered by sustainable energy. There are a growing number of energy suppliers out there that can supply you with 100% renewable energy – one of which is Bryt, Statkraft energy business and Mer’s sister company which provides zero carbon, 100% renewable energy solely from hydro, solar and wind.