How can we make EV charging points an affordable investment for SMEs

Many organisations in the UK are investing in electric vehicle (EV) charging stations for their premises. Providing free charging can attract employees, boost a business’s ESG values, and is an important measure ahead of the proposed 2030 ban on the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles. 

However, the installation of EV charging points in a commercial site demands a large up-front cost. 

This could leave some small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who do not have the budget to invest heavily in green technology, unfairly lagging behind larger companies in their sustainability plans.

These businesses might find it harder to grow their ESG score, prepare for the 2030 ban and future-proof their business ahead of any new sustainability laws. 

With customers, shareholders and investors increasingly looking at companies’ green credentials, what solutions can make it easier for small and medium businesses to invest in EV charging, and other green technology? 

Simon Fabb, Director of technology financing firm, Lease Group and their brand, Lease Energy, discusses: 

“When it comes to EV charging, the UK government offers a financial incentive to businesses installing EV charging points, under their Workplace Charging Scheme. The scheme provides a grant of up to 75% of the cost of a charger for up to 40 sockets. 

“However, the 75% repayment is capped at £350 per socket. The average estimated cost of installing one EV charging point currently sits between £1000 – £4000, depending on the charger model (rapid charge points are more expensive) and the signage required. 

“That means businesses installing the maximum of 40 sockets could still need to find an extra £146,000 to fund the project.”

For companies that can’t afford the up-front costs, what other options are there?

“Businesses could get a loan directly from a bank; however, an increasingly attractive option is leasing. 

“Leasing models are already well-established for certain equipment – many businesses lease their telecoms and printing equipment, for example. However, we are pioneering to increase awareness of the option to lease green technology, like EV charging points. 

“By leasing their EV charging points, organisations can eradicate the up-front cost and earn the freedom of diverting their investment into other, more profitable business activities.

“Also, through leasing their EV charging points, businesses will earn the added benefit of offsetting each monthly payment against corporation tax, providing even greater savings and financial benefits.” 

Simon comments that it’s not just SMEs that choose to lease their technology: 

“While leasing is excellent for helping smaller businesses access green technology, the significant financial advantages mean that many large corporations also choose to lease their equipment, even when they have the budget to purchase up-front. In fact, 80% of the FTSE 500 lease their telecoms and IT equipment today, so there is lots of scope to further expand the leasing model into the world of green tech.”

How can organisations access leasing deals for EV charging points?

“Businesses could start by finding a trusted EV charging provider and asking them if they offer leasing deals – look for a supplier that is partnered with a trusted equipment leasing company to make sure they are receiving reputable finance with good monthly payment terms. 

“We’re starting to see sustainability having a real, measurable effect on a company’s market value and reputation. So, it’s vital that all businesses are supported to access the technology they need to achieve both their own sustainability goals, and those set by the government.”

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