Electric vehicle chargepoints: a view from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles
The UK Government has a clear aim to establish the UK as a world leader in the take-up, design and manufacture of electric vehicles (EVs). Our goal is for almost every car and van to be zero-emission by 2050. In the first 10 months of 2017 there were over 37,000 registrations of ultra low emission vehicles, a 23% increase on the same period last year, highlighting the speed of change we are seeing at the moment.
The Autonomous and Electric Vehicle Bill (AEVB) is bringing to the fore the issue of EVs. The proposed measures will give government the powers to require large fuel retailers in the UK to provide chargepoints for EVs, ensure all new chargepoints are ‘smart’ enabled, and that public chargepoints are convenient and easy to access for all drivers. It has drawn attention in Parliament to the opportunities that building and planning policies could offer to speed up this transition.
The benefits of electric vehicles
Electric vehicles have no tailpipe emissions, so can go some way to solving our air quality problems. As our national energy supply becomes increasingly low carbon, the environmental benefits of EVs over their whole lifecycle will soar in contrast with petrol/diesel vehicles. For consumers, EVs also bring many benefits: a grant worth up to £4,500 off an EV purchase (www.gov.uk/plug-in-car-van-grants), cheaper running costs, and significant road tax savings.
Visit the Go Ultra Low website to find out more about the broad range of benefits that switching to EVs could offer. (www.goultralow.com/). ‘Go Ultra Low’ is a communications campaign bringing industry and government together to increase consumer understanding of EVs. The campaign aims to increase purchase consideration of electric vehicles by helping motorists understand the benefits of EVs and how they might charge their vehicles.
What is Government’s role in the provision of EV infrastructure for residential dwellings?
The Office for Low Emission Vehicles is tasked with supporting the early market for electric vehicles in the UK. There are over 11,500 public chargepoints in the UK, which includes over 900 rapid chargepoints that can charge most EVs in 20-30 minutes, making it one of the largest rapid charging networks in Europe.
However, considering many EV drivers carry out most of their charging at home, supporting the installation of chargepoints at residential properties is vital. The Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) offers up to £500 off the price of a fitted chargepoint for EV owners that have access to dedicated off-street parking. Around 85,000 units have been fitted under this and predecessor schemes.
Why is this shift important for residential managing agents?
The vast majority of plug-in vehicle drivers carry out most of their charging at home and overnight. This is something we encourage as it can help to balance demand on the grid. People around the country will therefore want to install chargepoints at their properties at an increasing rate in the coming years. As well as this representing an opportunity for managing agents in terms of the service they provide, the proactive installation of chargepoints will require cooperation between dwellers and managing agents to ensure the process is as seamless as possible. ‘Local Plans’ published by planning authorities, which dictate the planning strategy and possibilities for a local authority, are increasingly including requirements for developments to include EV chargepoints. In the Greater London Authority for example, they mandate the inclusion of chargepoints at 20% of parking spaces in new developments.
Considerations for ARMA members
As chargepoints become more common and demand grows, there are a few things that groups managing properties should consider:
- Having clear guidance in place for tenants/leaseholders who wish to install chargepoints including the following information: useful contacts list, the permissions they need to request before the installation, clear guidance on the dwelling’s shared electricity supply policy, and reminders for ensuring installers adhere to health and safety legislation and building regulations. Whilst the person carrying out the work should ensure that they comply with building regulations and planning consents, managing agents can help ease this process by providing such guidance.
- What type of chargepoints are being installed, and what are their power needs? It is important to consider the power requirements of chargepoints, and the types of chargepoints being installed, so they can be widely used by all vehicles, and not limited to a specific vehicle type. The UKEVSE Procurement Guide provides more information.
- Issues of parking implementation in properties with car parks. The inclusion of dedicated EV spots may be required.
Advice on timing of chargepoint installation
Retrofitting chargepoints could be more expensive than putting them in new builds or redevelopments - new developments with car parks could be future proofed to include some chargepoint provision. If chargepoints cannot be installed, then the conduits for electric cables should where possible be included in new/redeveloped car parks.
Where to get more information
The following publications provide detailed accounts of chargepoints, their electrical and technical requirements and specifications, safety advice, and further general considerations:
UKEVSE ‘Making the right connections’ general procurement guidance: https://www.siemens.co.uk/traffic/pool/documents/articles_papers_and_presentations/cnx2849-uk-evse-procurement-guide-aw-web.pdf
BEAMA ‘A guide to electric vehicle infrastructure’: http://www.beama.org.uk/asset/3D15B964-64C4-4AF0-827C0FF6E07A05B3/
Government EVHS webpage: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/government-grants-for-low-emission-vehicles