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Infrastructure | Workplace

How to offer electric car charging at the workplace

March 14, 2022 | Wesley van Barlingen and Callum Biggins

Across the world, the electric vehicle (EV) market is booming, with 2021 having had the highest annual growth since 2012. With electric cars now accounting for 8.3 percent of the global vehicle market, we are unquestionably shifting towards electric mobility; and workplaces are no exception.

As more employees begin returning to work, they expect amenities that meet their charging needs. According to our research, 40 percent of current electric car drivers already charge their vehicle at the office and one out of five would love to do so if the option was available.

For employees looking to boost their employee engagement programs, electric car charging can be an appealing opportunity. However, because electric mobility is a completely new concept for many offices, implementing a successful charging strategy can seem quite confusing. This article will guide you through some of the most common workplace options to help you identify the electric car charging business model that’s right for you.

Electric cars will become increasingly popular amongst employees

Many organisations offer a company car to their employees and are looking into electrifying their fleet as a more sustainable option. But often, getting access to a company car depends on your function, and offering company cars is not a standard at every company. So, even if your workplace doesn’t have a fleet of its own, it can still make sense to install electric car charging stations at your workplace.

As people increasingly switch to electric mobility, more of your employees will inevitably start to also drive electric cars. Therefore, offering electric car charging at your workplace could very well help attract new talent and boost employee satisfaction.

One of the main appeals of an electric car is the ability to charge where and when you park, saving many trips to the petrol station. Whilst for many, this will be at home, workplaces are amongst the most desired locations for electric car drivers to charge their vehicle.

On top of that, some employees, especially those in urban areas, might not have access to a charger at home. For these employees, it’s harder to even consider getting an electric car because they have to rely entirely on public charging infrastructure. Therefore, the opportunity to charge at work may be the deciding factor behind switching to electric mobility or not.

An employee of an office plugging in his car for a charging session.

Business models for electric car charging at the workplace

Broadly speaking—and depending on the needs and goals of the company—there are two main electric car charging approaches suitable for the workplace. The first alternative is to offer electric car charging as a complimentary service, for example, as an employee benefit. Under this model, charging is provided for free to employees or other eligible users.

The other alternative is to offer paid electric car charging. In this case, users pay to charge their vehicles. The fees and tariffs can differ based on the type of user. For example, employees could benefit from a discounted rate, whilst customers and visitors could pay full price. This method has the benefit of generating additional revenue for the company, and can open up the charging infrastructure to customers or visitors. 

While each model has its advantages and disadvantages, which model is right for your organisation will depend on several factors. Let’s dive a little deeper into the two most common electric car charging business models for the workplace.

1. Offer electric car charging at the workplace as an employee benefit

An employee benefit is any additional compensation offered by a company to their employees on top of their salary. Benefits are a crucial factor in attracting and retaining top talent, and can help a company stand out from its competitors in the eyes of job applicants. Indeed, a Glassdoor survey found that 79 percent of employees would prefer new or additional benefits instead of a pay raise.

On the other hand, not offering benefits—or offering insufficient ones—can put a company at a considerable disadvantage. For example, 49 percent of employees will start looking for a new job within 12 months if they’re dissatisfied with the benefits offered. Decisions like these don’t come cheap; research shows that it can cost a company up to 400 percent of an employee’s annual salary to replace a high-level employee who leaves their role.

Of course, offering free electric car charging to your employees is not the sole solution to employee happiness, nor is it the only employee benefit your organisation should consider, but it might be the benefit that your employees will truly appreciate.

Did you know that over 58 percent of employees strongly consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when choosing where to work? If anything, the clear growth of EV adoption over the last few years has come hand-in-hand with increasing environmental awareness; approximately two in three (potential) EV drivers think electric cars are part of the solution to fight climate change.

Happy colleagues during a meeting seemingly not worrying about a lack of employee benefits.

2. Use electric car charging at the workplace to generate revenue

Whilst offering electric car charging as an employee benefit has its advantages, another approach is to offer charging as a paid service and even open up the stations for use by third parties. Doing so can add an additional revenue stream to the company and compensate for the price of electricity used.

Depending on the type of business and location, installing publicly-accessible electric car chargers can put a business ‘on the map’ by directing electric car drivers to them, and potentially cross-selling or upselling their other offerings while their vehicle charges. Beyond guests and customers paying for charger use, companies can also offer a discounted fee for employees who want to charge their vehicles, which can still boost employee satisfaction.

Different fees could be suited, depending on your circumstances: 

  • One option is to charge users a flat rate per hour or per day, regardless of the amount of electricity consumed. 
  • Alternatively, users can be charged based on their energy usage, ensuring everyone pays their share.

These two approaches can also be combined by charging a fixed initial activation fee and having users pay for the amount of electricity used. In any of these cases, employees can benefit from a discounted rate compared to visitors, or you could even set maximum time slots or available electricity for free charging.

Whether electric car charging is used to generate revenue or as an employee benefit, there are some considerations businesses need to take when installing charging infrastructure.

If multiple user groups are involved, the charger needs to be able to accept different payment methods, settings, and you might want to differentiate the service based on the time of day, user, or even function. This can quickly lead to growing complexity that is challenging to manage manually; in most cases, charging management software is recommended to handle all these transactions hassle-free.

A businessman holding a smartphone to start his EV charging session.

Charging management software

In today’s digital age, access to data and insights is crucial for good decision-making. Many modern charging stations are more than just a piece of hardware and offer connectivity to software management systems. A good charging management software allows you to easily manage your assets, set different charging tariffs, and learn from driver behaviour. For example, it allows businesses to easily set custom fees for different users, ranging from visitors to employees, or even distinguishing between full-time and part-time employees.

Charging management software also helps increase energy efficiency by optimising consumption. Smart functionalities, such as peak shaving and dynamic load balancing, ensure that the charging station never pulls more than the set current from the grid and that the available capacity is intelligently distributed to all charging stations.

When it comes to invoicing, smart charging software can ensure costs are easily and accurately attributed to the right stakeholders. By automating payment and reimbursement, this solution cuts out manual accounting work and ensures a smooth invoicing process regardless of the user.

Finally, smart charging management software can streamline reporting, easily generating actionable insights into charger status, charging patterns, and energy consumption, helping companies make more informed business decisions and optimise their energy efficiency.

A mockup of a laptop showing charging management software and a smartphone showing a charging map.

Offering electric car charging serves a rapidly growing need

As EV adoption grows, consumers mindsets are charging, with almost half of all drivers considering buying an electric car. Workplaces need to keep up with this trend and offer employees relevant and varied benefits: 40 percent of employees expect benefit packages tailored to their individual needs and circumstances. Today, electric car charging is an excellent way to satisfy existing employees, attract new talent, or even add an additional revenue stream.

an office space surrounded by planted trees and bushes.

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