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Government announces new requirements for electric chargepoints

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Roads Minister Michael Ellis has announced that all government-funded home chargepoints installed in the future must be ‘smart’.

From 1 July 2019, all chargepoints backed by the government Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme must have ‘the ability to be remotely accessed and capable of receiving, interpreting and reacting to a signal’.

It is hoped the move will help minimise the impact of electric vehicles on the electricity system and reduce costs for consumers by ‘encouraging off-peak charging’.

Michael Ellis, Roads Minister, said: “The government wants the UK to be the best place in the world to build and own an electric vehicle, with leadership and innovation helping us pave the way to a zero emission future.

“We’re in the driving seat of the zero emission revolution. Our new requirements for chargepoints could help keep costs down, ensuring the benefits of green transport are felt by everyone.”

Daniel Brown, policy manager at the Renewable Energy Association said: “As more of our power comes from renewable technologies such as wind and solar, it’s key that we increase the ‘flexibility’ of our energy system. Smart charging will be an important part of this in the future, allowing homes to benefit from new tariffs and from bill-reducing technologies such as rooftop solar and battery storage.

“We welcome this move and hope the Government go a step further in the future, by mandating the smartness of all new charge points including those installed in workplaces and in public locations.”

Marc Gaunt, UK segment lead for commercial buildings at power management company Eaton, said the Government announcement around chargepoints is a “clear sign of its drive to achieve a zero emission future”.

He believes the move to support smart charging is a recognition of the need to balance increased electricity demand, with existing available grid capacity, and the new challenge of decarbonisation and making renewable energy available 24-7.

However, he asks whether smart charging alone be enough to ensure that the estimated 11 million EVs expected to hit British roads by 2030 can be charged from existing electrical capacity in the home or at the workplace?

“The rapidly decreasing cost of battery storage as well as technological advances in this space means that energy storage is now a technically and commercially viable solution to help solve this dilemma, which is fully scalable for both residential and commercial applications,” explained Gaunt.

“Smart charging technology will help to reduce peaks in electricity demand and could reduce costs for consumers through off-peak charging, but we need to rethink the national network of charging facilities.

“Beyond roads, we must ensure the infrastructure is in place to meet high levels of consumer ‘away from home’ EV charging demand, with charging facilities at the workplace, in public car parks and at supermarkets.

“If the Government delivers in its plans to work alongside the transport industry, vehicles and charging methods will continue to be innovative and reliable.

“Further green policies will encourage investment in this space and this will go a long way to not just decarbonising the transport sector but also heating in the home and workplace in the UK and creating a cleaner, greener Britain.”

Approximately 200 chargepoint models, from 25 chargepoint manufacturers, have been confirmed as eligible after 1 July 2019. They can be found on the government’s online chargepoint model approval list.

In July 2018 the government published its Road to Zero strategy, requiring all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040.

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