Installing EV Chargers – How businesses can benefit: An interview with Ben Hugh of Vestel EV Charging Solutions UK

Vestel EV Charging Solutions UK is one of Europe’s largest EV charging manufacturers, capable of producing over 700,000 commercial and residential chargers per year, and is seeing its business go from strength to strength with its own-brand chargers and OEM for major automotive and energy brands.   REM talked to Ben Hugh, EVC Business Development Manager at Vestel, to gain insight into how businesses can benefit by installing EV chargers, providing customers, staff, and the community with EV charging facilities and generate revenue while doing so.
Installing EV Chargers – How businesses can benefit: An interview with Ben Hugh of Vestel EV Charging Solutions UK
Ben Hugh, EVC Business Development Manager at Vestel EV Charging Solutions UK.

Can you tell me about Vestel and what it does

Vestel is one of Europe’s largest electronics manufacturers, specialising in TV and display screens, domestic appliances, and EV chargers from small domestic units to infrastructure fast chargers. Based at its 1.3million sqm facility in Turkey, the company has been making products OEM for most of Europe’s big brand names in these sectors for almost 40 years. To highlight the scale of the Vestel operation, one in three TV screens and display panels sold in Europe has emerged from the Vestel factory irrespective of the brand name on the front. The company has been designing and producing EV chargers for nearly a decade, making products OEM for some of the biggest energy, fuel and automotive brands in Europe. With a view to helping drive the rollout of environmentally friendly e-transport across Europe, in 2023, Vestel launched its own range of EV chargers to help accelerate the shift towards destination charging. Leveraging its economies of scale and engineering expertise to offer robust, reliable and fully featured products offering exceptional value, the Vestel EV charger range spans small domestic units to larger business-scale EV chargers.

To what degree to employees now expect their employers to install EV chargers, or are we not near that point yet?

At this time, I do not think there is a great expectation for employers to provide EV charging facilities at work, but it is certainly on the horizon. The inevitable shift from service station-based refuelling to destination charging, where EV users charge at home and/or the places they go, be that work, the shops or leisure facilities, will certainly drive the demand for employers to provide charging facilities for their employees, customers or even the local community.

Can businesses attract new customers by installing chargers?

Attracting and retaining customers could be one of the biggest drivers for businesses to roll out EV chargers at their premises. We are already seeing some UK wholesalers install charge points to attract trades using electric vans, and it can be tied into subsidised charging fees for loyal customers, rewards-based discount charging, or promotional incentives. Put that scenario into a retail sector and the concept of “top (up) while you shop” will be huge, especially as it also increases customer dwell time in store.

To what extent can EV chargers help businesses to gain the advantage over the competition?

Installing EV chargers sooner rather than later will give businesses a strong advantage over competitors right now. It would attract both customers and employees who have made to switch to EVs, it sends a strong message about the brand’s sustainability and environmental credentials and can be seen as supporting the local community if they are set up as commercial charge points. Let’s not forget that commercial charging offers anything up to 40p/kWh in margin, so even installing a couple of 22kW AC chargers (that would not require major business infrastructure changes), could be very profitable – making money 24/7 even when the business itself is not open.

These advantages are very strong now, but their appeal to customers and employees alike will diminish over time as destination charging becomes commonplace and there is greater competition in commercial charging rates. The take-home message here is that installing EV chargers in your business is almost inevitable in the long run, but moving quickly into this sector offers enormous business advantages now.

To what extent can installing EV chargers help businesses to improve their carbon footprint?

If you are switching to an EV fleet, installing EV chargers offers an immediate and wholesale reduction in a business's carbon footprint compared to buying new diesel vehicles. If that move to EV fleets is tied in with the installation of renewables, like solar panels on the warehouse roof, the gains become even more substantial.

Where things get a little more difficult to measure is when you are offering EV charging for customers and employees. Arguably, offering charging facilities to customers, particularly free or subsidised as an incentive, could technically add to your carbon footprint, albeit while reducing that of your customers by the same amount. The good news is that the net-net benefit is reduced overall carbon emissions – and that is good news however it is measured.

What would be the likely cost of installation for a business installing new chargers?

The notion that these sophisticated EV charging solutions are the sole preserve of larger enterprises is a misconception. Companies like Vestel, renowned for their expertise in this field, offer models like the European-made EVC04 and EVC10 that are tailor-made for small businesses. These chargers are affordable, reliable, and compliant with UK regulations, offering up to 22kW charging capacity with flexible, fully automated, and user-friendly payment options.

Installing a typical small business 22kW twin-output AC charger like our EVC10 model is relatively inexpensive. It does not require a major upgrade to the incoming mains supply and is a highly affordable device itself, thanks to Vestel’s economies of scale. The variable factor will come with the installation, but if you can run the chargers on the side of the building to minimise groundwork, the cost could be very low – potentially under £3,000 per charger, installed, certified and ready to go.

What other benefits of installing chargers are potentially available for businesses?

Installing EV chargers at your business, not only looks good for the brand and can attract and retain customers and employees alike, but it can also be very profitable.

Models like the EVC10 have RFID and Credit Card payment options, with variable rates for each, and are virtually autonomous in operation requiring little or no input from the business once they are installed. Commercial charging rates are around 75p/kWh currently, some 30-40p/kWh higher than average supply rates. Even a single 22kW charger can offer around £7 of clear profit per hour in this scenario; night, day and weekends when they are being used. If you have the vehicle space for multiple 22kW AC chargers, the profits rise commensurately.

Offering these chargers to the public, particularly outside of business hours, is great for local communities embracing EVs that don’t necessarily have the space or finances to install one at home.

For additional information:

Vestel EV Charging Solutions UK

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