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OLEV releases details of new workplace electric vehicle charging scheme

Businesses will be offerd £300 per socket to promote take-up of electric vehicles. Image: BMW

Businesses will be offerd £300 per socket to promote take-up of electric vehicles. Image: BMW

Businesses, charities and public authorities are to be offered £300 per installation of an electric vehicle (EV) charging socket across their sites under a new scheme to be launched later this month.

The Department for Transport (DfT) announced last month that £7.5 million would be made available to workplaces for the provision of installing chargers for use by staff and fleet vehicles.

The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) has today published details of the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS), which provides enough funding for 25,000 new installations across the UK.

It will operate as a voucher scheme, with applicants supplying details of where the installations will take place, declaration of the current need for charging or intent to encourage uptake of eligible EVs and conditions for use of the charge point.

Interested parties will be able to apply for the scheme from 21 November and businesses will have four months from the date of issue to complete the installations. Accredited installers will cover the cost and claim the grant back from OLEV after supplying proof of completion.

If the installation cannot be completed within the four month period as specified on the voucher the applicant will need to withdraw and reapply for a new voucher. Installations completed before a voucher has been issued will not be eligible

The voucher can be used for up to 20 charge points for each application, regardless of the number of sites, providing the applicant has dedicated off street parking for staff or fleet use only. Visitors to the business are not to use the charge points however it is unclear how this will be enforced.

Applicants must maintain the charge point for a minimum of three years and ensure measures are in place to provide usage data to OLEV, which will use the data for future policy development. The £7.5 million funding is currently confirmed until the end of the 2017/18 financial year, with OLEV planning to monitor the scheme and keeping funding under review when future budgets are agreed.

The news has been greeted with approval from charging companies with David Martell, chief executive of Chargemaster, calling it “a step in the right direction”.

“It's good news that the industry has been waiting for. It will psychologically encourage businesses to install workplace charging. A lot of the units we install are two socket - £600 effectively - so I think it will stimulate the market which is positive.

“A typical cost, depending on the installation, will be between £1-2,000 so £300 off that is worth having,” he said.

However, the decision not to allow visitors has not been met as favourably, with Martell pointing out that many drivers visiting Chargemaster often do so in EVs, which would not be the case if they were not available.

"I sure they'll look at this again I would've thought they ought to allow it for visitors parking as well. We've got charging points here and they're used very widely not just be staff but also by visitors as well,” he added.

A spokesperson for OLEV said the scheme is to support staff rather than sites for visitor parking. OLEV may ask for evidence, photographic or parking policy, that the chosen sites will be for staff use. 

OLEV has yet to publish a list approved installers or charge poinst under the scheme, but a spokesperson said this would be in place by 21 November.