Government plans grant for workplace charging
31 May 2016
Author: Jack Carfrae
The Government is expected to introduce a grant for workplace charging points for electric vehicles this summer.
"We have been informed that there is likely to be a workplace charging grant established this summer by the Government," said David Martell, CEO of charging point manufacturer and operator Chargemaster.
"I'm told there will be an announcement in July," he added. "It hasn't been decided exactly how much the grant will be, but certainly there will be support by the Government for putting in charging points in work premises, which is particularly relevant to fleets."
Details of the scheme, such as the amount of funding available and the length of time for which it will run, have yet to be revealed. However, should it go ahead it would mark an end to the current lack of Government support for business EV charging points.
At present, the Government does not offer a grant or financial backing for businesses wishing to install charge points at their premises, but discounts are available for domestic units.
Martell added the grant would be available via charging specialists: "It will be offered by a number of suppliers [and] we can guide people through the application - in fact, we can complete the application for them. We expect to do quite a large number of workplace units when such a grant is in place."
A spokesman for the Department for Transport and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles did not confirm plans for the grant but said fleets should "watch this space. Fitting charge points in workplace car parks is a huge opportunity. We know there is an appetite out there from businesses".
Speaking at the Chargemaster Forum in December 2015, both Martell and Michael Hurwitz, director of energy, technology and international at the Department for Transport, expressed scepticism at the possibility of a such a grant, citing the need for an exemption to European state aid rules to give grants to businesses.
"We recognise it's a barrier. We know we have more to do with workplace parking in Government," said Hurwitz at the time. However, he added that there was an opportunity to appeal for exemption for a workplace charging grant and said it could be revisited by the Government, although it would be "a long-winded process that would need to prove social and environmental benefits".
Wayne Millward, fleet consultant at Arval, told BusinessCar: "I think [a grant] would encourage take-up a lot more. A lot of companies are saying 'it doesn't cost that much to put a charging point in', but when they look at the electric infrastructure in their building and they've got to run a cable for something like 200m to get the power where they need it - that's where the cost is. Anything that would subsidise that action would be a massive benefit."