Should EV charging be in every new UK home by law?
Posted by James: Oct 07, 2019 • 4 min read
The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) has closed their consultation on “Electric Vehicle Chargepoints in Residential and Non-residential buildings”.
If enacted, the proposed changes will lead to the installation of hundreds of thousands of EV charging points in new build homes and commercial buildings in England. This will catalyse EV adoption by making it much more attractive for UK drivers to choose an electric vehicle.
The changes will also create a serious challenge for developers, who for the first time ever, would need to provide 100% active charging provision in their residential developments, being careful to manage the associated power supply costs in the process.
To date, requirements for providing charging infrastructure have come from local planning policies, including the requirements within the London Plan, which has been in force for a decade.
However, planning can be a flexible framework, with the enforcement of charging provision often subject to negotiation based on local authorities’ own priorities.
What changes are being proposed?
The consultation proposes changes to increase the amount of charging infrastructure installed in new (and later, some existing) developments, and to ensure consistent enforcement throughout England.
By amending the Building Regulations, the inclusion of charging infrastructure is no longer subject to negotiation and will be applicable across the whole of England (NB: the devolved administrations are highly likely to follow suit with their own similar proposals).
Policy proposals summary
All new residential buildings (and buildings undergoing a material change of use to create a dwelling) with an associated parking space will have to have a chargepoint (AKA 100% active provision).
Every residential building undergoing major renovation with more than 10 car parking spaces to have cable routes for chargepoints in every parking space (AKA 100% passive provision).
New Non-Residential Buildings
- Every new non-residential building (and non-residential building undergoing a major renovation) with >10 parking spaces to have 1 chargepoint and cable routes for chargepoints 1 in 5 spaces.
Existing Non-Residential Buildings
- At least 1 chargepoint in existing non-residential buildings with more than 20 parking spaces, from 2025.
With the exception of the plan for new residential buildings (and those undergoing material change to residential use) these proposals match the requirements of the European Union’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD).
It is the plan to install chargepoints in essentially every new residential parking space that is the most noteworthy, though.
How likely are the changes to be implemented?
Through Pod Point’s engagement before and during this consultation, we think the changes proposed in the consultation are likely to be implemented because:
The most significant costs are incurred in increasing electrical capacity to provide the charging infrastructure; costs that will be incurred even if only cable routes are required (as per the EPBD minimum);
Including charging points creates an opportunity to offer complete, load-balanced charging systems that can actually reduce total costs, when compared with allowing residents to pick an assortment of different charging points; and
A charging point in your parking space is a much more potent incentive to go electric than the capability to have a chargepoint installed in future.
“EV charging will soon become the single biggest electrical load on-site"
~ James Stevens, Pod Point, VP Residential Sales
What are the key challenges for developers?
If enacted, the changes in the consultation will create the following challenges for developers:
Additional costs - Providing the level of EV charging proposed in the consultation would significantly impact the electrical capacity required for a development. This can create material extra cost but if a charging solution with load balancing is used, this cost can be minimised.
Ongoing operational complexity - After the charging infrastructure is installed, it needs to be managed on an ongoing basis by the building management. This can be made much easier when a smart solution that includes usage reporting and billing is used.
Reliability and user experience - As well as complying with the new regulations on a technical level, it’s important that chargepoints are installed which are reliable and easy to use for drivers on a day-to-day basis.
What steps should developers be taking?
If the proposed reg changes go through, residential developers will have to prepare to include charging infrastructure at a scale as yet unseen in their developments.
However, even if the reg changes are softened, the uptake of electric vehicles through the 2020s is likely to be significant. EVs are coming one way or another, and they’ll have a major impact on the way that homes are built.
This means that developers need to fully understand the increasing expectation of residents that charging will be available and should be planning to include it within all developments that include parking anyway.
If you need advice, our specialist team are on hand to help. We work with some of the UK’s biggest developers to provide EV charging and meet changing regulatory requirements.
We’ve got a track record of delivering solutions that combine smart reporting, reliable chargepoints and load balancing to minimise complexity at all stages of the process for developers, building managers and residents alike.