The Government’s ‘Road to Zero’ strategy aims to ensure that all new cars and vans are zero emission by 2040. In fact proposals to bring forward the end to the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars and vans from 2040 to 2035 (or earlier, if a faster transition appears feasible) are currently under consultation.
However, many drivers are still deterred from buying electric vehicles (EVs), partly due to a perceived lack of charging infrastructure. The Government is seeking to address this issue through various initiatives including the Rapid Charging Fund which was announced in the March 2020 Budget as part of a £500 million commitment for EV charging infrastructure. The aim is to ensure that there is a rapid charging network ready to meet the long-term consumer demand for EV chargepoints ahead of need.
In Q3 2019 the Government consulted on proposals to require many buildings with associated car parking – including certain restaurants, pubs and hotels – to install chargepoints by 2025, and some early movers are already leading the way. For example, in November 2018 Marston’s Inns and Taverns announced plans to install 400 rapid EV chargers at sites nationwide, in May 2019 Ei Group said it would be installing charging facilities in its pub car parks as well as at its Solihull support centre (for use by the company’s field-based drivers), and in June 2020 McDonalds announced plans to install rapid EV chargers at hundreds of its Drive Thru restaurants in the UK.
The outcome of the consultation has yet to be published but the proposals would require new non-residential and residential buildings, those undergoing major renovations and some existing non-residential buildings to have EV chargepoints.
Specifically, the Government proposes that:
- every new non-residential building with more than 10 parking spaces and every non-residential building with more than 10 parking spaces that is undergoing major renovation is to have at least one chargepoint plus cable routes to at least one in five parking spaces. These requirements will mean that EV drivers can have confidence that the building will have at least one chargepoint from the outset, and as demand for EV charging grows it will be easier to install further chargepoints in the future. The Government notes that the integration of cable routes at the time of construction can make the installation of chargepoints at a later date around £1,000 less expensive than retrofitting;
- existing non-residential buildings with more than 20 car parking spaces are to have at least one chargepoint by 2025;
- every new residential building with an associated car parking space is to have at least one chargepoint. This includes buildings undergoing a material change of use to create a dwelling; and
- residential buildings with more than 10 parking spaces that are undergoing major renovation are to have cable routes to every parking space.
The majority of these changes are to be implemented through amendments to the Building Regulations 2010. However, it has been suggested that a national standard may instead be set, leaving it to the discretion of Local Planning Authorities to implement such changes, where they deem it technically achievable.
The Government’s consultation document can be viewed here . On page 19, it contains a useful flowchart which summarises the process for installing EV chargepoints.
Simultaneously, the Government consulted on its proposal to require all new chargepoints sold or installed in the UK to have smart charging functionality. Such ‘smart’ chargepoints are capable of controlling the time of day when a vehicle charges and/or modulating the rate of charge so as to help manage the impact of EVs on the electricity system and maximise the use of renewable electricity. For example – you plug in your EV when you get home from work at 7pm; you tell your chargepoint you need a fully charged car by the time you leave for work at 8am the following morning; at 7pm the electricity available on the system is expensive as demand is high so your chargepoint stays idle; at 2am it’s very windy in the North Sea and lots of offshore wind farms are generating electricity; your chargepoint recognises the availability of clean, cheap electricity and starts charging your car.
The consultation document can be viewed here
The Government hopes that its proposals will result in thousands more chargepoints across the UK, providing one of the best EV charging infrastructure networks in the world.
Our specialist Energy & Waste team are able to advise on EVs and EV charging infrastructure, and are monitoring the progress of the consultations described in this article. Please contact Clare King, James Larmour, Jason Richards or Kirstin Roberts for more information or if any project you are working on involves an EV, energy or waste management element.
The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the present time and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.