New EV company car drivers need direction on public charging, warns FleetCheck
Fleets should provide both guidance and policy on public charging to drivers taking delivery of their first electric company car.
The call comes from fleet software specialist FleetCheck, which points out that, while most employers are ensuring that staff have some form of charger installed at home, they are often leaving drivers to their own devices when using public facilities.
And with the rapid electrification of fleets now well underway, including among higher-mileage drivers, it’s an issue that fleets need to address.
Managing director Peter Golding explained: “In the vast majority of cases, the cost of public charging is reimbursed by the employer and it is noticeable through our software that some employees are understandably favouring faster, more convenient and therefore higher cost chargers.
“In extreme cases, some drivers are heavily using motorway facilities that are priced at levels that can cost multiples of the domestic electricity tariff typically used for overnight home charging.”
Golding explained that the fleet economics of EVs were based on keeping charging costs low, so this could present an issue for fleets.
“In a nutshell, petrol and diesel cars have low lease rates but higher fuel costs, while an EV is the opposite. If drivers start regularly using high-cost charging outlets, then the financial argument for electrification comes under pressure.”
FleetCheck’s key advice to fleets is to adopt a formal, policy-based approach to charging in exactly the same way as for petrol or diesel.
“So far, the perceived low cost of charging compared to ICE car refuelling has meant this hasn’t been tackled widely but there is an argument that this now needs to change.
“Our feeling is that fleets should support their deployment of EVs with structured training that includes guidance on which charging options to use and when.
“Also, EV charging is now available on fuel cards and there are subscription models are being offered by the major charging providers. Employers should certainly be investigating these options, we believe.”