The government is currently exploring changes to planning regulations. Changes which will see electric vehicle chargers become a standard requirement in all new build homes and other buildings.

The goal of the proposed changes is to increase EV (Electric Vehicle) ownership, while simultaneously moving us closer to achieving zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The question is, will such a move significantly contribute to the Road to Zero strategy?

The Electric Vehicle Charging in Residential and Non-Residential Buildings consultation, suggests the following:

  • New residential buildings with a car parking space must have an EV charge point. The consultation also includes buildings which will be converted into a residential dwelling.
  • Residential buildings which are undergoing a significant renovation, with more than ten car parking spaces, must also have at least one charge point. Cabling for EV chargers should also be made available to every parking space.
  • New, non-residential buildings and all non-residential buildings undergoing significant renovations, which have more than ten car parking spaces, must also have one EV charger and cabling for a ChargePoint at one in five parking bays.
  • All non-residential buildings with more than 20 car parking spaces must have at least one EV charger installed by 2025.

The proposed changes would see England become the first country to make EV chargers compulsory in all new homes — a move welcomed by all in the EV industry.

We know that growth within the EV sector is strong. In 2018 we saw an 18% increase in EV sales. However, electric cars still only account for just over five per cent of all vehicles on the road, and much more needs to be done to help this figure grow.

The government recognises that most EV charging is currently done at home. By making such changes to planning regulations, the government hopes it will help increase sales of electric vehicles. The government also claims “this policy would increase yearly demand for domestic chargepoints significantly from c.20,000 to c.110,000 in 2020.” This figure is based on the assumption that 88,000 new homes will be built in the scope of Regulations, and also factors in homes that may be retrofitted.

However, are the people in favour of such a move? The AA recently conducted a study on Electric Vehicles and found that:

  • 68% of those surveyed support the idea of charge points being installed as standard in all new homes with their own off-street parking.
  • 65% of those surveyed support the idea of charge points being installed as standard for all new homes with allocated parking nearby.

The same study also surveyed drivers for the top reasons which prevent them from making the switch to an electric vehicle. The top three reasons are listed below:

  • 35% – EVs cost the same (or less) than petrol/diesel
  • 33% – Real-world range > 250 miles on a single charge
  • 27% – A lot more charging points where I park

As you can see, an increase in EV charging infrastructure came third — the price of vehicles and the real-world range of EV’s both topping the number of charge points.

The government’s attempts to increase EV uptake on the Road to Zero are to be commended. However, perhaps what we really need is manufacturers to improve the pricing and real-world range of electric vehicles rapidly.