Building infrastructure to support electric vehicles

The government has outlined this week, in a public consultation on changing building regulations in England, that all new-build homes could soon be fitted with an electric car chargepoint.  The consultation comes alongside a package of announcements to support electric vehicle drivers and improve the experience of charging. 

The proposals aim to support and encourage the growing uptake of electric vehicles within the UK by ensuring that all new homes with a dedicated car parking space are built with an electric chargepoint, making charging easier, cheaper and more convenient for drivers. 

The legislation would be a world first and complements wider investment and measures that the government has put in place to ensure the UK has one of the best electric vehicle infrastructure networks in the world – as part of the £1.5 billion Road to Zero Strategy. 

The government has also set out this week that it wants to see all newly installed rapid and higher powered chargepoints provide debit or credit card payment by Spring 2020. 

With record levels of ultra-low emission vehicles on our roads, it is clear there is an appetite for cleaner, greener transport. I know many local people are thinking about making the switch and with the recent good news that Jaguar Land Rover and Mini will be building more electric cars in the UK, prices are anticipated to become more affordable. 

Cornwall has the potential to play a significant role in electric car manufacturing because of the lithium dissolved in the hot water in our tin mines. The UK has already made a major commitment to becoming a world leader in the battery industry through its £274 million investment in the Faraday Battery Challenge and earlier investments through the Automotive Propulsion Centre. 

Cornish Lithium and partners have recently been funded to develop a UK supply chain to support the expansion of the U.K. battery industry. 

Home charging provides the most convenient and low-cost option for consumers – you can simply plug your car in to charge overnight as you would a mobile phone. 

The government has already taken steps to ensure that existing homes are electric vehicle ready by providing up to £500 off the costs of installing a chargepoint at home. Having supported the installation of almost 100,000 domestic chargepoints through grant support schemes, the government has also announced that it is consulting on requirements that all new private chargepoints use ‘smart’ technology. 

This means an electric vehicle would charge at different times of the day in response to signals, such as electricity tariff information. This would encourage off-peak charging, keeping costs down for consumers and better managing renewable energy generation. 

These measures are part of wider action from government to support the automotive industry, and the Prime Minister confirmed this week that Jaguar Land Rover will receive a £500 million loan guarantee from government export credit agency UK Export Finance. This will support the company’s design and manufacture of the next generation of electric vehicles and its export activities. 

First published in the West Briton 18/07/19