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Find, charge, pay: The ultimate guide to EV charging stations

As a forward-thinking fleet manager, you’re looking to adopt electric vehicles (EVs) and move away from ICE-based fleets. But what do you need to know about EV charging? Well, the number one question EV drivers ask when their range drops into the single figures is “How and where can I get a charge?”

First, let us make sure we’re all on the same page. The petrol station no longer exists for EVs. Instead, we have three key charging locations: the home, the highway and the depot. At each EV charging station, there are three fundamental steps that an EV driver needs to take: find, charge, and pay.

Let’s address EV charging one step at a time:

Finding EV charging stations

Currently, less than 2% of all vehicles on the road are battery-electric vehicles. The infrastructure for EVs has only been deployed for a small percentage of vehicles. EV charging stations can be spread out and not obvious. Locations, where chargers can be found, include a local car park, behind a hotel, in a pub car park and occasionally on the motorway.

It is important for your driver to know what to expect when you arrive at an EV charging station. They need to know the connector type that fits your vehicle. Whether the charging speed aligns with the time available to charge the vehicle. Finally, the cost and whether that charger is available. Fortunately, charging location at home is not a concern, but it is still important for depot charging across multiple business locations.

Charging your vehicle

When arriving at an EV charging station, your driver will find themself standing in front of one of many large white boxes. They are required to turn it on and get a charge for your fleet vehicle. Today in the UK, there are over 80 different ChargePoint networks, each with its own card, app, or membership scheme to consider. Therefore, they need to turn on the charger with one of these many different methods. Charging stations can require credit card details with new apps or even order charge cards in advance.

Paying at EV charging stations

Your drivers are unlikely to want to pay for charging themselves. However, it’s important to have the correct means to pay for charging. If they do choose to use their personal credit card, then they will need to ensure a receipt is provided. This can be a gruelling task. It can require your driver to have to email, call, or speak to multiple operators in order to get their information.

In-home charging, the key requirement is fair compensation. Your driver needs to be adequately compensated for using home electricity to charge a fleet vehicle. Lack of compensation will lead to discouragement for your drivers to make the change to electric. The way to compensate drivers varies from company to company, and flexibility is key.

Key questions fleet managers need to ask about EV charging

Now that we’ve covered the three fundamental steps of EV charging, it’s important to address the key questions you, as a fleet manager, need to ask. These include:

  • How can I minimise the time my drivers spend finding charges? Where can I get the largest network of charge points in a single card from?
  • How can I give my drivers a simple way to charge?
  • How can I get a single receipt for their EV charging costs that enables me to claim back VAT and manage my accounts?
  • How can I check that they’re charging in the most optimal manner?
  • How do I know whether I’m being charged overstaying or penalty fees?
  • Can anyone help me bulk upload drivers and cars into their platform?
  • How can I check that my drivers are charging when they say they are?
  • How do my drivers contact support when they have a problem?
  • How do I know if there is fraud in my charging?

What solutions are there to help?

In addition to providing electric vehicle charging solutions, Paua, similarly to Webfleet, supports fleets with the challenges they face when transitioning to electric vehicles. One of the main issues fleets face is the time it takes to charge electric vehicles, which can impact their operations and total cost of ownership calculations. Too often fleets have not allowed for the time taken to charge when they consider their TCO calculation.

This issue is addressed by providing a single app to save time on charging and a simple card to start and stop charging sessions, which is dynamically linked to the app. This allows drivers to check the performance of their charge and end the charge directly from the app. Additionally, a live dashboard enables fleet managers to monitor how much they have spent and how their drivers are performing daily.

The transition from ICE-based fleets to electric-based fleets is fundamentally different due to the source of energy used. Therefore, it is crucial to have a charging solution that does not impact fleet operations. At Paua, we focus on building workflows and solutions that make it easier for fleets to transition to electric vehicles while keeping their operations running smoothly.

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You are not alone

Transitioning to an electric vehicle fleet may seem daunting, but there is a whole support network available to assist you every step of the way. UKI EV Lead, Richard Parker states “No one expects a single organisation to provide all solutions for transitioning commercial fleets to zero emission. Fleet requirements will become more complex in terms of energy, infrastructure, operations, and payment systems”. As a result, to fulfil the changing needs of customers, it is essential to establish a strong foundation for collaborating with partners. This will enable the introduction and provision of access to other businesses that are necessary during the transition.

Niall Riddell
Niall is the co-founder and CEO of e-mobility startup Paua, which simplifies EV charging for business drivers through a digital solution. Drivers can use Paua's mobile app or EV charge card to find and pay for public charging, while fleet managers receive a single bill for all their drivers. Niall's expertise in digitalization of energy assets, IoT, and mobility comes from his previous role as Smart Systems Director at SSE and leading the UK electric vehicle team at EDF. With an engineering background, experience as part of the first team at the Committee on Climate Change and an MBA from CASS Business School, Niall's passion for electric mobility has driven him to succeed as an entrepreneur. Through Paua, he continues to revolutionize the electric mobility industry, creating a more sustainable and efficient future.

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