UK Legislative Landscape
The UK aims to be at the forefront of the adoption of electric vehicles (“EVs“), and have their sights set on a net zero emission target by 2050, with the end of new petrol vehicle sales by 2030. This objective, however, will not be possible without the infrastructure to support the increase in EVs and the current barrier of accessibility and convenience of charging stations is something that will need to change.
Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2018 (“AEVA 2018”)
While Part 1 of AEVA 2018 deals with the insuring obligations of EVs, Part 2 focuses on regulations of EV charging points with the aim of improving the consumer experience. The EVEA 2018 allows the Secretary of State to introduce regulations for this purpose. Such regulations could, among other things:
- require a uniform method of accessing charging points, such as through an SMS text or a smart phone;
- require operators to adopt a standard design to address any interoperability issues between the charging point connectors of EVs and the charging points; and
- require large fuel retailers or motorway service area operators to provide public charging points.
Building regulations etc (Amendment) (England)(No 2) Regulation 2021 (SI 2021/1392)
New regulations recently came into force (15 June 2022) which further the Government’s decarbonisation aims and require the installation of electric vehicle charging points in new buildings in England. These regulations require:
- new residential buildings with associated parking to have EV charge points for each associated parking space (if the number of parking spaces is less than the number of dwellings) or a number equal to that of the amount of dwellings (if there are equal to or more parking spaces than dwellings);
- residential buildings which are a result of a building or part of a building undergoing a material change of use to have at least one associated parking space for each dwelling with an EV charge point;
- residential buildings, which have over 10 associated parking spaces after having undergone a major renovation, to have at least one charge point for each dwelling with associated parking and cable routes installed in all additional spaces;
- new non-residential buildings or mixed use buildings with over ten parking spaces to have at least one parking space with a charge point and cable routes for one fifth the total number of remaining parking spaces; and
- non-residential buildings which have more than 10 parking spaces after having undergone a major renovation to have at least one charge point and cable routes for one fifth the total number of remaining parking spaces.
Despite these policies, EV sales are outpacing the development of the EV charging infrastructure and further challenges remain on the horizon. Housing developers are facing a potential ban on new projects in west London boroughs until 2035 due to the Electricity Grid’s struggle to keep up with rising electricity demands and hitting its capacity according to the Greater London Authority. While localised at the moment, the problem is likely to become widespread according to the Home Builders Federation as the above regulations requiring EV charging points will result in additional strain being placed on the National Grid.
Is it possible for the regulations to be met yet also not put too much extra strain on the National Grid? Some developers have opted to only use slow chargers for EVs for their developments which, besides being cheaper, have the added benefit of a less intense draw of electricity which does not “hog” the electricity usage. This also has the added side benefit that it might also be possible to charge users for longer parking times.
Another option might be to use EV chargers with an off grid storage system, which removes any potential grid connectivity issues or capacity constraints, however, such technologies are yet to be trialled.
- New developments/ major renovations will have to have to meet the minimum requirements for EV charging points which differ depending on the use of the building as well as the amount of parking spaces.
- The National Grid is struggling to keep up with energy demands which developers will have to keep in mind when installing EV charging points.