Commercial charge points
A guide to choosing electric vehicle charge points for the workplace or public places.
For employees, charging at work can be a convenient way to recharge an EV while parked during the day. For businesses, having charge points at the workplace will become increasingly important as a facility for employees and visitors. If you are planning to change your fleet to EVs, installing your own charge points is a must.
Customer, employee and visitor electric cars will have different charging connectivity needs, so you should install charge points which are compatible with the widest possible range of vehicles.
Research shows that on average the majority of current EV users are charging their vehicles for three hours every two days. With this type of charging behaviour, the use of suitably designed and rated outdoor 13amp sockets (slow chargers) may be adequate for your workplace. These have the advantage of being much cheaper to install and are unlikely to incur any additional reinforcement costs from Electricity North West.
Most workplace installations select wall-mounted units as they are typically cheaper to install. The alternative is a post, which are good on-street options but usually have higher installation costs due to the need to get the electricity to the post under the ground.
You may wish to consider installing innovative ‘smart’ charge points which can be remotely accessed and are capable of receiving, interpreting and reacting to a signal. Smart charging can help reduce your energy bills by restricting charging to periods when electricity rates are cheapest. This can also help reduce peak demand on the electricity network.
Things to consider
There are a number of things to consider before picking the EV charge point solution for your business.
- Do you need to install fast chargers? Current charging behaviour suggests slow chargers or a mix of slow and a few fast chargers may meet your needs.
- How many vehicles will need to use the charge points at the same time?
- How many charge points do you need?
- How long will drivers spend at your workplace and how long will they need to charge their vehicles?
- What time of day will your charge points be used?
- Do you wish to offer charging as a free service, or will employees have to pay?
- If you have a reverse parking policy at your workplace, consider where to fit your charge points as most EVs have a bonnet-mounted charge socket.
- If you plan to install charge points in publicly accessible areas, consider installing units that can prevent unwanted access using a key or radio-frequency identification (RFID) card.
- For larger vehicles such as vans and trucks consider the size, height, and access of the vehicle when planning the location of your charging infrastructure. Some vans, trucks and buses have side-mounted charge sockets which could restrict the use of wall-mounted charge points with limited cable lengths.
The cost of purchasing your charge point units and the cost for installation will vary greatly, depending on the number and types of unit you need. Most commercial installations will also incur a connection charge from Electricity North West depending on size and the number of charge points. Find out more about connecting your charge point to the electricity network.
The government’s Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) provides support towards the up-front costs of the purchase and installation of EV charge points, for eligible businesses, charities and public sector organisations. The grant provides up to £500 per socket, up to a maximum of 20 sockets, to be installed on dedicated off-street parking for employees, visitors or fleet use.
The On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS) provides grant funding for local authorities towards the cost of installing on-street residential charge points for plug-in electric vehicles.
You can find out more about the WCS, the ORCS and a list of approved installers on the Office for Low Emission Vehicles website.