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Ten takeaways from the new EV charger regulations
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Hello, I’m Tom Riley and welcome back to The Fast Charge, a British EV newsletter.
Top story in today’s edition… The public charger regulations have arrived and I provide my top ten takeaways from them. Elsewhere… the OBR predicts a £13 billion tax shortfall due to EVs, and Mr Bean is back talking up hydrogen. Further down, I’m also exploring a guest columnist slot for this publication.
As ever, if you have any thoughts or comments, please do get in touch. My contact details are here or simply reply to this email.
Ten takeaways from the public EV charger regulations
Background: Well, we waited a year longer than expected, but I guess better late than never, last week the Public Charge Point Regulations – first mooted in the Government’s EV Strategy in early 2022 – have been laid in Parliament.
Summary… As expected, these new regulations will provide EV drivers with a significantly better consumer experience when charging up at public devices. Here are my top ten highlights from the regulations if you missed them…
1. Contactless payments… Within one year, all existing and new public EV chargers with power over 8kW must enable the ability for people to pay via contactless payment. This means that operators will need to install terminals on chargers that currently don’t have this ability.
2. Roaming… Within two years, all charge point operators must ensure that all chargers are able to be paid for using a service provided by a third-party roaming provider.
3. Reliability… Within one year, operators of a network of rapid chargers (those above 50kW) must, on average, ensure their chargers are reliable 99% of the time during each year. A charger is considered to be reliable where it is either available, charging, or reserved. Likewise, it will be deemed unreliable during times it’s inoperative or out of order.
4. Reliability (part 2)… Part of the regulations say that charging networks will need to publish online information about their compliance with the UK’s reliability requirement. I wonder if some will decide to jump first before the rules come into effect.
5. Help and support… Networks will need to provide a staffed helpline available free of charge for 24 hours per day for each day of the year to allow drivers using or intending to use one of its charge points to seek assistance.
6. Pricing… After much debate about the right unit of measurement for EV charging, the government has said all chargers need to prominently display the per kWh cost on the charger, or on an accessible website.
7. Pricing (part 2)… Another stipulation in the rules is that networks do not increase the kWh price once the charging of an EV has commenced. Maybe a silly question, but how will that work with the various chargers now offering time-based tariffs? E.g. If I begin charging just before cheaper off-peak tariffs end, do I keep that price?
8. Live data… Within one year, all public chargers will need to provide data updates every 30 seconds so that people will be able to tell if they are available or not. This will no doubt make map tools much more useful.
9. Enforcement… Alongside the new regulations, there is a raft of powers that will mean the government can investigate, penalise, or seize charging networks not meeting the rules. There are also varying financial penalties which seem tough. Namely, a maximum of £10,000 for each charger breaching the above laws, £10,000 for a network not meeting the reliability requirements, and up to £250,000 for not reporting annually to DfT.
10. Excluded… Interestingly, in the regulations, chargers that can only be used by specific vehicles don’t count as public chargers. So presumably this means most of Tesla’s Supercharger network gets a free pass? At present, only a handful of Tesla’s 1,000 chargers are available to the public – with the vast majority still being specifically for Tesla vehicles.
Consumer response… There wasn’t a dry eye in the EV community when these regulations were published last week. James Court, CEO of the EV Association for England, said on the day to Transport + Energy: “I am delighted to see these regulations passed. If we want more people driving EVs then charging needs to get better. Of course, we will need more chargers, but this will go a long way to improving the experience of charging.”
Network response… Ian Johnston, chair of ChargeUK which represents the networks, welcomed the regulations, commenting: “The public charging industry is committed to making the UK the best place to charge an EV. Consumer confidence in charging infrastructure is vital and we look forward to working with government to implement these regulations over the coming months.”
Want to read them for yourself? Find the full regulations here.
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Latest EV news…
💰 In its latest report, the Office of Budget Responsibility has said that the acceleration of EV adoption towards 2030 is on track to cost the Treasury £13 billion annually in lost fuel tax – this is something the government will have to tackle at some point, perhaps with road pricing. The same report suggested the UK was further ahead of other nations with its EV adoption, including the US. Read more.
🚘 New analysis by Transport & Environment has found that if the UK were to encourage smaller EV usage, rare earth metal consumption could reduce by 49%. Basically, we need to end our love for SUVs. Read more.
😎 The one car I wanted to see at Goodwood which I didn’t get to is the MG Cyberster – the first proper sporty electric convertible. Starting price is from £55,000 – which is pretty affordable considering the market. It also has scissor doors. Enough said. Learn more.
🏭 Speaking of Goodwood, Rowan Atkinson was there and driving a hydrogen fuelled Toyota Yaris up the hill climb. In a post-appearance interview, he again spoke very enthusiastically about hydrogen – we can no doubt expect him to be a regular defendant of H2. I responded to some of his comments on TikTok here – leading to 150 comments in return.
😮 A quote about planning challenges by Osprey CEO and ChargeUK Chair Ian Johnston in April went viral on Twitter last week after being shared by the think tank Britain Remade.
🎉 Speaking of Osprey, they opened a new hub in Nottinghamshire last week. Read more.
👷 Rapid charging network Instavolt, the UK’s biggest, last week revealed plans for a new ‘super hub’ north of Winchester that will be Britain’s largest. I think the current biggest is Oxford’s Superhub. Read more.
🙅♀️ A survey of 2,000 EV drivers by charging app Bonnet last week revealed that only one in ten electric owners are women – further underlining the huge gender gap that exists. Read more.
💡 ubitricity has been chosen to install 310 new lamppost chargers across Redbridge over the next few months. Read more.
⚡ Big news from Tesla last week which announced it would be launching a retail energy division – called Tesla Electric. If you fancy a career move, Tesla is actually hiring someone to head up its operations/launch. See here.
☀️ Talking of Tesla, to celebrate 10 years of Supercharging in Europe, they have launched a series of driver events in the UK called ‘Electric Summer’. Details here.
⚒️ Good feature by the Financial Times last week about whether Cornwall will have a lithium boom. Read here (gift link for first few clickers, then paywall).
🚚 A new scheme in London will see chargers installed by Believ be made available to local businesses looking to go electric under a shared arrangement. Read more.
📣 Following the onslaught of anti-EV stories recently, the Fully Charged Show and campaign group FairCharge have joined forces to combat ‘misinformation’. Their joint initiative – branded as StopBS (aka. Stop Burning Stuff) will see both organisations rapidly rebutting future negative stories using infographics and placing spokespeople on the media. Read more. I wish them luck.
🔥 ARUP, the global design consultants, have developed new guidance, on behalf of the Department for Transport, to address the concerns over fire risks of EVs in car parks. See here.
🤓 The next batch of government EV statistics will be published on 26 July. Save the date.
📊 Today there is a big story in The Times about how German carmakers are cutting back production on EVs (here, paywall). However, despite this yesterday VW revealed figures suggesting their all-electric deliveries increased by 50% in the first half of this year – compared to last. What to believe. Read more.
⚠️ More scaremongering by the Daily Mail as they’ve cried that EV wheels produce up to 20% more pollution than their petrol equivalents. Read more. And also the Telegraph have similar data here. However, note, there is a genuine point here – albeit overly dramatised – that tyres do pollute, and large/heavy vehicles are the worst culprits. As T&E analysis suggests above, maybe we need smaller EVs.
😂 Finally, shout out to my friend Jaan of the EV Universe newsletter (sign up here if not already), whose reporting on a Cox Automotive report managed to stir Tesla founder Elon Musk into making a ‘69’ joke – in relation to his market share – only for Cox to have got their figures wrong and downgraded that figure to 60%. Lol.
New guest column slot… ✍️
This newsletter goes out weekly in an email to subscribers with articles also going online here. With the publication now receiving many thousands of visits every month, I have decided to explore whether a ‘guest column’ slot might be popular.
What this would mean in practice is, if you had something to say on or about the EV sector – whether related to current news, your company, or perhaps a more radical opinion – then I will publish this as a standalone post with you listed as an author. These will then be highlighted in the weekly Tuesday newsletter. If interested to learn more, drop me a line.
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