Danny Morgan: Employers need to take a comprehensive approach to electric cars

The electric car ball is well and truly rolling.

Fleets and businesses have been behind the initial spike in electric vehicle (EV) demand thanks to generous grants and tax incentives that meant a Tesla was more cost-effective than a BMW; the traditional darling of the company car scene.

Now, though, EV sales are being driven by just about everybody, including employees. Many organisations have looked to salary sacrifice arrangements to help their staff afford the electric car transition; after all, any brand-new car is a sizeable investment, so any financial assistance is unsurprisingly snapped up.

It is brilliant to see so many organisations offering rewards, benefits and schemes to encourage their staff to get into a vehicle with zero tailpipe emissions, not to mention the added benefit of the employer reducing its carbon footprint and environmental impact as a result.

However, a crucial piece of the jigsaw is missing: charging.

It is often overlooked, but how and where staff are going to charge their brand-new electric cars is a key part of the transition.

In fact, in our experience as a national installer, the car itself is the easy bit. It is the new way of refuelling said vehicle that throws people off.

Are staff charging at home? Which charger do they need, and does it fit? How do they find a reputable installer? Will they be switching to a 100% renewable energy tariff with off-peak overnight pricing to further lower the charging cost of their EV?

If an employer’s assistance goes no further than a salary sacrifice arrangement or other vehicle benefit, then it runs the risk of its employees getting off to a frustrating and stressful start to EV charging and zero-emissions driving.

With the appropriate help and guidance, however, home EV charging becomes a low-cost and convenient perk of electric car ownership.

So, what should employers do?

Engage with the EV lifestyle

It is really important to engage and educate employees on living with an electric car. It is not as daunting as it sounds, but there are some key points to cover to ensure the EV journey is a smooth one.

Employers could consider creating some content on living with an EV for those staff interested in going electric. Cover topics such as the driving experience, regenerative braking, EV friendly energy tariffs, public charging and, of course, home charging.

Why stop at the car? If an employer has made the decision to encourage staff to go electric, then it is vital to include home charging in this equation.

Go the extra mile, otherwise it is a bit like buying someone a golf club membership but then finding out they have no clubs or shoes.

Home charging makes living with an EV easy and, importantly, much cheaper as a dedicated charge point enables drivers to take advantage of electric car energy tariffs.

An employer could consider creating its very own EV “starter pack” by bundling in the home charge point installation with the vehicle benefits scheme.

Or partner with an installer that can take care of the process and handle frequently asked questions, so it does not have to.

Either way, do not leave employees to figure out the charging conundrum on their own.

Danny Morgan is editor at Smart Home Charge