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Battery-powered company vehicle: who pays for the electricity?


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With the development of electric cars in companies, who should pay for charging electricity as the cost of energy soars becomes a critical issue.

In the “before” world, employees who had a company car were reimbursed for their fuel by the company. But with the development of the electrification of car parks within the framework of the mobility orientation law (LOM), the question of who pays for the electricity becomes central. While oil companies already offer fuel cards that now include recharging at public terminals, recharging operators have rolled out a range of services to meet the expectations of fleet managers. This is the case for example of the French Zeplug. “Charging the electric car at the employee’s home makes it possible to take advantage of off-peak hours and therefore reduce the cost of energy for the company, recalls Émilie Méranger-Gay, marketing and B to B director at Zeplug. In a period when energy prices are soaring, it is even more relevant because society will benefit from the tax shield put in place by the government for individuals, pending concrete measures for companies.

The company therefore has every interest in financing a charging station at the home of its employee. In the case of an installation in a single-family home, the terminal is equipped with a meter and software that makes it possible to differentiate between the electricity consumed by the car and that for domestic use. “In most cases, the employee is reimbursed for his electricity by the company via our intermediary, explains Émilie Méranger-Gay. In a condominium, it’s much simpler. We invoice the company directly because the recharging point is not linked to the employee’s domestic consumption, which therefore has no costs to pay.”

Tax problem

In both situations, the installation costs of the terminal are borne by the companies, in the form of monthly payments. Zeplug invoices from €59/month, a cost that includes the terminal, its installation, support in the event of the employee’s move and a taxi service if the terminal malfunctions. Beyond 48 months, “the monthly payment is degressive”, specifies the operator which includes in its offers, the option of redemption of the terminal by the user or its dismantling to allocate it to another employee.

There remains the thorny tax issue. Since May 2019, the government has introduced a 50% reduction on benefits in kind, capped at €1,800/year, for employees who have an electric car. “This decree ends in December, but the government has announced that it wishes to extend it, although for the moment we have no visibility on the subject yet.”, says Émilie Méranger-Gay. For electricity, it is much more vague. “To encourage their employees to drive electric, many companies want to install a charging station in their homes”, indicates Clément Molizon, general delegate of Avere, who has just published an electrification guide for businesses and communities. “But fiscally, nothing is precise. The administration considers that the benefit in kind is zero if the recharge is done at the workplace, but has not yet decided on that at home. A shame when you know that 90% of charging is done either at work or at home.

CHRISTOPHE BOURGEOIS

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