Drivers taking delivery of their first electric company car need guidance and policy from their employer on the public charging options available to them and their cost, says FleetCheck

The fleet software specialist 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.

Peter Golding, managing director at FleetCheck, said: “With the rapid electrification of fleets now well underway, we are starting to see more public charger use by fleets, especially as EVs (electric vehicles) are now being adopted by some higher mileage drivers.

“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.”

Peter 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.

“We are now advising fleets 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.”