Electric Vehicle Charging Points

What are they?

Electric vehicles represent the cutting edge of individual transport technology and although still rare, are likely to become more prevalent over the next few years.  Provision of electric vehicle charging points within a workplace effectively doubles the range of these vehicles when use for commuting.

In its most basic form, a charging point consists of a secure pillar and socket accessed by an electronic tag in its most basic form.  Variations exist, including two car charging posts, quick charging and electronic displays. The building owner can either offer the electricity from a charging point for free, reclaim it through outgoings or charge consumers using a metering and payment system. A third party organisation may also install, own, maintain and receive  revenue from the charging point(s).

Advantages / Disadvantages

Supports sustainable modes of transport for staff and visitors and thereby helps to reduce CO2  emissions associated with travel.

Demonstrable commitment to sustainability.

Increased electricity usage on-site and associated  CO2 emissions.

Encourages charging vehicles during daytime peak electricity consumption, which adds further stress to electricity distribution networks on peak days.

Running costs

The electricity consumed at the charging point will be a cost to the building owner if the use of the facility is not recouped  through the outgoings or individually charged to users.  Cost recovery will require a metering and payment system to be set-up and administered.  The cost to charge an electric car will depend on the efficiency of the vehicle, tariff paid and time of day.  Retrofit/improvement opportunities

The design life of charging points is approximately 10 years.  The installation of a charging point is relatively straightforward.  Simple charging points are low cost compared to more complex charging points with metering and payment facilities.  However, charging for electricity does raise revenue to offset some of the initial installation cost. A metering mechanism will be required for charging points installed for the benefit of a  building tenant to recover the cost of the electricity used.  Wall mounted charging points are less obtrusive than pillar mounted points which require an additional ‘feeder’ pillar  to be installed.

It is necessary to contact the electricity company for advice and assistance when installing a charging point.

Applicable buildings

All buildings, in particular business parks and shopping centres where cars are the predominant transport mode.

Maintenance implications

Charging points require frequent testing (as often as four times a year) to ensure that they function correctly. Maintenance agreements are usually in place to cover testing and repair.  Either the building owner or a third party will be responsible for maintenance, depending on how the charging point is owned.


Charging points are either pillar or wall mounted with a socket and instructions for use.

Questions to ask

  • Are there any charging points on-site ?
  • Is the electricity provided free or charged to the user?
  • Who owns the charging point and has responsibility for maintenance and administrating payment (if applicable)?

More information

References required