A guide to the workplace EV charging scheme

For employees, charging at work can be a convenient way to recharge an electric vehicle (EV) whilst parked during the day. For businesses, the installation of a charge point will become increasingly important as a facility for employees and visitors, as well as companies that are considering an EV fleet in the future.

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20% of petrol stations now have EV charging

Its around a hundred years since the first fuel station was installed in the UK, at Aldermaston in Berkshire inNovember 1919. We understand that there are now about 8,400 (8,394 as of 2018 according to statista) across the UK. As you may have read in our previous article, there are now more electric than petrol stations in the UK, a ‘tipping point’ in the EV revolution  that number is now exceeded by the number of public places to charge electric vehicles.

According to ZapMap, more than 1,600 of these already provide DC fast-charging for EVs with two new DC fast-chargers coming online every day. Apparently, all of the motorway fuel stations in the UK are reported to now have charging stations installed, the majority of which provide a DC fast-charge option. To further encourage the take-up of electric vehicles in the uk, the Government is now looking to increase EV adoption with their recently proposed law requiring the installation of charge points for EVs in all new housing.

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New Gov requirements for EV charging points

As of July 2019, any government-funded charge points installed are required to be ‘smart’. These new requirements for charge points follow on from the UK Governments plans designed to reduce vehicular emissions and phase out the sales of conventionally fuelled vehicles as broached in their announcement The Road to Zero. So, by way of an explanation...

  • what is a charge point?
  • who does this effect?
  • what is the electric vehicle home charge scheme?
  • why do we need these new requirments
  • why OLEV approved equipment and installation?

What is a smart charge point?

A smart charge point is one that can:

  • receive, interpret, and react to a signal,
  • can be accessed remotely,
  • reduce the load of electric-vehicle charging on the electricity system by ‘ smart charging’ during off-peak hours, and
  • help keep the charging costs low for consumers.

Who does this effect?

The new requirements for smart electric charge points offer a good guideline for all new charge point installations. However, they directly affect any such points installed under the Electric Vehicle Home Charge Scheme.

Specifically, if you are installing a new charge point under this scheme, it needs to meet those requirements.

However, workplace charge points do not have to meet these requirements… yet.

What is the electric vehicle home charge scheme?

The Electric Vehicle Home Charge Scheme, also known as the OLEV grant), is an effort by the UK government to encourage people to ‘go zero-emission’. The grant is a discount off the purchase and installation of electric charge points in homes.

As registered owners, lessee, or primary users of an electric vehicle that is eligible, you can get 75%, and up to a maximum of £500 including VAT, off your charge point installation costs per vehicle.

Additionally, you can only claim a rebate on one charge point per qualifying vehicle.

How do you qualify for the OLEV grant?

If you want to take advantage of the OLEV grant, you must check all of these boxes:

  • Have acquired an eligible electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle from 1st October 2016 onwards
  • Have off-street parking
  • Installing a smart charge point approved by OLEV
  • Using an OLEV-approved charge point installer
  • Installation must be within 4 months of purchasing or becoming the registered driver of the electric vehicle

Is your vehicle eligible for the OLEV grant?

If you have recently purchased an electric or a plug-in hybrid vehicle, you might be eligible for the OLEV grant. If you have a fully battery-operated vehicle, you do qualify.

However, if you have a plug-in hybrid, the vehicle’s CO₂ emissions need to be below 75g/km to qualify.

Why do we need these new requirements?

The UK Government's Transport Minister explained that this new regulation was to ensure that the UK is ‘the best place in the world to build and own an electric vehicle’.

By ensuring low rates for charging, the government hopes to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles by more people.

Smart charging also future-proofs the country’s charging points. The new requirements will let homes benefit from lower tariffs as well as new technologies like rooftop solar and battery storage to reduce their bills.

The government is also proposing that all new residential buildings with off-road parking should have electric vehicle charge points. The proposal also says non-residential buildings should include requirements for the infrastructure for charge points.

Industry experts are pushing for the smart charge point requirement to extend to workplace charging as well.

why OLEV approved equipment and installation?

The idea behind smart charge-points is to keep charging costs (and the load on the electricity supply) low. Since home charging is the most convenient and low-cost option for most EV and PHEV owners, they would want to restrict the charging of their car to off-peak hours to keep tariffs low.

That’s what a smart charge point will manage – smart charging.

However, not all companies are authorised to install these charge points. Additionally, not all charge points meet the requirements set by the government. This is why OLEV has created a list of approved smart charge point installers as well as a list of approved smart charge point models.  These installers are authorised to install smart charge points and claim the grant on your behalf.

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