In the UK, we have seen a demand for cleaner energy and cleaner technology for decades, every year making progress towards a carbon-neutral goal. In 2019, the government set an official ‘net zero’ goal for greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 which, for many, was a call to action to increase the production of greener technology.
One of the biggest advancements in this technology was the rapid growth of the Electric Vehicle (EV) market. This sudden spike in the demand for EV’s, both fully electric and hybrid, has led to an ever-increasing need for charging facilities. This has only been intensified by the government ruling that all sales of non-electric cars are set to be banned in the UK from 2030 (2035 for some hybrid vehicles).
More and more of the public, as the years go on, will need access to rapid charging facilities when away from home to top up their EVs while on the go. More importantly, though, customers need a way of charging their cars at home, likely overnight, so they are ready for the day ahead.
Legislation of what is required from an EV charge point has been evolving over the years, with requirements being added such as insisting the chargers sold be smart, load management and, most recently, have preprogrammed shut off times to help reduce the strain on the grid.
In order to future proof new build properties, the government has once again stepped in to give guidance in the form of building regulations. The full and formal introduction of the new Approved Document is set to be at the end of 2021 and will set out the full list of requirements for what building developers will require from an EV charging point. This new document will be known as Part S.
The soon to be introduced building regulation has had very little information available to help guide developers and manufacturers. Companies like GL, who have been working hard to compile a list of likely requirements, have only been able to advise customers so much from the data available, that is until the release of the NHBCs latest document “Plugging into the future”.
The main requirements for an EV charge point for new build properties and are advised guidance for charge points in existing properties include minimum power, security, safety and location.
The first thing to look at when considering a car charger is if it complies with the necessary British Standards. In order to be sold in the UK, a charger must comply with the appropriate parts of BS EN 61851-1, which outlines the general requirements for electric vehicle conductive charging systems. This information will usually be located in the manufacturer’s documentation.
The minimum charge point power will be 7kW, which is the most powerful charger that is available on single-phase power (which is the standard for most houses in the UK). This means that less powerful ‘trickle chargers’ will no longer be allowed to be installed in new properties ensuring that the customer can charge their car overnight rather than having to wait almost 24 hours to fully charge.
The unit should be untethered, meaning it does not have a connected cable and instead has a universal connector. This allows the customer to charge any type of car using the charge point, rather than being limited to the type of cable provided. Furthermore, the safety components of the charger must be contained within the unit itself as the safety of customers should rely on the use of an external device.
There is also guidance on where you locate a charge point. This mainly is to comply with the Equality Act 2010 as well Part M of Building Regulations. These pieces of legislation require car chargers (much like light switches) to be located such that everyone can use them without the issue of being too high or too low.
The final requirement, which applies to all car chargers, is that they must be ‘smart’. The meaning of this is quite simple, the charger must be able to communicate with the car. This allows the owner to manage when and how much power to give to the charger, which can also be done automatically through the software, otherwise known as dynamic load balancing. This load balancing ensures that, when energy usage is high, the amount of power sent to the car is limited in order to prevent the stain on the grid.