Changes to smart electric vehicle (EV) charging regulations come into effect Thursday, June 30. The government is regulating electric vehicle charging stations sold in Britain to manage the increase in demand for electricity as motorists move away from petrol-powered models.
There were twice as many hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles on our roads in June 2021 compared to the end of 2019. And since most electric vehicle charging is likely to take place at home, the government is taking steps to ensure that the power grid can keep up with demand.
Below, automotive experts from Rental Options outlined three key things EV drivers need to know about the new smart charging regulations.
All new charging stations must have one important feature
All new charging stations must have a data connection and must have the ability to measure, record and report usage, both in minutes and in units of energy.
The connection must also be able to delay the load or slow it down during times of high network demand. Charging station manufacturers will also have to provide a user interface for drivers, such as an app.
New charging stations will be pre-configured to avoid charging at peak times
Designed to encourage smarter behavior, the new EV charging stations will be pre-configured to avoid charging during peak hours (8am-11am and 4pm-10pm on weekdays).
This is intended to lighten the load on the grid – the only exceptions are units that are configured to respond to periods of high demand, based on intelligence from energy providers.
It should be remembered that charging at peak times is not prohibited. EV drivers can choose not to accept factory presets and override these settings, even if they are remotely controlled.
They can also set their own charging schedules to take advantage of cheaper overnight rates – a feature not all plug-in vehicles have built in.
Charging will randomly delay off-peak charging sessions by ten minutes
As part of its 18-month smart charging trial that involved 700 drivers, Electric Nation noted an increase in electricity demand at 10 p.m. as charging stations came online after peak hours.
In order to prevent this, the new units will randomly delay off-peak charging sessions by ten minutes and allow utility companies to extend this duration by up to half an hour if network demand is high.
Mike Thompson, director of Rental Options explains “The Electric Vehicle (Smart Charging Points) Regulations 2021 will come into force on 30 June 2022. These regulations will set the minimum standards for all home and workplace charging points sold in England, Scotland and in Wales from that date.
“The most important things EV drivers need to be aware of are changes to charging station data and connectivity, new off-peak charging configurations, and staggered charging times.
“These new smart charging regulations do not apply to public charging stations, as these face different challenges in terms of supplying the network.”
Why should charging stations be regulated?
According to National Grid Group, the actual charging capacity of electric vehicles is not as big an issue as most people might think. By installing even more solar panels and using more energy-efficient appliances, peak electricity demand has been reduced by 16% between 2002 and 2020.
We estimate there is enough headroom for the projected 10% increase if everyone switches to electric cars, but that’s only as long as this demand is effectively managed.
The Ministry of Transport launched a consultation in 2019 to assess potential solutions as a first step in resolving any potential problems with grid power supply.
The findings helped inform an impact assessment in July 2021, which suggested smarter, regulated pricing could deliver a range of benefits, including:
- Defer costly network upgrades, which would be required to increase peak capacity
- Helping Drivers Use Cheaper Nighttime Energy Tariffs
- Standardization of charging station functionality between different manufacturers