Charging e-cars at work: you need to know that!

Admittedly, the home office has been booming since the Corona pandemic. But there are still many people who drive to work. Even with an e-car, because the vast majority of commuter routes can easily be covered with the ranges that are common today.

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Arriving at the workplace, the mobility scooter usually sits around for around eight hours. So time and opportunity to load. Especially since many e-car owners are looking for a practical charging option because they don’t have a wall box at home and the nearest public charging point is far away or is always occupied.

What does charging at work do for the environment?

So charging at work makes sense. Also for environmental reasons, as a study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT on behalf of NABU showed. She examined the influence of charging conditions in rural areas and found out that charging around midday (when the e-car is usually at work) has significant CO2 savings potential. Because: At this time, the proportion of renewable energy from wind and sun in the power grid is greatest. In addition, electricity could more easily be used directly from photovoltaic systems on company buildings.

But how does charging work at work? What do employees and employers need to know? Here are answers to the most important questions about charging electric cars at work.

For whom does charging at work make sense?

A charging facility for electric cars and plug-in hybrids in the company can be useful for both employees and employers. Those who drive the car can commute to work with a clear conscience and have solved an annoying problem: the search for a charging connection. In addition, the tapped electricity is usually not free, but reasonably cheap.

Charging an electric car (2021): test – charging time – battery – info

How do you charge an electric car correctly?

Companies, on the other hand, can possibly save money with more electric company cars or even a complete electric fleet in view of electric purchase premiums and horrendous fuel prices. In addition, they can cultivate their image – keyword sustainability – and possibly recruit particularly qualified employees. If they also offer their charging stations for public use, they may even be partially refinanced.

What can workers do to charge at work?

Employees have no legal right to charging at work, even if they drive an electric car privately. Instead, they should talk to colleagues, sound out interest and then make representations to the boss or the manager. Since probably not every e-car has to be charged every day, one or a few charging points for several vehicles may be sufficient.

How should employers proceed?

First of all, the needs, i.e. also the interests of the workforce, should be clarified. Of course, the spatial conditions must also be right. If the implementation is not managed in-house, there are various providers of commercial charging solutions, such as Park here or Mobility House, from which charging stations can be bought or rented. They usually deliver ready-made concepts and take care of construction, operation, maintenance and billing. They can also help with communicating the GHG quota. In general, charging solutions that can be expanded should be used as far as possible.

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Unlike private wall boxes, charging points in companies are still being promoted. Non-public subsidies are provided by the KfW Bank with up to 900 euros (for “grant 441”). There are also local funding programs at state level for companies and municipalities.
If the charging points are publicly accessible, a company can still benefit from the “Publicly accessible charging infrastructure for electric vehicles in Germany” funding program until the end of 2025. There is a 60 percent subsidy for normal charging points (AC and DC; max. EUR 2500 per charging point), fast charging points (only DC) with a charging capacity between 22 and 100 kW, max. EUR 10,000 per charging point) and fast Charging points (exclusively DC with a charging capacity of 100 kilowatts and higher, max. EUR 20,000 per charging point).

What kind of charging station should it be?

Wall box or charging station? That is the question. The cost of the purchase ranges from 500 to 5000 euros. As a rule, only charging stations are suitable for outdoor use, in the garage a wall box may be sufficient. In any case, it should have intelligent charging management so that the electricity can be distributed evenly and safely to several charging points.
Mazda MX-30 Hyundai Kona at charging station

In garages, wall boxes are often sufficient for charging employee vehicles.

The charging capacity should also be considered. If only employee vehicles that are stationary are charged, charging stations with alternating current (AC) are sufficient. If you have a fleet of company cars that are used a lot, alternating current (DC) should be used for faster charging.

How much does electricity cost when charging at work?

Companies can provide the charging current for their employees free of charge, at a reduced price or at a normal cost. Free electricity is the most uncomplicated, the charging station does not have to comply with calibration law and sales tax does not apply. If a fee is charged, the amount of electricity supplied for the e-car must be precisely recorded and billed with internal submeters. A monthly fee is also possible.

How is the billing done?

Companies can either deduct the payment from their employees’ monthly wages or salaries, or they can issue separate invoices. With contract-based charging, charging processes are simply started using the charging card and billed according to the desired tariff. Direct payment works with an NFC-enabled debit/credit card.

What are the tax benefits of charging at work?

In contrast to the receipt of petrol vouchers, for example, charging electric or hybrid vehicles free of charge or at a reduced price in the employer’s company is tax-free according to § 3 No. 46 EStG (if the employer grants the service in addition to wages). This applies to private and company cars – and incidentally also to the pecuniary advantage of providing a company charging device, i.e. if the wall box at home belongs to the employer. A gift charging station is taxed at 25 percent and is free of social security contributions. In the case of a subsidy, the flat-rate taxation of 25 percent of the benefit in kind also applies.

If the employee pays money out of his own pocket for charging with an electric company car, the tax office allows a flat-rate reimbursement of expenses. Without an available charging device at the workplace, the monthly tax-free flat rate until the end of 2030 is 70 euros for an electric car and 35 euros for a plug-in hybrid. With a charging option at the workplace, it is 30 euros or 15 euros per month. However, the employer can also reimburse the actual costs as a tax-free reimbursement of expenses (§ 3 No. 50 EStG) instead of using the flat rate if the employee can prove the costs with receipts.

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