Did you know that electric vehicles have been around since the early 1900s? After a century of improvements in battery technology, electric cars are finally hitting the mainstream. Policies encouraging their adoption are snowballing in the UK, thanks to the government’s world leading net zero target.
Landlords and developers should be considering provision for electric vehicle charging points in new and existing buildings.
The government has recently consulted on proposed changes to building regulations to include electric vehicle infrastructure requirements. If accepted, the UK is set to be the first country in the world to introduce mandatory chargepoints for all new homes.
The proposed changes are as follows:
Every new residential building with an associated car parking space should have a chargepoint. This would also apply to buildings undergoing a material change of use to create a dwelling.
Every residential building with more than 10 parking spaces undergoing major renovation should have cable routes for electric vehicle chargepoints in every car parking space.
Every new non-residential building should have one chargepoint and cable routes for a chargepoint for one in five spaces. This would also apply to buildings with more than 10 parking spaces undergoing major renovation.
Existing non-residential buildings with more than 20 car parking spaces would be required to have at least one chargepoint, applicable from 2025.
There are different charger types available with a range of power outputs, each suited to different applications. Faster charging would be required at a taxi rank, where cars may only be parked for a few minutes, than at an office block where cars will typically be parked for eight hours. Though charging time is affected by a range of factors, increasing the output from 7.4kW to 22kW could cut the charging time from 2.5 hours to under an hour.
Wireless charging is also coming, though the technology is some way off becoming mainstream. It has great potential for taxis, buses and car shares where frequent, on-the-go charging is required. Taxis will be able to charge up whilst waiting for fares and more vehicles can be charged simultaneously without the clutter caused by charging cables on the street. Small trials are beginning in the UK this year, with electric taxis in Nottingham being among the first vehicles to be adapted for wireless charging.
Electric vehicle chargepoints can also be integrated with renewable supplies, such as PV panels and battery storage, so it makes sense to consider them in conjunction with other green upgrades. Smart technology allowing for cheaper off-peak charging can further reduce carbon emissions by storing energy from technologies like wind which generate when there is low instantaneous demand, whilst also reducing pressure on the grid as electric vehicles become more widely adopted.
Futureproofing is an important consideration in such a rapidly growing and changing market. It is often advisable to incorporate capacity for additional chargepoints upon initial installation, as this will be cheaper than upgrading the system at a later date.
Now is a great time to take advantage of The Workplace Charging Scheme, which reduces the cost of installing chargepoints for eligible businesses, charities and public sector organisations. The scheme covers 75% of the cost (up to £500 per chargepoint), with companies able to claim for up to 20 chargepoints. Find out more here. As of July 2019, only smart chargepoints are covered by the scheme.
Update: From 1st April 2021 the grant is capped at £350 per chargepoint, but organisations can claim for up to 40 chargepoints.
We Can Help
Crookes Walker have recently been appointed to provide detailed design for a new car park at Birchwood Park in Warrington, which includes 25 electric vehicle charging points.
Whether you are putting in new car parking spaces or considering retrofitting chargers into existing spaces, we can help. Contact us to discuss your project.