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Electric vehicles – charging infrastructure legislation

Posted: 21/12/2021


Following the Prime Minister’s announcement that electric vehicle (EV) chargers will be required by law in new buildings (residential and non-residential) and buildings going under major renovation, we look into the charging infrastructure requirements currently legislated and upcoming proposed legislation on smart charging points.

Key points to consider

Charging infrastructure requirements will not only be of interest to charge point suppliers but also any developer, commercial entity, public body and consumer looking to contract with suppliers to ensure compliance. The key points to consider are:

  • new buildings and buildings going under major renovation will require charge points with a minimum power rating of 7Kw
  • real time information required to check the amount of charge consumed and to set a charging schedule (to take advantage of off-peak electricity rates)
  • minimum technical standards set out in the applicable British Standards referred to in the regulations
  • cyber and data requirements based on EN 303 645, a European cyber security standard, to be mandated
  • current enforcement rules include the power to inspect, test and remove any non-compliant charging points and issue penalties of up to £4,000 for any non-compliant charge point. Proposed enforcement rules for smart charging requirements will increase the penalties to £10,000 per non-compliant charge points on sale

Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulations 2017/897 – technical specification

Notwithstanding the UK’s departure from the European Union, the UK has in respect of EV charging infrastructure retained the regulations implemented in line with other EU member states. In the UK, this is the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulations 2017 which came into force on 9 October 2017 and implemented the requirements of the EU Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive[1].

The landmark regulations set out the technical specifications for “normal power recharging points” of 3 to 22 KwH (as commonly used for slow to fast charging with an AC type 2 cable) and “higher power recharging points” of above 22 KwH (as commonly used for rapid charging on average 50 KwH up to 350 KwH for both AC and DC connectors).

It should be noted the Government’s recent announcement on charge points mandated for new buildings and buildings going under major renovation sets out that the minimum charging rate will be 7Kw which will a significant boost from existing slower chargers.

In addition, the regulations introduced “intelligent metering and ad-hoc access” requirements which provided for real time information to be communicated (normally via a phone app) and for access to a charging point without needing a pre-existing contract (essentially a pay as you go option). The regulation also set out enforcement powers for non-compliant charging points, including the ability to issue fines.

Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2018 – smart charging proposals

The UK Government subsequently passed the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act (AEVA) which came into force on 19 July 2018[2] which granted the Secretary of State to make a broad variety of regulations to supplement the requirements of the current regulations.

The government issued its final response on 14 July 2021 on its phase one proposals on smart charging for future legislation[3]. The key points set out are:

  • scope: legislation will apply to private home charge points and only on the sale of charge points
  • definition: a charge point will have the ability to change the rate of electricity and set a charging schedule (to help consumers take advantage of off peak electricity rates).
  • cyber security and data privacy requirements to be mandated
  • vehicle to Grid/Vehicle to Everything: functionality for vehicles to export unused EV electricity back to the grid and other bidirectional recipients of energy (for example back to a consumer’s home)
  • enforcement: increased penalty for the sale of charge points not compliant with the legislation (note that installation is not covered) of £10,000 per charge point and £250,000 for obstruction by officers and false statements

Conclusion

At the time of writing, the UK has just over 25,000 public EV charging devices and on average an additional 500 new charging devices are installed every 30 days. The legislative framework on charging infrastructure requirements will continue to evolve and will be a vital tool in developing the infrastructure required to encourage businesses and consumers to adopt EVs. 

 

[1] The Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulations 2017 (SI 2017/897)

[2] Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2018 c. 18

[3] Government Response to the 2019 Consultation on Electric Vehicle Smart Charging, Department for Transport, July 2021


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