The Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations and what they mean

Everything you need to know about the new EV smart charge point regulations, including the new default charge schedule and randomised delay.

Last updated: Jul 19, 2022 6 min read

Summary

The government’s new Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021 came into force on the 30th June 2022. The new measures were designed to help manage increasing electricity demand from the UK’s transition to electric vehicles (EVs).

These new regulations only apply to private chargepoints (domestic or workplace). Key parts of the regulations include that chargepoints will need to:

  • Come pre-configured with a charging schedule which encourages charging when demand for electricity is lower.

  • Apply a random delay of up to 10 minutes at the start or end of a schedule.

  • Have smart functionality, such as the ability to send or receive information over a network, adjust the rate of charge in response to signals, and demand side response services.

Note: The new regulations only apply to chargepoints sold after the 30th of June, meaning existing domestic or workplace chargers installed on or before this date aren’t affected. Additionally, they only apply in England, Wales and Scotland, with further security requirements due to follow at the end of 2022.

Tip: All Pod Point chargers will get the new random delay on schedules.

What are the Smart Charging Regulations?

With more drivers turning to electric cars in the UK, the government has designed the new regulations to set out in law what capabilities home and workplace chargers should have.

One of the key new measures is the focus on smart charging functionality to allow chargepoints to charge when there’s less demand on the grid or when greater renewable energy supply is available.

The regulations have also been designed to give end-users more detailed information and statistics on their charging events, as well as additional security protection.

Why did they happen?

The widespread adoption of EVs in the UK forms a key part of the government’s strategy to reach net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2050. This includes support in the form of financial grants targeting homeowners and businesses, as well as changes to Building Regulations.

While the rise in electric cars presents a potential challenge to the nation’s energy grid, it’s been assured that the grid can meet this demand - but only if EV charging is spread out across a wider timeframe.

By creating a more flexible energy system, the grid will be able to support the UK’s transition to EVs. The changes also promote the use of smart charging and associated flexibility that will allow for easier integration of clean, renewable electricity into the grid.

In this way, the new regulations seek to raise standards in the EV charging industry and enable an intelligently managed and future-proofed energy ecosystem.

What are the key features of the regulations?

1. Default charge schedule

New chargepoints must now come with a pre-configured default charging schedule. This new schedule only charges EVs during off-peak hours when there’s typically less demand for energy, which is outside:

  • 8am - 11am Saturday and Sunday.

  • 4pm - 10pm Monday to Friday.

This has a number of benefits. Firstly, it ensures your EV will charge during the most cost-effective time frame for anyone with a “Time of Use” tariff, with energy being cheaper during off-peak hours. This is because electricity demand is at its lowest overnight. But it also helps the grid operators by moving EV charging away from periods of high demand.

The key takeaway is that for chargepoints installed on or after the 1st of July, your car won’t charge outside of these times by default.

Tip: You can override this for Solo chargers by either setting your own schedule or turning off the scheduling feature using the Pod Point App. That way, you can still have a flexible schedule that works for your driving behaviour.

2. Randomised delay

Alongside the default charge schedule, chargepoints will also need to randomise the start or end of a charging session by up to 10 minutes*.

This is needed to protect the grid and local substations from surges in demand, such as at the beginning of the default schedule when everyone’s chargepoint activates and their EVs start charging. Similarly, it prevents unexpected surges like a power outage or loss of internet connection.

Instead, the demand is spread out with a random delay of up to 10 minutes*, meaning your charger may not start or end its charging session immediately.

This could result in you losing out on a few minutes of a lower electricity rate, but it’s necessary to protect the energy grid and keep EVs charging.

*This could be increased by up to 30 minutes by energy companies, although we’re yet to see any indication of an intent to make use of a longer delay.

Tip: You can also override the random delay by either:

  • Temporarily disabling the charge schedule, or;
  • Unplugging your EV and reconnecting it to the chargepoint.

3. Increased transparency on charging stats

    Drivers now have to be able to see additional information on their charging sessions. These new stats include:

    • The total time within a charging session that power flowed between chargepoint and vehicle (including the amount of energy supplied in kWh).

    • All your charging events in the past over the last 12 months, which can be viewed individually or grouped by week, month, or year.

    Tip: You’ll only be able to see this new information for charges made from the 4th of April (this is Pod Point specific).

    Other requirements

    Other requirements from the new regulations include:

    1. Smart functionality - chargepoints must be able to allow drivers to charge their EVs at periods of lower demand, or when there’s more clean energy available. They also need the ability to send and receive information across a secure network.

    2. Demand side response services - chargepoints must be able to defer charging/vary its rate in response to external signals. This will allow energy firms to offer additional services, such as variable rate electricity pricing when demand is lower or renewable energy supply is higher.

    3. Electricity supplier interoperability - chargepoints must be able to retain their smart functionality even if the user changes to a different electricity supplier.

    4. Loss of communications - chargers must continue to charge the vehicle even if it loses its connection to the user’s communications network.

    5. Safety features - users must not be able to carry out any operation that risks their or someone else’s health and safety.

    6. Statement of Compliance - all chargepoints sold must now include a State of Compliance document that demonstrates its compliance with the new regulations. This also needs to include details of the manufacturer and the installer.

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