By Charlie O’Donoghue, Head of UK Products at Easee
Every month the latest statistics on electric vehicle ownership in the UK are published.
In the first six months of 2022, more than 115,000 battery-powered cars and vans hit Britain’s roads according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. From small family hatchbacks to fleets of
electric vans – there are now well over half a million zero-emission vehicles across the country.
As the Government ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030 comes closer, and as battery technology evolves and improves, it’s unsurprising that more and more drivers are making the switch to driving an electric car.
But improvements in battery range and car manufacturers expanding the number of vehicles they supply are not the only changes happening in the market. Another small but significant change is around charging technology itself and how it is regulated.
The majority of electric vehicles are sold to people who will charge their vehicles at home. For the majority of us, this will be how we charge our vehicle most of the time – on a driveway or in a garage.
The new regulations, which came into force at the end of June, mean every new electric vehicle charger that is purchased to be used at home has to pass a new set of standards in the UK – and everything
from how the technology works to its safety features is covered.
What do the new regulations for at-home chargers mean for consumers? First is quality. As electric vehicles themselves have improved, so have their chargers. New companies have emerged with more efficient charging and improved user experience. This is great for consumers in the long run, but it does mean that there is more variety than ever in the market, and it’s getting harder and harder to work out which charger is best for you.
These new regulations mean there is now a core quality standard, as well as a new set of mandatory safety features that all products sold in the UK now have to live up to. This is good for consumers and good for the industry.
Second is price. Everyone is seeing the cost of living increasing, and charging an electric car is no different. But over time, these regulations should cut some of those costs down. Every new charger will be automatically configured with smart charging technology and will be set to charge at night when electricity consumption is cheapest. These can be overridden if you need to charge quickly, but as standard your car charger will be working harder to save you more money.
Third is the planet. The UK has committed to reaching net zero by 2050, and every part of society has a role to play in meeting that ambition. Clearly, moving from a petrol-powered 4×4 to one that is battery-powered is better for the environment. But as the UK tries to cut its carbon emissions, technology is going to help us make small gains in our day-to-day lives.
The reason that charging is cheaper at night is the same reason it is also greener. When the national grid is being used most during the day, it’s powered by a combination of power sources. At night when it is used least, a far higher proportion is coming from renewable energy sources, like the UK’s wind farms. Your switch from petrol or diesel to an EV just got even greener.
These regulations don’t just mean benefits for consumers though. One of the main reasons the Government has introduced them is that it will improve how the national grid operates. Half a million cars now relying on the national grid is not an insignificant shift.
Spikes in the grid already happen when the nation collectively boils the kettle during a TV ad break, so just think what happens when hundreds of thousands of cars are collectively charged after you’ve commuted home from a day at work. As demand for EVs rise, smart charging technology will even out the charging so that overnight it is done as efficiently, as cheaply and in as green a way as possible.
At Easee, Norway’s leading electric vehicle charging company, we’re backing the Government’s new regulations all the way. As a company we want to help shape the future of electricity and help more people to transition to electric vehicles in as accessible a way as possible. These regulations may mean changes for some manufacturers but for consumers and the planet, it’s an important step in the right
Charlie O’Donoghue is the Head of UK Products at Easee, a leading provider of electric vehicle chargers across the UK and Europe.