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Government Consultations on Charging Infrastructure for Electric Vehicles

Robert Botkai

As part of the ongoing measures to reduce carbon emissions, the EU has passed the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive 2018 ((EU) 2018/844) (“EPBD 2018”), and the Government passed The Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2018 (“AEVA 2018”). Under its Road to Zero Strategy, the Government aims to see at least half of new cars to be ultra-low emission by 2030.

To support the market for ultra-low emission vehicles, the Government is supporting the development of the Electric Vehicle (“e-Vehicle”) Charging Infrastructure network. It has published two Consultations, requesting feedback from individuals and businesses on:

1) Installing Chargepoints in Buildings; and

2) Smart Charging

Consultation 1: Installing Chargepoints in Buildings

The Department for Transport (“DfT”) and Office for Low Emission Vehicles (“OLEV”) published a consultation on 15 July 2019, proposing amendments to the Building Regulations 2010 for residential and non-residential buildings to include e-Vehicle infrastructure requirements. The consultation runs until 7 October 2019.

The consultation proposes that:

  • New residential buildings with car parking spaces, including buildings undergoing a material change of use to become a dwelling, must have chargepoints;
  • New residential buildings with more than ten car parking spaces must have one chargepoint and cable routes for e-Vehicle chargepoints in every car parking space;
  • New non-residential buildings, or non-residential buildings undergoing major renovation, with more than ten car parking spaces have one chargepoint and cable routes for e-Vehicle chargepoints for one in five car parking spaces; and
  • There is at least one chargepoint in existing non-residential buildings with more than 20-car parking spaces, applicable from 2025.

Public car parks need have fewer e-Vehicle charging points than dwelling houses, because 98 percent of journeys in the UK are less than 50 miles, which means that the greater part of e-Vehicle owners will charge their vehicles at home.

Some buildings will be exempt from the requirements, including listed buildings or other buildings where compliance would unacceptably alter their character or appearance. Buildings undergoing a material change of use or major renovation would be exempt if the chargepoint requirement would trigger a need for a new power supply to the car park, or if the cost is prohibitively expensive. Existing non-residential buildings which are Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (“SMEs”) would also be exempt.

The Government proposed that the changes come into force in the first half of 2020. This Consultation and the legislation would apply to England only. The Consultation is running from 15th July to 7 October 2019. The Government is proposing that:

  • Chargepoints are available at motorway service areas and large fuel retailers;
  • All new homes have a chargepoint available (where possible);
  • New street-lighting columns include charging points in areas with current on-street parking provision;
  • Chargepoints are easily accessible and used across the UK, in particular through a uniform method of accessing public chargepoints; and
  • Chargepoints are smart ready by giving government requirements to set requirements prohibiting the sale or installation of chargepoints unless they meet certain requirements.

Consultation 2 : Smart Charging

The Government also issued a separate consultation proposing new regulations to ensure that e-Vehicle chargepoints sold or installed in the UK include smart charging functionality.

For all new cars to be “effectively zero emission by 2040”, there need to be changes to the electricity system so that it can meet the extra demand to charge these e-Vehicles. Smart charging, which the Government here defines as “shifting the time of day when an e-Vehicle charges, or modulating the rate of charge at different times, in response to signals (e.g. electricity tariff information)” will lessen the impact of e-Vehicles on the electricity network, offer cheaper tariffs for consumers and maximise clean, renewable electricity use.

The Government is proposing a minimum power rating output of 7kW, which will achieve a full charge in 5-7 hours. A 22kW power rating would achieve a full charge in c. 2 hours. In order to protect consumer interests, the Government wants the smart chargers to be interoperable, allowing consumers to change provider without having to schedule an engineer’s visit. The smart chargers must also be fitted with a universal socket which allows all e-Vehicles to charge, and also meet health and safety requirements. The smart chargers must also be cyber-secure, to protect the grid.

This Consultation and the legislation would apply to the UK. Again, the Consultation is running from 15th July to 7th October 2019.

For answers to any questions, or for help responding to either of the Government consultations, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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