The EV boom is already happening across the world and is only set to accelerate with time. The demand for EV chargers, at peoples’ homes and workplaces and in public spaces, will also concomitantly grow as we move into the 2020s. Recognizing this growing need, a lot of businesses are already investing in installing EV chargers for their employees, future-proofing themselves for the coming electrification. This makes sense: aside from boosting employee retention and attraction, workplaces that invest in EV chargers can also boost their reputation as an eco-conscious, socially responsible brand. Once a company has completed installation though, the whole business of maintaining and regulating the use of the chargers begins: in other words, the time comes for an EV charging policy to be put in place. Yet, many companies feel a bit lost when it comes to EV workplace charging policies or haven’t even thought about the fact that they need one. Having never installed EV chargers before, they don’t know where to start. So, we’ve put together a complete guide to help you to create the best EV charging policy for your workplace in no time at all:
What is a Workplace EV Charging Policy and Why Do You Need One?
A workplace EV charging policy is a set of guidelines that regulate how EV charging points located on workplace premises can be used. They lay out the rules for employees’ use of workplace charging points and any visitors who may also have access to them. Workplaces that already have or are thinking of installing EV charging points on their premises need to have an EV charging policy. Otherwise, employees have no point of reference for how and when they can use the chargers on site. Such guides cover various themes, such as how much charging costs, or who to contact if a charger is not working – all key to smooth and efficient use of workplace EV chargers.
What Do You Need to Do to Create the Most Effective Workplace EV Charging Policy?
Evaluate Employee Demand and Profiles
Before creating a workplace EV charging policy, and sometimes before even installing charging points, it can be a good idea to survey and/or organize co-creative discussions with your employees. Asking your workforce about current and possible future charging demand, their typical commute, and the types of EVs they drive, among other questions, allows you to create a guide that best suits your employees. For instance, you may be unsure whether employees would be willing to pay for charging. By engaging your employees and finding out their EV habits or proclivity, you may discover that they’re willing to pay up to a certain amount per hour, or are not willing to pay at all. This will massively influence your chosen funding model. Keeping employees in the frame through this kind of process also makes your EV charging program easier to scale as more employees drive EVs. This is so because you already know their likely future EV driving habits and will already have a policy suited to their needs.
Decide on a Funding Model
Your funding model may already be dictated by your contract with the charging provider. For workplaces that have more control over their funding model, though, the central choice is between charging a fee for the service or making it free as part of employee benefits. Clearly, both options have benefits: with the former, you can recover present and future equipment, installation and maintenance costs and potentially make some profits; with the latter, you give your employees the gift of free charging, giving them more reasons to stay and potential newcomers more reasons to join the company. Sometimes, charging even a small usage fee can be a good idea to balance supply and demand. In other words, when charging is free, EV owners often plug in when their vehicle does not need to charge, or for much longer than it needs to charge. This can drive up your electricity costs and mean that some employees hogg the chargers so that others cannot use them. Demanding even a small fee – €1-5 per hour or charging session – can help to ensure that employees only use the chargers when they need to. You will have to decide on which funding model to opt for depending on the culture, size and nature of your business, among other factors.
Determine Rules around Access and Use
Before writing a workplace EV charging policy, one of the most important things to consider is access and use rules: who can use the chargers, when, and for how long. For example, there may be certain people working in your building who are not technically employees – agency cleaning staff, for example – whose access to the chargers is not a given. In general, allowing all staff, whether contracted by you or not, to use the chargers is a good idea. This prevents any discrimination between different types of staff. Allowing visitors to use your chargers is advisable – especially if the latter are clients! However, it can be a good idea to designate specific chargers for visitors, making them easier to find and increasing the likelihood that they will be available for use. If you like, these chargers can still be open to employees when all other chargers are in use.
You should also establish rules around use. For example, you may want to set limits on how many hours a day employee EVs can charge, or how many charging sessions employees are allowed per week. You may also want to look at when they can charge. If there are particular peak times for charging, you could either set rules or incentivize workers to charge during low-demand hours, for instance by lowering the fee for these times.
Establish a Charging Etiquette Policy
Defining a charging etiquette helps to make sure that employees and visitors can charge as easily as possible, avoiding any potential conflicts that might arise over the use of charging points. Etiquette policies cover all the little things: step-by-step information on how to work the charging point, how to leave a charging point when you’re finished using it – for instance, how to properly wrap the charging cable – and some advice on treating the equipment properly to prevent any damage. Of course, some etiquette is covered in the access and use policies; for example, if there are limits set on how long employees can use a charging point, this should prevent conflicts related to over-use of chargers. However, having a specific etiquette section to help employees know how to use the equipment and to encourage them to treat it with care will help to make sure shared use of the chargers runs smoothly.
Choose a Charging Champion
In order to make sure your charging initiative runs smoothly, you will need to appoint a specific charging champion – either an individual or a team – to be responsible for it. Having a specific charging champion person or team will help to prevent any confusion and disorganization, assuring that any issues with the charging points are resolved as quickly and as effectively as possible. The charging champion person or team will, therefore, need to cover several tasks: being the point of call for any employee or visitors queries about the charging points; communicating information about the charging points to all staff and encouraging them to use them; dealing with the maintenance of the EV charging points, and planning for future scaling or development.
It is a good idea to select an employee or team who already oversees some of these tasks, for instance, facility or building manager, a sustainability representative, or a CSR manager. They will also need to have enough time to take on the EV charging project. In some cases, you may want to hire a new EV charging representative, depending on the scale of your company and charging point investment. Their contact details and a small information paragraph about their responsibilities should be placed in an easy-to-find location in the workplace EV charging policy, so that employees can contact them directly with any questions.
Make the Policy Accessible
It is crucial that your workplace EV charging policy is in an easy-to-access location where employees and visitors alike can find it easily. For example, you may want to place it both on your company website, so that it is publicly available, and in internal employee channels, so that they can access it through their work technologies or apps. You should also communicate the existence of the policy to your employees through your normal communications channels – Slack, email, LinkedIn, etc. – on a fairly regular basis, to remind them that EV chargers exist and that the support is there for those who would like to use them. After all, there’s no purpose in having a policy if no one reads it!
By Considering the Above Topics, You Should Be Able to Create a Workplace EV Charging Policy That Includes:
- Use policy and guidelines: information about access to and use of the charging points, including rules, how to work the charging point technology, and other support.
- Charging etiquette: how to be a good charger-user
- Payment structure: if you choose a funding model that charges employees a fee, this section will lay out the payment structure for charging and how employees can pay.
- Contact details and information about the charging champion: for the person or department in charge of the EV charging points, in case employees have any questions.
Installing EV chargers for your employees is an essential step towards future-proofing your business. It can help you to retain employees and attract new talent over the years to come, boosting your company’s image as an environmentally and socially responsible business, and contributing to sustainability certification. Once you have the chargers you will need to put in place a workplace EV charging policy to make sure that when people use them, there are no bumps in the road! This policy should cover access to and use of the charging points, charging etiquette, payment structure and contact details for the person responsible for the chargers. With an effective workplace EV charging policy, most questions or potential conflicts that arise over the use of the chargers can be prevented in advance, and any that remain can be dealt with efficiently by your “charging champion”. A workplace EV charging policy is a must-have for any company investing in EV chargers – we hope that our guide will help you to create one today!
To find out more information about state-of-the-art chargers that you could install at your workplace, take a look at our EV charging points for business page.