Gaps in new charge point regulations disappointing

The fleet industry has welcomed new requirements forcing developers to install electric vehicle (EV) charge points, but say they fail to help employees who don’t have a driveway, and they allow developers to install the cheapest charge points, rather than the ‘smartest’ or fastest.

The legislation applies to new homes, supermarkets, and workplaces as well as buildings undergoing major renovation. The Government estimates that up to 145,000 extra charge points will be installed across England each year thanks to the rules.

However, the Department for Transport (DfT) response to its four-month consultation on charge points in residential and non-residential buildings, published last month, only focuses on properties with off-road parking.

Meanwhile, Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) estimates that, while 40% of drivers do not have a driveway, for commercial vehicle drivers, the figure is closer to 70%.

AFP wants to create a national corporate database of postcodes for staff without the ability to install a home charger and then work with charge point providers and local authorities to ensure that kerbside charging solutions are made available where required.

Logistics UK say that while they welcome regulation to increase the number of charge points, they want a centralised, smoother payment system for commercial drivers: “With the government announcing a commitment to make it easier to pay for charging, Logistics UK is pressing them to introduce a centralised billing system for commercial operators which would make payment for businesses as seamless as possible.”

In an interview with Fleet News, Duncan Webb, head of fleet for UK and Ireland at ISS, said the Government has missed a trick by not getting developers to invest in kerbside charging. “It would have made a difference to far more people than just the new home-owners,” he said. “If, for every house you built, you had to build three kerbside chargers, you’d have four million chargers in the next 10 years and that would be really transformational.”

The Government says that charge points installed as a result of these regulations should have a minimum charging power of 7kW, be at least Mode 3 (smart) or equivalent and be untethered.

Lorna McAtear, fleet manager at the National Grid, says she and a lot of fleet industry colleagues were “disappointed” with the scope of the announcement.

“What we all wanted was EV-ready,” explained McAtear. “The cables are in, but you get to choose (the charge point).”

She is concerned that developers will choose the “cheapest” devices, not the ‘smart’ infrastructure people really want. “I think it’s a great step in the right direction, but it didn’t go far enough.”

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