A guide to electric car charging points for business

Thousands of drivers are making the switch to electric cars and benefiting from low running costs and reliable motoring.

With almost 300,000 electric models on UK roads at the end of April 2020, plug-in models now make up over a third of the total new car registrations here, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Even despite the Coronavirus lockdown, registrations for electric cars were up 120 per cent from January to March, on the same period of 2019.

There must be a high cost associated with boosting your business in this way though,right? Nah. Electric vehicles (EV) are now more affordable than ever and there are plenty of government grants available to whack the cost right down.

Here, we take a closer look at electric car charging points for business and more reasons why your company could benefit from making the switch.

What types of electric vehicle charging are there? 

Let’s get down to basics. If you’re new to the world of electric cars there are three types of charging – slow, fast and rapid. These terms refer to the charging speeds (power outputs) available to charge an electric car in kilowatts. (kW)

  • Slow – These units cover chargers between 3kW and 6kW and are usually used to charge overnight over night.A pure EV could take up to 12 hours to charge, while a PHEV could take up to 4.
  • Fast – These provide power from 7 kW to 22 kW, which typically fully charge an EV in 3-4 hours. The most common public charge point found in the UK is a 7 kW untethered Type 2 inlet.
  • Rapid – When you thought rapid was quick, there’s also ultra-rapid. Ultra-rapid charge at 100+kW and are direct current (DC) only. Rapid chargers power at 50k DC. 

Charging on public networks

There are many EV charging networks, some offering national coverage. Regional networks cover larger areas such as London and Scotland. These tend to be operated or have links with national networks. These can be used with a national account, making it useful to large companies.

Paying to charge

There are many EV points that are free to use but some do require payment. Contactless payments are becoming more common, especially on rapid charge points.

When there is a price to pay, the cost usually comprises the energy used in pence per kWh though you can also find a price per charging time. 

How to charge an EV at home

Employees with company cars can charge their motors at home, thanks to government grants for installing a home charge point.

Lots of plug-in car manufacturers do deals with charge point suppliers, and in some cases provide a free home charge point as part of a new car purchase.

In most cases, home-based charging requires off-street parking to avoid trailing cables across public footpaths and public areas. 

Charging electric vehicles at work 

Many workplaces are installing their own electric car charging points for business use.

EV charging units for use by employees and visitors. This is a great idea as cars left unused in the staff car park during the day can charge while the employee is working.

Businesses can request double sockets so that two cars can be charged at once. Higher power units enable plug-in company fleets to charge during the working day to increase the number of business miles driven in the day without having to use more expensive charge points on national networks.

Company owners could opt to offer their staff charging for free or charge a fee. Many go for zero cost as it makes for a better incentive to drive EVs. 

More reasons to go electric

  • You can expect today’s EVs to cover up to 300 miles on one charge. 
  • All-electric cars are exempt from paying the London Congestion Charge.
  • Electric cars are already more sustainable than petrol and diesels with an internal combustion engine (ICE).
  • Employees driving a company car on business can claim 4p per mile