Electric Car charging points...

Hi All,

This week one of our employees came to work and plugged her electric car in (via a wire through a window into our reception area). 

The CEO contacted me (having seen the wire when she arrived) to ask me what our obligations are in this regard. I told her none, we are no more obliged to charge an employee's car than we are to provide a petrol pump. However, we are a technology business and we are very keen to attract (and retain) 'Millennial's', so it has made my mind focus towards what we should consider in the future.

While we only currently have one employee with an electric car, I am conscious this is likely to increase fairly quickly over time.

We don't have proper charging points on-site and it is not practical (or safe) to have wires draped through windows.

I'm interested to know what other SME's are doing about this (if anything) and whether the wider Community believes this will soon become a deciding factor when employees are job hunting.

I would be particularly keen to have a chat with someone who has invested in charging points to hear their experiences.

I can honestly say this hadn't actually crossed my mind until this week....every day's a school day in HR!

Any input would be greatly appreciated!

  • Whilst I admire her green credentials it doesn't give her the right to act in this way. Aside from possible H&S issues she needs a quiet word. It is one thing to charge your phone at work, but charging ones car is whole different and potentially expensive ball game. Do you have a petrol/diesel pump installed in the office car park which is available free of use to employee's? If not then what made her think it was OK to charge her car!? I suggest you inform her to charge her car overnight at home like any balanced reasonable person would do and avoid creating a precedent. If its a company car then I assume you allow her to claim for the business mileage she undertakes. This is currently set at 4p per mile. I am not aware of any obligation on the part of employers to provide charging points for employees electric cars. However if these are Company cars it would make a nice gesture to provide some proper charging points which can be appropriately monitored and recharged back to employees or perhaps form part of an allowance dependant upon what policy you decide to adopt.
  • There have been a number of threads on electric cars. If you try a quick search you will find some helpful advice.
  • Hi Anna

    Regarding electric cars and charging, I can't advise as my current employer doesn't offer anything - though I've visited a couple of businesses recently that have charging points on-site, which I thought was a nice touch.

    The thing that stood out for me about your post though, was the employee just doing this. It feels like quite a dangerous thing ('wires draped through windows') for her to have done - did she any permission from anyone, or consider the risks to herself and her colleagues? Or did she just do it because she needed to? I'd think the business should find that out, and take appropriate action - not because you aren't supportive of charging electric cars, but because using company property for personal use should be approved by *someone* in the company.
  • In reply to Owen:

    Absolutely agree. Don't worry, we dealt with it immediately with the employee as it ocurred....we certainly wont be having wires hanging out of windows!
  • In reply to Anna Morris:

    Having gone past the immediate 'too much initiative' problem I would be looking to how they can do it safely with a proper charging facility, not least because they are unlikely to be the last
  • In reply to Anna Morris:

    I recall once having a bit of an argument with a colleague who had for many years been a prominent local Employment Exchange / Jobcentre Manager. In that capacity, he said he always prohibited his staff from charging their mobile phones from the office power supply, this amounting in his view in effect to theft of Government electricity. He did not appreciate at all my mirth at hearing this, nor my comments that it seemed totally petty / not worth bothering about, as the volume of electricity involved was very tiny indeed and they’d need to have their mobile on charge 24 hours a day for weeks or months or even years before the value of the electricity abstracted ever reached more than a few pence.

    Charging up an electric car’s batteries is obviously on a vaster scale than this, but the principles still apply. Along of course with employers duty of care to maintain workplace safety by not (within proportion / reason!!) permitting employees to connect their own mains electrical devices.
  • If she is taking energy the company is paying for without permission or intent to pay for it, then that's theft!

    But clearly this is not her intention and is something that you need a policy for. So have a look at other threads on the subject and plan something out that works for you.

    Because this will be a growing issue that is not going to go away. :-)

  • Does your company provide free petrol/diesel as well?

    You are well within your rights to prohibit this kind of behaviour. Whilst the cost of the electricity itself may be very small, it is an H&S issue, trip hazard caused by a loose cable, as well as plugging in a high wattage untested device, so a potential electrical fire hazard.
  • My colleagues have covered most of the key points, but I thought I'd just add that, as an electric car driver, I consider a pair of Type 1 charge points at my place of work to be a very important benefit. However, if you get to the point of having many electric cars in the car park then there are several major networks that would be more than happy to install a pay-as-you-go charger on your site. Ecotricity's Electric Highway, Polar and GeniePoint seem to be the main ones, so far.
  • In reply to Robey:

    Excellent idea, Robey.

    It might encourage more staff to give electric cars serious consideration if there is a charging point in the car park. It is the way of the future.
  • The car park in my office has regular 3-point electric sockets available where staff are able to charge their car, with prior permission. These can take up to 8 hours to fully charge an electric car battery, but if the car is sat there all day this is not a problem. The cost to the company per day in terms of electricity is very small. Of course if an employee is using this facility long-term then the cost will add up, but this needs to be balanced against the long-term benefits to the organisation and its staff. An organisation can promote it as part of its CSR plan, increase its attractiveness to potential employees, increase staff retention and be perceived as more forward-thinking. The number of people using 100% electric cars (as well as hybrids) will continue to increase and the reality at present is that the UK infrastructure is way behind demand, hence those using petrol/diesel cars do not need a supply at their workplace as there's most likely a petrol station a short distance away, where it will take a matter of minutes to refuel; while it's likely to be several miles to the nearest electric car charge point where it can take a minimum of 45 minutes to fully recharge. I'm an electric car owner myself and fortunate enough to not have to recharge each day at work, but can absolutely see the need and the benefit of this facility for those who live a distance from the office and need to recharge somewhere nearby.
  • My current and previous work place both offer electric charging points, which are well used and I absolutely support it. Given that you're a tech company, even more so. I work for an oil and gas company right now, so it could be argued an own goal for now, but energy transition is what will secure the future, so...

    I do know of small (inc very, very small) companies who have official charging points and have done for a few years now. I think it would be worth finding out who has in your own area and looking at their successes/ pitfalls. It would also be prudent to double check that there isn't a publicly available point nearby, because there are actually a lot more than you think.
  • In reply to Allyson:

    Interestingly, I've just walked past that part of the car park. 6 cars plugged in, with 3 in the "waiting" area queue. If those spaces are all full, I'm guessing there must be more elsewhere.