There have been some important updates to EV charging in recent times. We sit down with NICEIC’s Head of Technical Services, Paul Collins, to learn more.
Q. WE’VE SEEN SOME CHANGES RECENTLY AROUND FINANCIAL INCENTIVES AND GRANTS FOR EV INSTALLATIONS. COULD YOU GIVE US A ROUNDUP OF THE HIGHLIGHTS?
There’s a lot to cover, but let’s give it a go. Starting with electric vehicles, the government has removed the plug-in-car grants available to consumers looking to purchase a new electric car. Introduced in 2011, the package was designed to stimulate demand, and initially offered £5,000 off the list price of an eligible vehicle. This figure came down over time, dropping to £1,500, before it was scrapped in June.
The scheme has helped boost the sale of EVs and plug-in hybrids from fewer than 1,000 in 2011 to more than 100,000 in the first half of 2022, and the government has taken the view that the market is now established and no longer needs financial incentives to kick-start things.
The good news, however, is that funding for the plug-in-van grant is still in place. The value of the plug-in van grant depends on the size of the van, but could see buyers benefitting from up to 35% off new vans. This is great news for any contractors considering the switch.
Moving onto the EV charging infrastructure. Up until April of this year, OZEV grants to help with the cost of installing electric vehicle charging points (EVCPs) focused on homeowners of single-unit properties (detached and semi-detached houses, and bungalows). Under the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS), qualifying homeowners could claim up to 75% towards the cost of installing a home charger.
In April, the EVHS scheme was replaced by the EV Chargepoint Grant (EVCG), which redirected the financial support to tenants, landlords, flat owner-occupiers and social housing providers. Offering up to £350 towards the cost of installing an EVCP, the scheme is set to broaden the opportunity and demand for those skilled in EVCP installations.
As an example, let’s look at social housing. Up until now, cost has been one of the biggest roadblocks when it comes to installing infrastructure. However, providers can now claim £350 towards the cost of an installation and can make up to 200 applications per year.
Furthermore, the scope for eligible businesses has also broadened. Previously only registered companies could benefit from the support package, which allowed for up to 40 applications per year. Now the rules have been expanded to include all business types, such as B&Bs (including Airbnb), charities and commercially let properties. All of this is designed to build market confidence and help businesses make the switch.
Q. MOVING ON TO POLICY UPDATES, WHAT HAS BEEN HAPPENING IN THIS AREA?
The grants and incentives are beginning to be underpinned by regulation. The most prominent example was, of course, the mandate that by 2030 the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles would end.
Another significant step was also seen with the introduction of Part S into the Building Regulations in England. Enforceable from June of this year, Part S made it mandatory for all new-build properties in England to have EVCP infrastructure built-in. The rule is also extended to properties undergoing significant renovations. The infrastructure in some settings needs to include a physical charging point, whereas in others, it just requires the infrastructure, such as wiring to support a charger should it be needed in the future.
Moves like these really do create a step change in the pace at which the demand for EVCP installation is set to grow.
Q. FROM A TECHNICAL STANDPOINT, WAS THERE ANYTHING RELATING TO EVCPS IN THE LATEST UPDATE TO BS 7671:2018?
Yes, Amendment 2 included a number of changes, such as introducing requirements for prosumers. It also included updates to Section 722 which discusses Electric Vehicle Charging Installations. NICEIC certified contractors looking for more information on this should check out the recent episode of THE WIRE which covered the topic in detail – www.niceic.com/events.
Q. IT SOUNDS LIKE THINGS ARE STARTING TO PICK UP PACE – WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS?
You have a pivotal role to play here, and the opportunities are vast and growing for those with the right skills. Your customers will increasingly be looking to you for advice and help to install EVCPs, especially as sales of second-hand EVs come into play.
For those who have already undertaken training, you will greatly benefit from your time investment. If you are yet to take the step, we would encourage you to consider it.
Q. FINALLY, WHAT’S NEXT WHEN IT COMES TO EV CHARGING IN THE BROADER SENSE?
To some extent, the crystal ball thinking is already playing out. Electric vehicles are increasing in number and do have the potential to become part of an integrated energy system within the home. Battery technology is also improving and already we are seeing 800 V systems (most of the vehicles on the road today operate on 400 V technology). Moving forward, this will present new opportunities.
Consumers are transitioning towards becoming ‘prosumers’ (producers and consumers of electricity), lessening their reliance on the National Grid.
Set against the backdrop of soaring energy prices, generating, storing and using your own green energy not only makes sense for the planet, but it also makes long-term financial sense. It will also provide some resilience should there be energy shortages in the future.
As part of this, integrating the car – not only as a means of transport but also as a powerful battery storage unit that can hold and transfer energy back to the home and/or the grid – will become more commonplace. Vehicle-to-grid technology is a reality and will continue to be rolled out by car manufacturers.
Again, I’d like to emphasise the role of the certified electrical contractor in this transition. By educating yourself and your team about prosumers and the associated technologies you’ll be better positioned to help your customers prepare for the future now.
To learn more about NICEIC’s range of training courses and dates, click here