DfT £50m EV charging boost for leaseholders, landlords and small businesses
The Department of Transport has announced a government boost of £50m to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles. Support for small businesses, landlords and leaseholders: government charges up the electric vehicle revolution with £50m boost.
The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS), which provides up to £350 towards a chargepoint will be expanded to include people in rented and leasehold accommodation.
The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) will also be opened up allowing charities and small businesses such as B&Bs to benefit from funding, boosting access to EV charging in rural areas.
Joel Teague, CEO of Co Charger, a charger sharing scheme very much supports this initiative. ‘Easy access to EV charging should be for everyone – not just homeowners with driveways. Previously motorists in rented accommodation or in rural areas might have felt unable to transition to an EV, but this is a significant step towards ensuring that no-one is ‘locked out’ of the electric vehicle revolution. It levels the playing field and recognises the importance of leaseholders, tenants and small businesses in helping their neighbourhood to go electric.’
Co Charger enables those who do have chargers, whether motorists, businesses or community buildings to share them with neighbours who don’t. Described as ‘Air BnB for electric cars’, the Co Charger app connects Hosts with Chargees. Hosts are motorists and organisations with an EV charger they’d be open to sharing, whether that’s a neighbour, charity, or a small business. The app enables Hosts to manage bookings and set the price they would like to charge for the service. Chargees are people who have an electric vehicle, or are considering buying one but aren’t able to charge at home.
‘It’s great to see the government backing the installation of more charger points in rented and leasehold accommodation and in the car parks of small businesses,’ says Joel. ‘What can make these schemes even more effective is if a proportion of those charge points are shared – enabling motorists who live in flats and terraced houses to buy an electric car.’
Currently the majority of electric vehicle owners charge at home. Motorists living in accommodation without a charger who would like to transition to an EV are faced with the prospect of being reliant on public chargers – which can often be too far away, booked up or even out of order.
‘If widespread electric vehicle adoption is going to be successful, all motorists have to have easy, convenient and dependable access to chargers,’ says Joel. ‘One way to make this happen is via Community Charging, which is supported by the Co Charger app. Community Charging involves using community resources such as existing home or business chargers to enable members of that community to run an electric vehicle. In practice it means a motorist living in a flat can have an arrangement with a nearby neighbour with a driveway to charge at theirs a couple of times a week, ideally overnight when tariffs are cheaper. It’s an arrangement that’s hugely beneficial for both parties. The Host can earn some extra income from renting out their charger, whilst the Chargee gets the nearest possible experience to home charging. And they can both enjoy living in a cleaner, greener neighbourhood.’
Unlocking the benefits of electric vehicle ownership for all motorists
Once electric vehicle ownership was seen as an eco-friendly but expensive choice. But with list prices dropping, and second-hand vehicles coming onto the market it’s now becoming an attractive option for the budget conscious. With running costs at around 4-6p a mile rather than 12p for a petrol or diesel car (Energy Saving Trust) running an electric vehicle can offer significant savings. ‘There are many people living in leasehold properties or who rent their home who are keen to run an electric car and enjoy motoring that is not only greener but also more economical,’ says Joel Teague. ‘The welcome extension of the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) will allow them to do this and the option to rent out their charger to neighbours means they can also make additional income.’
Helping charities and small businesses
‘Charities and small businesses have had an exceptionally difficult time over the past year,’ says Joel Teague. ‘But the extension of the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) will help them install chargers on their premises, benefiting employees, customers and in the case of hospitality industries like B&Bs, their guests. If these businesses and charities go on to rent their chargers to their neighbours at times which work for them, they can generate even more income.’
Joel Teague and Co Charger
‘I know how challenging it can be to run an electric car without a charger because I was once in that position myself,’ adds Joel. ‘Five years ago a neighbour convinced me to get an electric car. My new Renault Zoe arrived but the charger installation was delayed, and my nearest public charger was half a mile away. I ended up giving the same neighbour a few quid to use their charger once a week until mine arrived. It was such an easy, convenient arrangement and led to a lightbulb moment in which I realised that connecting communities via an app to share chargers could unlock electric vehicle ownership for millions of motorists.’
Joel himself is a reformed petrol-head turned electric vehicle superfan. ‘I used to drive Jaguars, which I would buy second-hand. But then I decided to invest in a new Renault Zoe because it offered a smooth, quiet ride and was an ethical choice. However, as is the case for a lot of motorists going electric did mean stretching my budget when it came to the initial purchase but I knew that over time the low running costs would make the car a wise financial choice for me and my family. If I hadn’t been able to charge at either at home or within my immediate neighbourhood the transition to an electric vehicle wouldn’t have been viable – and with Co Charger I want to help more motorists have the same opportunity.’