Where can you charge your van?
Where you charge your van will depend on a number of factors, such as how many vans you have in your fleet and where the vans are kept overnight. If you have a large number of vans at a depot then installing dedicated charging equipment will give you security and reliability. If you own a small number of vans that are kept at an employee's home, then using local public charging facilities (which are often free) or installing a fast charger at the employee's residence may be more cost-effective.
A £35m scheme called 'Go Ultra Low' has provided funding to a number of cities to support the uptake of electric vehicles in the form of discounted or free charging facilities and specialist privileges. It is also worth investigating whether becoming a member of a regional charging scheme which allows you access to charging local charging points would be beneficial to your organisation.
Private charging points
Located at a depot, business premises or driver’s home, with electricity billed normally as part of the sites electricity supply. Privately owned charge points require a nearby grid connection. For most van operators, fast chargers are installed, because rapid points are only cost effective with a larger fleet and slow chargers are generally only installed where there is no three phase grid connection. A slow or fast charger is often supplied (and fitted) as part of the package when purchasing the vehicle, and they can also be purchased and fitted relatively cheaply and easily by trained electricians. Vehicles can be slow charged from standard wall plugs and blue commando sockets, however dedicated vehicle charge points should be used in preference for safety reasons.
Private charge points can be installed at a driver’s home at a substantially discounted rate or even free of charge if the driver of the van is the primary user. A 75% grant is available to install a home charge point (capped at £700) which is sometimes supplemented by charge point suppliers in partnership with vehicle dealerships so the cost to the operator is even lower.
Cost savings may be possible if two or more electric vans share a single charge point to charge at different times if operational requirements allow.
Public charge points
The Government is actively increasing the number of publically available electric vehicle charging points across the UK to making EV charging easier and more accessible for driver. There are currently a total of 8397 (ZapMap, June 2015) vehicle charging points nationwide. Zap Map shows the location and types of EV charging points in the UK.
At present most towns and cities have some slow and fast chargers, and larger cities and London have an extensive network. The majority of public charge points are located with parking spaces and van operators are likely to find on-street parking spaces and supermarkets more useful than those in multi-story car parks. Most rapid chargers are located in in motorway service stations, and there are some in inner city locations.
Public charge points systems are owned and managed by a number of different organisations, each with an individual access system. This may mean registering with more than one service, using multiple access cards. The main national charging networks in the UK include: Polar Chargemaster, Charge your Car, Ecotricity (for green electricity), Pod point and Zero Carbon World (with free installation for businesses with public parking). These provide charge points in most regions so members can access these whatever part of the country they are driving.
In addition there are the regional schemes in the UK, which overlap with the national networks.