In order to support the mass uptake of electric vehicles in the UK, the British government has turned its attention to new legislation covering charging. While it may have scrapped the electric vehicle grant, new rules focus on ensuring homeowners can charge while maintaining the stability of the electrical infrastructure.
Norway is already leading the way when it comes to using policy to encourage EV adoption and the UK is now following suit. While the UK’s new rules aren’t necessarily designed to encourage people to buy EVs — which is where it differs from Norway — the regulations will help futureproof the country for a time when almost everyone is driving an electric vehicle.
All new homes to require chargers
One of the big recent changes in the UK is that all new-build homes require an electric vehicle charge point. This means that housing estates, independent builds, and even buildings with a change of use to a home will require a charge point. Because this applies to any residential property with associated parking, new apartment blocks will also need to offer access to charging for residents in areas where parking is provided.
These can’t just be any chargers, however, as the new Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021 legislation states that these charge points all need to be smart. This means they need to have data connectivity, as well as other smart charging functionality. The British government’s goal is to scale up the number of domestic charge points while also readying the infrastructure for a future of EVs.
Smart charging for EVs
More electric vehicles on the road mean more people wanting to charge. Without the right technology in place, this could put a strain on the electrical grid — particularly at times of high demand such as when everyone arrives home from work and plugs in their car.
With smart EV charging, these peaks can be avoided. Even if a driver plugs in when they get home, the charger can read the high demand in the grid and only start charging when demand is lower.
It’s important for EV drivers to understand that these smart charging capabilities don’t ban charging at peak times. While the new charge points will be configured to avoid times of high demand, the driver will have full control over when and how their vehicle charges. This means that if they need a full charge ready for the following morning, they can start charging immediately rather than waiting for those off-peak hours.
Currently, the number of electric cars on UK roads shouldn’t affect the grid but as we move toward wider-scale adoption, having this technology in place could save billions in infrastructure investment. Not only that but there are numerous benefits to facility managers and end-users alike.
A smart charging solution for all
For end-users, having a smart charger enables them to take advantage of cheaper rates without having to think about when they plug in their vehicle. Some chargers will also give drivers the opportunity to sell energy from their car’s battery back to the grid to supplement the electricity supply when demand is high.
For facility managers, smart chargers don’t just monitor overall electricity usage in the grid but also within a single building, too. This gives a deeper insight into how energy is being used and allows managers to change how energy is delivered. This can help to save on the building’s energy bills, make use of off-peak tariffs, and balance energy demand when a lot of cars are charging at once.
In order to get more electric cars on the roads and do more to decarbonize transport, policy has a big role to play. We’ve seen it done in Norway and now the UK is following suit with these smart charging regulations.