Power supply for electric car charging.

All electric car home chargepoints must be ‘smart’, government mandates

Image credit: Mykola Tsap | Dreamstime.com

Government-funded electric vehicle home chargepoints must include smart technology to help drivers limit costs from next month, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced.

From 1 July 2019, all chargepoints backed by the UK government's Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme must have “the ability to be remotely accessed and capable of receiving, interpreting and reacting to a signal”, according to the gov.uk website.

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

During the announcement, roads minister Michael Ellis 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.”

According to the DfT, not only does it help minimise peaks in electricity demands, but smart charging also makes it easier to match demand from EVs with peaks in supply from weather-dependent renewables, such as wind farms, maximising emissions and cost savings in the process.

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

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,” he added.

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

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

Under the strategy, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling unveiled proposals which included more money to fund charging infrastructure and the need to assess whether new homes and offices should be required to install charge points as standard.

In May this year, alternatively fuelled vehicles such as pure electrics and plug-in hybrids made up 6.6 per cent of the new car market, compared with 5.6 per cent during the same month in 2018.

Since 2013, the government has supported the installation of more than 110,000 domestic chargepoints through grants.

It was also in December 2018 when the UK government first declared that electric vehicle chargepoints that are taxpayer funded must all be equipped with ‘smart’ technology from this July.

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