Banner triangles

Turning housing on to support electric vehicles

This week the government has published two consultations in relation to electric vehicle charging infrastructure, following the road to zero strategy published in July 2018.

The proposals include a requirement that all new-build houses with a car parking space need to be fitted with a charge point – and this is likely to extend to any building undergoing renovation for residential use.

In addition, it is proposed that all new charge points have smart charging functionality, shifting the time of day when an electric vehicle charges or modulating the rate of charge at different times.

How are these proposals likely to be perceived by industry?

Robin Webb, Shoosmiths’ Mobility sector head comments:  “Improving access to charging facilities is good news for automotive brands. The lack of charging infrastructure is a significant deterrent for consumers when it comes to considering whether to make the switch to an electric vehicle (EV). We saw how 46% of respondents to a recent survey of 2,000 drivers by InsureTheGap wanted the ability to charge quickly at home, without adding significantly to their electricity bill.

“That said, there remain many challenges to overcome before EVs become universally adopted. For instance, it's not immediately apparent how households with multiple EVs will charge their vehicles overnight without the inconvenience of switching connections late at night. Equally, those living in urban environments need easy and safe access to on street charge points. We are still waiting for concrete engagement with these issues but the government’s latest moves will help to focus minds.

Bhavesh Amlani,Shoosmiths’ Living sector head said: “Any proposals which positively promote a greener future without excessive cost and/or undue impact on development viability are likely to be welcomed by developers, housebuilders and funders, as it will make their schemes more attractive to their target markets.

“Many housebuilders are already incorporating charge points into their new schemes – it’s on the way to becoming a routine offering.

“Potentially the impacts will be more keenly felt around procurement - will charge point equipment become a premium product, as we’ve seen with bricks? Developers may need to increase supply capacity to accommodate increased power demand, and will network providers be able to accommodate the additional demand? This is likely to all come out in the wash in terms of longer term strategic developments, but it’s conceivable that transitional arrangements may be needed to help all stakeholders uprate on supplies and innovate through design to ensure adequate power provisioning exists for their sites.”

James Wood-Robertson, Infrastructure and Energy joint sector head at Shoosmiths said: “This is a proactive policy proposal to push forward the rollout of charge points in the UK to meet an inevitable influx of electric vehicles over the next 5-10 years.

“The consultation comes on the heels of the government’s road to zero strategy and the launch of the government-backed charging infrastructure investment fund, which seeks to deploy £400m of investment into changing infrastructure over the next two years. It also coincides with significant investment in and acquisitions of charge point manufacturers and installers by investment funds and leading players in the petrochemical industry, joint ventures and tie-ups with car manufacturers and retailers. Plus there is a steady deployment of slow, fast and rapid charge points in residential properties and commercial sites across the UK.

“In addition to the views of housebuilders and charge point manufacturers and installers, we are keen to see the response to the consultation from transmission and distribution network operators on the risk of network capacity constraints and the investment required to overcome local shortfalls in network capacity, and also key bodies such as the energy systems catapult, particularly on how this policy plays into their whole energy systems approach to decarbonising the energy system.”

Background:

The government’s proposals are set out in two consultation papers. The first, entitled ‘Electric vehicle charge points in residential and non-residential buildings’ sets out proposals that:

  • all new residential buildings with an associated car parking space must have a charge point
  • every residential building undergoing major renovation with more than ten car parking spaces must have at least one charge point and cable routes for a charge point in every car parking space
  • every new non-residential building and every non-residential building undergoing a major renovation with more than ten car parking spaces must have one charge point and cable routes for an electric vehicle charge point for one in five spaces

These changes will largely be effected by amendment to the Building Regulations 2010 (SI2010/2214) and are intended to come into effect in the first half of 2020.

An additional requirement is proposed where there must be at least one charge point in existing non-residential buildings with more than 20 car parking spaces, applicable from 2025.

If you wish to respond to the consultation you should do so by 7 October 2019.  A link to the consultation paper is here.

A second consultation paper contains the proposal to ensure that electric vehicle charge points sold or installed in the UK have smart charging functionality included. This consultation also closes on 7 October 2019 and you can find a link to it here.

Disclaimer

This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given.

Insights

Read the latest articles and commentary from Shoosmiths or you can explore our full insights library.