28 June 2022
A new government scheme to help businesses create the infrastructure for electric vehicle (EV) charging has launched.
The ‘EV Infrastructure Grant for Staff and Fleets’ gives companies grants of up to £15,000 per location to cover 75% of the cost of installation of changepoints and the infrastructure to support them. It can be applied for alongside the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) that offers grants of £350 per charging socket for up to 40 sockets across all sites per company.
So how does this scheme work, how does it fit into a business’ larger EV strategy and how can your company benefit from it?
The UK’s EV strategy
Anything effecting EV use needs to be seen in the context of the UK government’s commitment to decarbonise, the key piece of which is the plan to stop the sales of new internal combustion engine vehicles (excluding HGVs) by 2030. This will be one of the most significant changes to driving in the UK in living memory and will eventually affect every business and individual who uses a vehicle. The government are setting the stage for this change now, incentivising companies to create the infrastructure for electric fleets. Responding to this and an overall shift to electric vehicles, Vauxhall have pledged to make all of their new vehicles electric by 2028.
This grant is happening alongside the government’s commitment to build 300,000 EV chargers across the UK by 2030, increasing charging capacity tenfold. This should reduce the reticence of some businesses and members of the public about finding a convenient charging point – although as Zap Map shows, there are currently very few places in the UK where you are far from an EV charging point.
How the new EV grant works
Currently in an early phase, the new EV grant has many overlapping functions with the existing Workplace Charging Scheme, but the key difference is that the EV infrastructure grant will, as its name suggests, cover infrastructure in addition to charging points. The older Workplace Charging Scheme “provides support towards the up-front costs of the purchase and installation of electric vehicle charge-points”, so if a company needed to upgrade their electrical systems or lay cable then they wouldn’t be able to receive support. It's likely that a few of the businesses who used the WCS found that although they were able to purchase charging points cheaply, the underlying work to get them wired in was prohibitively expensive, hence the need for a more expansive grant scheme.
It is also aimed at smaller companies: applicants must have 249 employees or less. They also need to have received less than €200,000 in public support in the past three financial years – something that may be difficult for some companies if they took COVID grants and loans. As with any government grant, there are a host of eligibility criteria, a list of approved chargepoints and an application process that is currently paper-based (a digital service will go online later this year). The application process may be lengthy but considering the financial awards for small companies it may be very useful.
Support for UK small businesses
This grant represents another way in which UK companies, particularly small businesses, are being supported in making a switch to EVs. However, there is also support from outside the government in the form of fuel card providers, which makes charging an EV fleet (as well as a mix fleet as they make the transition to EV) far easier and less expensive. There are also innovative partnerships with providers such as Zap-Map, that helps drivers to always find a nearby, cost-effective charging solution. Taken together, this means that there has never been a better time to make the switch to an all-electric fleet.
To learn more about solutions that will help, click here.