Amid the UK government’s ambitious plans to raise uptake of electric vehicles, Bureau Veritas has stated that electric car charging infrastructure represents a ‘huge growth area’ for the industry following the recent introduction of the 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations.
According to latest figures, the UK needs at least 100,000 EV charging points by 2020 – a six fold increase on the 16,500 currently available – in order to provide adequate infrastructure for the one million low-polluting vehicles expected to hit the roads over the same period1.
And with a raft of companies, including budget supermarket giant Lidl2 and the UK electric charging firm Chargemaster3, recently announcing plans to invest significant sums in building a network of charging points across the UK and Ireland, hotels, office car parks, retailers, business centres and universities are all set to be upgraded with the infrastructure necessary to achieve this.
As such, it means there has never been a more lucrative time to train in the installation of EV charging points, says Nathan Cliff, electrical principal engineer for electrical systems at global certification expert Bureau Veritas.
He comments: “For years we’ve heard that electric cars are the future. However, only recently have we seen the UK government, with its pledge last month to invest £1.5bn in ultra-low emission technology4, and businesses make a concerted effort to create the infrastructure, such as charging points and battery storage to support this.
“Indeed, it’s great to see that the BS 7671 – IET Wiring Regulations 18th edition, published on 2nd July, clearly reflects this – setting out the most robust guidelines to-date on the practical installation of electric vehicle charging points. With an increasing number of hotels, offices, retailers and universities currently expanding their car parks to make room for this new infrastructure, it certainly represents a huge growth area for contractors and one they can take advantage of by getting up to speed on the new standard.”
One of the key challenges of installing an EV charging point in existing car parks is to consider whether there is water supply nearby and the safety implications that may bring. Hence, a notable recommendation in the edition, which will apply to all new and rewired installations after January 2019, is that all electrical vehicle charging points must be protected using a 30mA RCD and suitable over-current protective device.
In addition, Protective Multiple Earthing can also be used with an earth electrode as long as the open circuit voltage does not exceed 70V. Meanwhile, the units, which are required to be IP4X and mechanically protected for medium impact, must also include auto detection of potential between earth and main earthing terminal instead of auto close.
Nathan adds: “Whilst these new regulations are a welcome step forward in promoting the use of electric vehicles, for many contractors it’s a case of investing the time and resources to upskill in this new business area. This starts with understanding and putting into practice the changes the 18th Edition brings, which will no doubt be vital in creating the charging infrastructure that will be required.”
Bureau Veritas offers a range of testing and certification services for electric vehicle charging points. For further information visit www.bureauveritas.co.uk