motorway in the morning

Charging considerations for
fleet managers

Range anxiety

Reluctance to switch to electric can also come down to the myths that surround these vehicles. Range anxiety is a common fear with electric vehicles, with drivers worried they’d be stranded in the middle of nowhere without a charge. This is no longer such an issue, with more than half the electric cars on the market having a range of 200 miles plus. In time, it’s expected that technology and more charging infrastructure will render the term ‘range anxiety’ redundant. 

However, swapping the petrol pump for a plug does require a bit of a rethink. Ensuring the vehicle is sufficiently charged ahead of a journey or timing rest breaks to coincide with charging facilities does need to be part of route planning.

Similarly, while filling up the tank will always take roughly the same time, differences between chargers can make a battery top-up take anything from minutes to hours (see table). It can also take longer to charge when the temperature drops and charging will slow once the battery is above 80% full.

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In 10 minutes...
3kW slow charge Two mile range
7kW fast charge Five mile range
50kW rapid charge 33 mile range
150kW ultra-fast forecourt charge 100 mile range
350kW 217 mile range

Charging infrastructure

Concerns about the charging infrastructure can also delay electric vehicle adoption. While there are more charging points in the UK than petrol stations, a slow rollout of charging points can make anyone considering an electric vehicle nervous.

The government is keen to address these concerns and ensure that the infrastructure will keep pace with demand. Through its electric vehicle infrastructure strategy1, it has committed more than £1.6bn to support the charging infrastructure.

With this investment, it aims to have a minimum of 300,000 public chargers in place by 2030 and is supporting local authorities to plan and deliver infrastructure in their areas. It is also accelerating the rollout of high powered chargers on the strategic road network, with every motorway service area to have at least six of these by the end of 2023. These will enable drivers to top up in the time it takes to have a cup of coffee.

The government’s investment in this area is welcomed and will ensure that the charging infrastructure keeps up with demand for electric vehicles. But fleet managers should consider the available charging network before moving to electric vehicles. Some areas are not as well served as others, for example, at the end of September 2022, nearly 45% of charging points were located in Greater London and the South East. Wales has just 3.6% of charging points and Northern Ireland 1.0%. 2

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The UK's charging infrastructure
Locations 20,888
Devices 34,860
Connectors 57,613
New charging devices
in previous month
Source: Zap Map, figures to the end of September 2022
ev charging space

Workplace charging

Home is the top location for charging, with owners taking advantage of cheaper tariffs to top up their vehicles overnight. But, as more businesses introduce electric fleets, workplace charging is set to increase. 

Estimates from charging provider Pod Point suggest that the workplace will account for up to 30% of all UK electric vehicle charging, with employees taking advantage of onsite charging points to charge their own as well as company vehicles. 3

Installing workplace charging points can be an effective way to encourage more employees to switch to an electric vehicle. A study in the US found that an employee with access to workplace charging is six times more likely than the average worker to drive electric. 4

There are also financial incentives for employers to install charging points. The Workplace Charging Scheme is a government grant which cover up to 75% of the total costs of purchasing and installing charge points. Installation must be completed by authorised Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) installers and the grant is capped at £350 per charge point socket, and a maximum of 40 sockets per business.

Before installing workplace charging points, employers should consider the following:

  • How many charging points will be needed at each work site?
  • What speed of chargers are required?
  • Who has access? Company vehicle drivers? All employees? Visitors? Public?
  • Who is responsible for maintenance?
  • Are there any power capacity constraints at the site? A future power upgrade to accomodate chargers could be expensive.
It is also prudent to future proof any workplace charging provision. As demand grows and more points are required, it can be both costly and inconvenient to have to repeat all the civil engineering works required to cater for the additional charging points.

Business considerations

Driver considerations