From 30th June 2022, The Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021 will come into effect – this is a set of updated legislation to regulate the use of home and workplace charge points sold in England, Scotland, and Wales from that date.
Generally speaking, the rules won’t affect your ability to charge your vehicle in any huge way, but it’s important to keep up to date with all the latest legislation as electric vehicles become more popular. We’ll walk you through what the new regulations are, why they’re changing, and how they’ll affect you.
What is an EV home charger?
An EV home charger is a charging station specially designed to handle the high wattage required to charge an electric car. Installed in a convenient location such as the end of your driveway, these units allow you to charge your EV from the comfort of your own home, and usually work out cheaper than pay-per-use public charging stations, since you have full control over your energy tariff.
You can find out more about EV home chargers, including how to have one installed, here.
Why is it changing?
The government has committed to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and all new cars and vans must be fully zero-emission by 2035. This has led to a surge in electric vehicle usage as the nation makes the transition.
This rise in EVs has caused an increase in electricity demand, and so the new regulations aim to help manage the pressure on the National Grid – there will eventually be permanent upgrades to the grid to increase its peak capacity since EVs play such a role in the future of greener transportation. However, these upgrades are likely to be extremely costly, so the new regulations defer the cost and provide a more immediate solution.
There are other benefits too: the changes allow for the standardisation of charger functionality between manufacturers, as well as helping drivers to utilise cheaper overnight energy tariffs – this being especially important during the ongoing cost of living crisis, rising energy bills, and the uncertainty of the energy price cap. For example, being able to set your own charging schedules allows drivers to take advantage of cheaper overnight tariffs – not all plug-in vehicles have this functionality built-in, so standardizing the chargers evens the playing field and allows all drivers to save money on overnight charging.
There are a few changes, and you can read the full legislation here, but we’ll highlight the key changes to be aware of.
Data and Connectivity
One of the main updates to the regulations is the requirement for ‘smart functionality’. This is defined in the legislation as being able to send and receive information via a communications network, as well as having at least one user interface to alter the settings of your home charger.
Smart functionality gives you greater control over how you charge your vehicles, and the data connection allows the charger to slow down usage during periods of high grid demand. The required user interface will most likely come in the form of an app, where you’ll be able to set parameters for usage, charge times, and delays.
From 30th June, new EV home chargers will be defaulted to charge during off-peak hours, when other demands for energy are at their lowest. The legislation defines peak hours as 8am to 11am on weekdays and 4pm to 10pm on weekdays, so the new home chargers will automatically charge outside of these hours.
This has a number of benefits: encouraging off-peak charging allows the National Grid to balance its supply, meaning that there should be much fewer cases of the Grid being overwhelmed by demand. It’ll also mean that more drivers will benefit from cheaper off-peak energy rates since their vehicles will charge off-peak as standard.
It’s important to note that peak-time charging isn’t being banned – users will be able to override the default settings and charge when they need to, whether that’s on or off-peak. This new system just means that any new chargers will always charge off-peak unless you request otherwise, to encourage off-peak charging as standard.
With off-peak charging becoming the default, randomized delays are also being introduced to counteract any sudden surges of demand. For example, when it hits 10pm on a weekday, any vehicle plugged into a new EV home charger will begin charging, as the off-peak hours begin. However, if every charger powers on at the same time, then the Grid and local substations are likely to experience a sudden large pull of electricity.
To stop this surge, the legislation requires new charge points to include a randomised delay function of up to 10 mins at the start of each charging session. This delay staggers the start times of the chargers to prevent everyone’s charger from coming alive the moment the off-peak period starts, protecting the Grid and your local electricity substations from any sudden surges in demand when off-peak hours begin.
Once again, this function can be user-overridden if you’re in a hurry, but it’s best to allow the delay where you can for the benefit of the Grid and the nationwide delivery of electricity.
What other changes are planned?
There are additional security and privacy requirements being introduced too, but these measures won’t come into force until 30th December 2022.
All new chargers should have a ‘tamper-protection boundary’ included to guard the charge point’s internal components and keep the unit secure. To protect user privacy, all data sent and received by EV home chargers must be encrypted, and there should be an easy-to-use interface for drivers to delete personal data. If there is an attack on your charger, the new regulations require the charger to log this data and notify the charge point owner, whether the attempt is successful or not.
We’ve summarised the key parts of the regulations, but you can find the full description on the government’s legislation website, here. If you’re considering an EV home charger, head over to Halfords.com or pop into your local store to chat with one of our experts.
You want to go electric, you want Halfords.