Driving an Electric Car – is it Time to Make the Change?
Charging Your Car at Work – Electric Cars for the Commute
If your driving experience is centred on the commute to work, that daily grind can be much improved by an electric car. Not only does having an electric vehicle (EV) mean that you are likely to be sitting in a brand-new car with all the comfort that comes with, but also you are sitting there safe in the knowledge that you aren’t pumping harmful chemicals into the local streets – long periods of stop-start traffic are much more pleasant when you’re making no real impact on the world outside through either noise or pollution.
Many drivers find the ease of a silent electric car in traffic relaxing and with new ‘one-pedal driving’ solutions provided in some newer models like the Nissan Leaf, the effort of constant pedal pushing may well become a distant memory.
For many people, the main considerations when considering electric cars are those of range and charging – after all, if you can’t power the car there’s little point in it! Thankfully, each year brings improvements in that area with fast charging stations available across the UK and ranges of even the smaller vehicles topping an impressive 200 miles.
Charging your electric car for the commute
The vast majority of electric car users do their main charge at home overnight using a standard three-pin socket or their own installed homecharge unit. This makes a lot of sense as the car is ready for use in the morning and it is possible to take advantage of Economy 7 tariffs for a cheaper overall charge.
Compared to the cost of petrol or diesel, electricity is cheap, and a few pounds typically sees your car fill up overnight ready for the morning commute.
But there are times when you find yourself arriving to the office with your charge in the red, and then what should you do? Rush off to a car charging station in the lunch break or simply make use of the facilities before you?
Car charging at work – a nice perk or taking advantage?
Most business do not charge their employees for electricity use. Plug in your mobile phone and it’s unlikely you’ll have a supervisor on your back demanding a few pence out of your pay packet. Charging an electric car, however, drains a lot more than a typical smartphone and is also a lot less subtle.
It’s important that before you decide that you are going to make full advantage of the free-flowing electricity from your work that you check with your employer that it’s all OK.
Assuming you are given the go-ahead, and can park close enough to be able to trail a cable through the window, your car can be charging up while you work. It’ll be no faster than the overnight charge from home, but if you are in the building for the whole day, chances are good that you are leaving with a full car.
That’s while you are the only EV driver in your department. One shiny Nissan Leaf isn’t going to cause too much disruption, but what happens when several employees are needing to give their car a boost?
Looking to the future – car charging stations at the office
It might not be too long before more companies start making the decisions to install more powerful car changing points at the office, providing facilities for their staff.
Employers can make the simple upgrade to a dedicated charging unit, just as you might install at home. This can have some issues with compatibility as not all cars have standardised on a single type of connector but remains a viable option for most. It has the advantage that it is fast, can serve multiple vehicles and presents a report on the amount of electricity used.
The government workplace grant scheme
Keen to improve the charging facilities across the country, the government is providing grants to offset the cost of installing dedicated charge units at businesses, with £1000 off every two-socket station up to a maximum of 20 sockets. A maximum grant of £10,000 is therefore available, providing extensive facilities for employees to use with their electric vehicles.
Is charging a car at work a benefit-in-kind?
The Government does not class electricity as a fuel, meaning that there is no tax impact for employers if they offer electricity to their staff. Also, employees do not have to pay tax on any electricity supplied.
Should companies charge for the electricity?
At the moment, take up for electric cars is still relatively low, making the impact on a business allowing their employees to charge up at work a minor issue. However, once every member of staff starts coming in with their new electric cars, companies may have to introduce a policy to help offset the cost to them.
Where the car is a company vehicle, charging at work might well be the norm and you may be eligible to claim expenses for charging it elsewhere.
How do I get an electric vehicle for work?
At Maxxia we can help you with your electric vehicle or hybrid car leasing. We have a range of business contract hire leasing options for companies interested in providing the latest low-emission vehicles to employees – whether for single cars or for specialist fleet leasing.