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Infrastructure | Workplace | business

How to offer EV charging at the workplace

March 4, 2022 | Wesley van Barlingen

Across the world, the electric vehicle (EV) market is booming, with 2021 having had the highest annual growth since 2012. With EVs now accounting for 8.3 percent of the global car 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 changing needs. According to our research, 40 percent of current EV drivers already charge their vehicle at the office and one out of five would love to do so if the option was available.

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

More and more of your employees will start driving electric cars

Many organizations 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 EV charging stations at your facility.

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

One of the main appeals of an EV is the ability to charge where and when you park, saving the trip to a gas station. While for many, this will be at home, workplaces are amongst the most desired locations for EV drivers to charge their vehicle.

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

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 EV because they have to rely entirely on public charging infrastructure, the opportunity to charge at work may be the reason to switch to electric mobility.

EV charging business models for workplace

Broadly speaking—and depending on the needs and goals of the company—there are two main EV charging approaches suitable for the workplace. The first alternative is to offer EV 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 EV 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, while 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 drawbacks, which is right for your organization will depend on several factors. Let’s dive a little deeper into the two most common EV charging business models for the workplace.

1. Offer EV 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 U.S. 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.

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

Of course, offering free EV charging to your employees is not the sole solution to employee happiness, nor is it the only employee benefit your organization should consider, but it might be the benefit 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 gone 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.

2. Use EV charging at the workplace to generate revenue

While offering EV 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 EV chargers can put a business “on the map”, by directing EV 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.

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

Different tariffs 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 then 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.

An overview of elements needed to estimate the gross revenue one can make from a charging session. It shows the average energy usage per charging session ( 25 kWh), Energy cost per kWh ($0.10), Marked-up price you charge the driver per kWh ($0.45), and the estimated gross revenue per charging session ($11.25). A disclaimer below the table reads:  Data provided above is an estimation based on average market usage and changes depending on the region.

Whether EV charging is used to generate revenue or as an employee benefit, there are some considerations businesses need to take when installing charging infrastructure. Especially if multiple user groups are involved, the charger needs to be able to accept different payment methods or settings, and you might want to differentiate the service based on 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.

Charging management system 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 behavior. 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.

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

Charging management software also helps increase energy efficiency by optimizing 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 optimize their energy efficiency.

an office space surrounded by planted trees and bushes.

Offering EV charging serves a rapidly growing need

As EV adoption grows, consumers’ mindset is changing, with almost half of 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, EV charging is an excellent way to satisfy existing employees, attract new talent, or even add an additional revenue stream.

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