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OLEV grants and benefits

The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV, for short), is a UK government team, which is part of the Department for Transport and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. This cross government, industry endorsed team takes charge of policy and funding for ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) in the UK, as a way of making the uptake of electric vehicles much more popular.

Currently, new electric vehicles are more expensive to purchase than second hand petrol or diesel vehicles, but the government has several schemes in place to make investing in an ultra-low emission vehicle much more attractive to consumers, such as a range of plug in and electric vehicle grants, and grants towards the cost of installing a home or workplace charging point.

The core policy of OLEV is to support the early market of electric and low emission vehicles, throughout the UK. Most plug in electric vehicle owners find that they carry out the largest proportion of their electric car charging from home, therefore having a home charging station installed at their home would prove beneficial.

There is also demand for electric car charging points to be installed at places of work. The OLEV car charging grants come in two varieties, home charging and workplace charging, in a bid to provide a much greater and more affordable network of charging stations across the country.

Available to registered keepers and lessees of electric vehicles, the OLEV grant for home charging points fund up to £500 towards the installation of an electric vehicle charging point, at domestic properties throughout the UK.

If your new or second hand electric vehicle was purchased on or after 1 April 2015, you could be eligible for OLEV’s electric vehicle home charging scheme; if you have an eligible plug-in car or van (a full list of which can be found online at the OLEV website), and your house has off-street parking capabilities.

The next steps are simple. To install an electric vehicle charging point at home, you need to contact an OLEV authorised and approved installation specialist, who will talk you through the type of charger that you are eligible for, depending on the type of vehicle you own and the desired location of the charge point. If you’re looking to install two electric vehicle charge points at your home, you must make it explicit when you’re applying for the grant. Two charge points will only be available to households with two eligible plug in electric vehicles.

Once installed, the grant will only be paid in arrears and your installer will claim the OLEV grant on your behalf.

The OLEV workplace charging scheme is similar to the electric vehicle home charging scheme, in that vehicle requirements remain the same; all vehicles are to have been purchased on or after 1 April 2015 in a bid to encourage further uptake of electric vehicles.

Fast and rapid charge points

Have you recently purchased your first Tesla Model S or Nissan Leaf? Or considering buying your first electric vehicle? Although you’re already on your way to minimising your carbon tyre print, you are left with certain questions such as: ‘where can I charge my electric car?’, ‘what’s the difference between Fast and Rapid charging?’, and ‘how long does it take to charge an electric car?’

Let’s start with the basics. Electric vehicle (EV) charging points are categorised by how much energy they produce, which is measured in kW. This tells you what speed they can charge your electric car. If you know from your lifestyle that you need to get places quickly, then you may want to consider fast and rapid charging. Fast car chargers are well suited to homes and businesses that are leaving their cars to charge overnight. AC fast charging points have lower installation and maintenance costs because they can be installed directly into your residential or workplace’s electricity supply.

If you are charging your EV at home, most manufacturers provide wall mounted charging stations with a fixed cable and a type one or two connector that you plug directly into the vehicle. Popular suppliers include Ensto Chago for fast AC charging. Type one fast charging stations supply around 32 Amps or 7kW and most electric vehicles can accept them with the correct connector. Most fast charging units come with the versatile type two Mennekes or Commando supply side socket, although sometimes they provide a tethered cable with the non-removable type one (J1772) connector. On average, it takes approximately three to four hours to reach full charge although this depends on battery capacity.

Given the government’s workplace charging scheme, powering up your EV at work has never been more convenient. As the quick charge station needs to be compatible with a variety of different electric vehicles, the most common installation for businesses is the wall-mounted type two 7kW charger, which will fully charge a vehicle in three to four hours. Another option would be charging posts which are useful for street parking, but have higher installation costs.

Three phase fast charging often delivers around 22kW and is often only reserved for electric vans and buses that need much more power. Most commercial and public electric car charging stations now also use fast charging instead of slow, with 6209 fast connectors available nationally as of 2017. Rapid DC chargers work on direct current and are the most common type of rapid charging point, particularly suited to electric car charging ‘on-the go’. You’ll find them in public places such as car parks, motorways, and city centres. As of 2017, there are around 1360 rapid DC connectors available across the UK. They can supply up to 50kW of power, which means that they can charge your EV to 80% in under half an hour. All rapid car charging stations provide a tethered cable with a non-removable JEVS (CHAdeMO 50kW), CCS (Combo 50kW), or Tesla (50-120 kW) vehicle connectors.

As a recent development, rapid AC chargers are relatively rare and are only used in a few locations in the UK. As of early 2017, there were only 642 rapid AC connectors available nationally. They work on a rapid alternating current and can supply up to 43 kW of power. It typically takes between 30 and 60 minutes for an electric vehicle to reach an 80% charge. Due to their high power, all units use a secured cable with a fixed type two Mennekes vehicle connector.

As most slow chargers are shifting to fast and rapid units, you can look forward to an efficient and speedy future with your carbon conscious car.

Commercial car charging

So, you’ve decided to cut your carbon footprint and invest in an electric vehicle… At the moment, electric vehicle charging is a relatively young industry, so a lot of homes and workplaces don’t yet have electric car charging points. The big question on most electric vehicle owner’s lips is, ‘where can I charge my electric car?’

Although it is a new industry, the electric car charging network in the UK is growing rapidly, thanks to government initiatives and grants, and a greater leaning towards sustainable solutions from both individuals and businesses nationwide. With more people switching to plug in electric vehicles, charging stations are becoming a key consideration for new builds, and even older buildings are becoming part of the electric revolution, with the addition of electric vehicle charging points.

If you’re not fortunate enough to benefit from either home or workplace charging, then your electric car charging option would be commercial charging points. With a diverse network of public charging points across the UK, there are many options available to you when it comes to boosting your battery.

There are many different schemes which allow you to charge your electric car at little to no cost to you. Many of the public car charging points are currently found at most service stations and garages nationwide, and can also be found in popular spots such as commercial car parks and designated bays in busy city centres. It is worth looking up your nearest charging point prior to starting your journey, to avoid being caught short.

If you’re looking to invest in a commercial charging point for your business, it is a great dual revenue stream which can bring in a profit from both the charging fee and the income that you can generate from supplying electricity to the national grid.

Quick and easy to install, commercial public charging points provide many benefits for your business including the revenue generated from subscriptions, pay as you go charging fees and energy use fees. There will also be increased footfall to your business, especially if there aren’t many charge points in the local area. With the extra customers to your business, there are many indirect sources of revenue available, including the increase in sales of products near your charging station as well as maximised marketing and advertising potential.

Although most people opt to charge their electric vehicles at home or at work, there is a greater need for more public charging points throughout the UK. Currently most public charge points support the three electric car charging options: slow, fast and rapid charging. There are also specific Tesla charging stations, which provide free charging points for the Tesla model S and the Tesla model X.

ELECTRIC TAXI TRIAL

We scheduled a taxi driver to test the new BYD e6 all electric taxi for two weeks in November. The taxi has a 186 mile range, and can be fully recharged over night at the drivers home address for a small cost of around £6. We monitored the trial closely, to assess the feasibility of operating such vehicles as taxi’s giving the current infrastructure in place. We plan to rollout a fleet of BYD E6 taxi’s, and rent them out to taxi drivers (private hire only). A full report will be available soon.

LOW CARBON LIVERPOOL

We are delighted to be part of the low Carbon Liverpool programme, to develop and promote low carbon infrastructure and transport in the Merseyside region.

ELECTRIC TAXIS PILOT SCHEME

We are collaborating with Mersey Travel, the transport authority for Liverpool, in a joint bid to get funding for the provision of electric taxi’s in the Liverpool City Region. As an SME we would look to develop a network of rapid charging points across the six borough’s of Liverpool. These rapid charging points will allow taxi drivers to recharge their vehicles to 80% of power in just 20 minutes. The charging points will be located at key strategic locations, enabling e-taxi’s to drive anywhere in Liverpool without having to worry about recharging. Studies have shown that taxi drivers can save up to £40 a day through adopting to emissionless vehicles such as the new metro cab. With Liverpool having over 9,000 registered taxi’s (private hire +hackneys), this could significantly benefit the local economy, as well as reducing local pollution on the streets of the city. Further details of the project will be announced in December 2014.









TOGETHER CHARGING A BRIGHTER FUTURE