Together an Electric Dream? Electric Vehicle Charging Consultations – An Update for Developers
Electric Vehicle Charging Consultation – A recap and recent developments
From 15 July 2019 to 7 October 2019 the Department for Transport and Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) ran a joint consultation on proposals to alter existing residential and non-residential building regulations to include provisions for electric vehicles (EV) chargepoints and associated infrastructure.
As broadly summarised in our 2019 article on the subject, the government outlined that:
- for proposed new residential buildings with more than 10 associated parking spaces, developers will need to ensure that ducting infrastructure is installed for every parking space;
- for proposed non-residential buildings (and buildings undergoing a major renovation or a material change in use) with more than 10 parking spaces, developers will need to ensure that at least one chargepoint is installed and ensure that ducting infrastructure is installed for at least 1 in 5 parking spaces; and
- from 2025, existing non-residential buildings with more than 20 parking spaces will need at least 1 chargepoint to be installed.
These changes will largely be implemented by amendments to the Building Regulations 2010, and will be enacted through the Electric Vehicle Charging Points (New Buildings) Bill (the Bill). The Bill has passed its first reading in the House of Commons on 21 June 2021 and is scheduled for a second reading on 22 October 2021.
Are there any exemptions to the requirements?
- non-residential buildings owned and occupied by SMEs; and
- non-residential buildings undergoing major renovations, where the cost of the chargepoint and cable routes installation exceeds 7% of the total cost of such renovation.
What grants are available?
For Businesses: The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS)
Any business, charity or public sector organisation can apply for this grant if they can declare that there is need for EV charging infrastructure or that they intend to encourage EV use amongst staff. In order to apply, you will need to be the owner of the property at which the chargepoint will be installed, or have the landlord’s consent to the installation.
The WCS application form is completed online and, if granted, you will receive a voucher which is valid for 4 months. You will then need to find an OZEV-authorised chargepoint installer to complete the work. They will submit a claim on the WCS portal and will receive a grant of up to 75% or £350 (whichever is lower) towards the cost of the installation.
Qualifying organisations can apply for funding through the WCS for up to 40 EVs across all of their operational sites, providing of course that the ‘need’ requirement is met.
For Local Authorities: The On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS)
This scheme is open to local authorities on a first-come, first-served, basis. OZEV has allocated £20m of funding for the scheme for 2021-2022. Funding is available for 75% of the capital cost of procuring and installing a chargepoint and an associated dedicated parking bay (if applicable). The main aspect for consideration by OZEV when allocating funds is that the local authority in question has considered value for money in the application and full evidence will need to be submitted with the application.
The scheme has now been running for 4 years and is intuitive and flexible to the demands of local authorities. To encourage uptake, for the 2021-2022 period, the maximum fund per chargepoint has been raised to £13,000 (where costs are particularly high) and there is now no minimum or maximum limit to the size of the project. During this period, projects must have a completion of no later than 31 March 2023.
Additionally, to encourage EV use, local authorities will be expected to:
- allow residents to park for free overnight between 6pm and 8am;
- ensure that chargpoints are accessible to residents; and
- ensure that chargepoints are available on a 24/7 basis.
There are additional expectations where chargepoint infrastructure is to be installed in an existing car park owned by a local authority, but these are beyond the scope of this article.
Electric Vehicle Smart Charging Consultation: Outcome
The Electric Vehicle Smart Charging Consultation ran from 15 July 2019 to 7 October 2019. One of the most significant proposals made in the consultation was the government’s intention to mandate that all new private chargepoints are “smart”.
In simple terms, “smart charging” allows for the collection of data which can be used by an operator to optimise how EVs are charged i.e. only charging an EV when it is considered most grid efficient and cost effective, during low-demand periods.
In the government’s response document, issued on 27 May 2021, the government confirmed that all new private chargepoints must meet the following criteria:
- have the ability to receive, process, react to and transmit relevant charging data;
- be able to monitor and record energy consumption;
- comply with minimum requirement relating to data security;
- be energy efficient; and
- have the ability to be accessed remotely.
It is welcome to see that the government is taking the issue of EV charging seriously, as should be expected given their net-zero ambitions. However, whilst these proposals should make some headway in ensuring future development is fit for a sustainable future, more focus needs to be applied to increasing EV consumer and business owner understanding of the direct and indirect benefits of EV uptake and addressing their concerns, especially around out-of-date perceptions relating to range and charging speed. Government mandates can only do so much, whereas development of a knowledgeable consumer market can do far more to put pressure on developers to ensure greater presence of EV charging infrastructure in their plans.
The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.
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