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Public charging cost slowing fleet EV adoption

The cost of using public charging facilities is pricing some fleets out of transitioning to electric vehicles, according to industry body the Association of Fleet Professionals’.
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14 May 2024

The cost of using public charging facilities is pricing some fleets out of transitioning to electric vehicles (EVs), according to industry body the Association of Fleet Professionals’ (AFP).

Drivers who do not have access to their own charging facilities either at home or their place of work are finding that the price of using public facilities, such as at motorway services or in town centre car parks, makes their running costs unsustainable.

 “We’re looking at a situation where using a public charger on the motorway might be 80 pence per kWh compared to perhaps a quarter of that or even less for people who have a charger on their drive,” said AFP chair Paul Hollick.

“It’s a difficult situation. If you have drivers who live in a terraced house or an apartment so can’t install a charger at home, and who don’t often visit a location with car park or depot charging, then there is no choice but to use retail charging and it is exponentially more expensive,” he added.

“The whole total cost of ownership argument for EVs is very much based around low-cost charging. Electric cars and vans are relatively expensive to buy and residual values remain difficult to predict, but operators should be able to at least partially balance this out with low charging costs. Where this isn’t possible, some fleets are simply finding themselves priced out of electrification.”

The situation is not expected to change until the availability of on-street charging infrastructure dramatically improves, but there are hopes that this could potentially happen quite quickly with a spread of low-cost on-street charging facilities.

Hollick believes that massively improved public infrastructure will be the key element to boosting EV adoption. “Not only would widespread low-cost on-street charging help fleets with affordability but it would mean that day-to-day operation of electric vans would become more viable for many fleets by providing overnight facilities.

“It would also bring a potentially significant boost to the used EV market – we could relatively soon find ourselves in a situation where used electric car values fall to a point that they are opened up to a much wider range of buyers but that the charging options open to them are limited. Unless people can charge economically, they are understandably unlikely to buy.”

The AFP is calling upon the next government elected this year to examine a major increase in on-street charging, and has been mapping areas where charging is most required. “There are clear opportunities for fleets to work with local authorities who are accessing centralised Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Funding, a potential for change to happen quickly with a constructive approach,” Hollick said, adding; “It does need to feel as though things are happening on the ground much more rapidly than is now the case. There needs to be visible, nearby, low-cost EV charging for all.”

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Andrew Charman

Andrew Charman

Andrew Charman has been a motoring journalist for more than 30 years, writing about vehicles, technology and the industry. He is a Guild of Motoring Writers committee member and has won several awards including for his business coverage.

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