UK Legislation Will Require All New Homes To Have EV Chargepoints

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If pending UK legislation becomes law, all new home construction will include electric vehicle (EV) charging installations. New office buildings are part of the plan, too: they will need to provide charging infrastructure per every 5 parking spaces.

Starting in 2022, the new law will accelerate the rate of installations, which would move the current 500 charging point installations per month up to 700.

The EV legislation, first revealed last year, was newly deconstructed on Monday by Department for Transport Minister Rachel Maclean. “We will publish our consultation response on requiring all new residential and non-residential buildings to have a charge point, and we intend to lay legislation later this year,” Maclean explained. The Consultation, which was made available online for public comment, is a package of announcements to support electric vehicle drivers and improve the experience of charging.

“We also confirmed our intention to mandate that home and workplace electric vehicle chargers must be capable of smart charging,” Maclean added.

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The Consultation Description begins with the following language.

We are proposing to alter building regulations for:

  • new residential buildings to include requirements for electric vehicle chargepoints;
  • new non-residential buildings to include requirements for electric vehicle chargepoint infrastructure; and,
  • existing non-residential buildings to have electric vehicle chargepoints.

The UK legislation, billed as the first of its kind in the world, will require all chargers to be “smart” devices that will enable batteries to be replenished without overloading the grid. Such connectivity language in the UK legislation will have the effect of promoting the use of  overnight charging, so that a data connection can communicate with the car about best timing to plug into the grid.

Last year, the UK government announced it would inject £1.3 billion into scaling-up the rollout of charge points for electric vehicles in homes, streets, and motorways. As part of that initiative, individual households have received a $346 distribution to install charging devices, with the expectation that 200,000 new charging points will soon result.

Why Available Charging at Home & Work is Crucial

Easy access to chargers will be essential for the mass transition to EVs for personal transportation. They can help alleviate myths about driving EVs, and they have the potential to assuage numerous EV socioeconomic disparities.

  • At the moment, there aren’t enough reliable charging stations to accommodate a sudden increase in EV usage.
  • EV charging stations need to be as ubiquitous as gas stations have been for much of the 20th century.
  • Today, two-thirds of the electricity demand for EV charging is private, whether at home or in company parking lots.
  • It is much cheaper to re-charge electric cars at home. But about a third of households in Britain have no off-street parking, so it will be necessary for workplace or on-the-street charging to be available.
  • Any expansion of charging stations needs to focus on how to make home charging more equitable and accessible for middle- and lower-income people.
  • Range anxiety — a driver’s fear that their EV won’t have sufficient charge to reach their destination — continues to be a widespread concern for consumers who will need to make the switch from internal combustion engines (ICEs) to EVs. Yet nearly 77% of vehicles drove distances of 10 miles or less per trip, according to the 2017 National Household Travel Survey (the most recent available).

The UK’s Road to Zero Strategy is Underway

As major cities around the world initiate policies to ban ICE vehicles from their roads within the next 2 decades, the need for readily available EV charging becomes crucial. The UK legislation for homes to have a built-in electric car charging port is an integral component of the UK’s Road to Zero strategy. The UK has declared a ban on fossil-fuel vehicle sales starting in 2030 and has a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 to help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

The new charging points might be be as simple as a Level 2 charger in a suburban garage or as costly as a bank of DC fast chargers in an underground office parking lot.

Former Prime Minister Theresa May originally announced the Road to Zero target, saying the plans were ambitious but crucial for protecting the planet for future generations. The move will require substantial social changes such as more renewable electricity generation, phasing out new petrol and diesel cars by at least 2035, and a 20% cut in beef and lamb consumption.

“The UK kick-started the Industrial Revolution, which was responsible for economic growth across the globe but also for increasing emissions,” said Energy and Clean Growth Minister Chris Skidmore at the time the Road to Zero targets were outlined. “We’re leading the world yet again in becoming the first major economy to pass new laws to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050 while remaining committed to growing the economy — putting clean growth at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy.”

Net zero means any emissions would be balanced by strategies to offset an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, such as planting trees or using technology like carbon capture and storage.

Final Thoughts on the Upcoming UK Legislation

The UK legislation aims generally to support and encourage the growing uptake of EVs within the country. Specifically, the design ensures that all new homes and workplaces with dedicated car parking are built with electric chargepoints — making charging easier, cheaper, and more convenient for drivers.

Private and public charging represents an explosive market opportunity for participants in the rapidly evolving EV ecosystem, as sales of hybrid vehicles have a 2035 ban target in the UK, and recent sales reflect increased consumer interest.

UK sales for EVs in August, 2021 were as follows:

  • BEVs: 7,388 (up 32% year-over-year) — market share of 10.9%
  • PHEVs: 5,049 (up 72% year-over-year) — market share of 7.4%
  • Total: 12,437 (up 46% year-over-year) — market share of 18.3%

Meanwhile, gasoline vehicle sales were down 40.4%, and diesel vehicles sales decreased by 64.5% in August.

So far this year, more than 165,000 new passenger plug-in cars were registered in the UK, reaching an average market share of 15%.

  • BEVs: 92,420 (up 107% year-over-year) — market share of 8.4%
  • PHEVs: 73,156 (up 144% year-over-year) — market share of 6.6%
  • Total: 165,576 (up 122% year-over-year) — market share of 15.0%

Currently in Europe there are approximately 170,000 public charging stations, and this number is expected to grow to 2 million by 2025. Similarly, in the USA there are currently 24,000 public charging stations, with plans for more than half a million by 2025.

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Carolyn Fortuna

Carolyn Fortuna, PhD, is a writer, researcher, and educator with a lifelong dedication to ecojustice. Carolyn has won awards from the Anti-Defamation League, The International Literacy Association, and The Leavey Foundation. Carolyn is a small-time investor in Tesla and an owner of a 2022 Tesla Model Y as well as a 2017 Chevy Bolt. Please follow Carolyn on Twitter and Facebook.

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