How can electric vehicles drive your business forward?
Electric vehicles (EVs) have come a long way in recent years, with design and performance improvements alongside falling purchase and running costs and a friendly company car tax regime supporting their growth in popularity.
Government intervention is also playing a key role, including the 2040 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles as well as the introduction of Clean Air Zones across the country where the most polluting vehicles can be charged for entering.
These factors are combining to increase the proportion of new registrations of hybrid and electric vehicles from 0.7% of new car sales in 2007 to 4.7% in 2017 and with new registrations set to increase year on year, huge demand for EV charging is expected to be created. This is where businesses come in: they can drive the development of this charging infrastructure and become the fuel stops of the future.
Providing EV charging points for customers, employees or both offers significant opportunities for businesses to take advantage. Installing EV charging points at your site differentiates your offering from those of your competitors, helping you to stand out and better meet the emerging needs of visitors to your site. As people start making decisions on where they shop, work or simply spend their time based on whether they can charge their car at the same time, businesses need to act on this opportunity and start offering EV charging.
Your customers, employees and visitors can experience an improved service and enjoy greater convenience by charging their vehicle without disrupting their normal routine. This could also attract and retain top talent who seek forward-thinking employers, increase dwell time at your site or encourage repeat visits. Tesco is set to deliver these benefits for its customers, and the business, after announcing its commitment to install EV charging points at 600 of its stores over the next three years.
Failing to act on this opportunity could mean missing out on these potential benefits and the risk of falling behind in what may soon become a standard part of the customer / employee experience, in much the same way that Wi-Fi is now considered a basic requirement of many service offerings (hotels are a prime example of this).
EV charging can do more than provide your employees and customers with added value, it can also reduce your carbon footprint (especially for fleet operators) and have a positive impact on your corporate identity. Providing EV charging at your site can support your business in combating climate change and working towards a cleaner and more sustainable future. It could allow you to join initiatives such as EV100, which showcases your commitment to and leadership in an EV future.
Installing EV charging points can develop your sustainable credentials, meet your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) obligations and attract potential employees and customers who choose to shop, work and engage with businesses and brands that are concerned with making a positive impact on the environment.
Nevertheless, the energy cost that EV charging represents for a business can create a challenge: businesses must pay for the energy needed to power the EV charging points. However, charging drivers to use the EV charging points or installing additional energy solutions can open opportunities to power your EV charging points and even generate your own energy.
Technological developments such as vehicle to grid (V2G), where EVs can be used to balance supply and demand on the grid, or on-site energy generation such as solar panels have the potential to power your EV charging points without increasing your energy bills.
From trends in the motor industry, it’s evident that EVs are on track to not only become the car of the future but are also fast becoming the car of today and undeniably require a sustainable charging infrastructure: Volvo expects that EVs will account for 50% of its car sales by 2025. It’s not enough for businesses to cope with this rise of EVs, they must be at the forefront, shaping the UK’s charging infrastructure and taking advantage of the many benefits EV charging can bring. Acting now could drive your business ahead of the competition and better serve your customers, employees and / or visitors.
Fiona MacGregor is part of E.ON’s Graduate programme and currently part of the UK Marketing & Communications team, producing content for use across website, social and PR channels. She has a degree from the University of Strathclyde in International Business with Marketing and Spanish.