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Electric Future: New UK Homes to Include Vehicle Chargers

Updated: Sep 8, 2022

Nina MacPherson reports on new legislation requiring newly built homes to include electric vehicle charging points.

Photo by Jonas Alert

Boris Johnson has announced that new legislation will be introduced requiring all newly built houses with off-street parking in the UK to feature electric vehicle charging points by May 2022.

At the annual conference of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in November 2021, Johnson said: “We have to adapt our economy to the green revolution.”

One of Theresa Mays’ last actions as Prime Minister was to sign into law the UK’s ground-breaking target of hitting net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, which has contributed the recently published energy white paper announced by Kwasi Kwarteng MP, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. This has motivated government plans to ban the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, allowing hybrid vehicles to be sold for another five years.

Net-Zero Future

The new law will make England the first country in the world with all new homes featuring electric vehicle chargers, putting the country at the forefront of addressing climate change when it comes to residential infrastructure supporting EV's.

It is expected that 145,000 extra charge points will be added to the network each year, encouraging buyers of new-build homes to make the switch to electric cars.

The government has already supported 250,000 home and workplace chargers, as well as pledging £350 million in funding for the electrification of UK vehicles and their supply chains and £620 million for EV grants and infrastructure.

Is It Enough?

There is concern from some that this plan is merely a drop in the ocean in terms of what needs to be done to meet the target of being a ‘zero emission’ country by 2050.

Nigel Pockington, CEO of Good Energy, has said: “Flexible charging at home and work during the day is going to be crucial to decarbonising… as will electric heating and solar power on 13.5 million homes. We hope to see these as part of the plans for new homes too.”

Former climate change secretary Ed Miliband also voiced concerns, saying:

“The government is failing Britain’s automotive companies and workers. Rather than step up to support the car industry in the global race for green technologies, ministers have stepped back and left manufacturers, workers and the public on their own, failing to take the action necessary to make the switch affordable for families hit by a cost of living crisis.”

Further concerns come from government ministers who think that increased demand on the electricity grid could cause blackouts.

However, Graeme Cooper, the director in charge of National Grid’s electric vehicle project, told The Guardian that fears over the UK electricity grid’s ability to cope with a boom in electric vehicle charging were unfounded. He said the grid operator was “confident that a faster transition is possible”, and that it is “suitably robust” to cope with a rise in electricity demand.

Concluding Comments

Despite these doubts, the government remains committed to its legislation, and in a bid to align the legislation with consumer interest, have created a free app called EV8 Switch. The app aims to provide practical tools and advice to drivers thinking about making the switch to electric, as well as calculating potential savings made through switching from a fossil fuel to an electric vehicle.

Installing a home electric car charger costs between £800-£1000, but savings can be made with help from the UK government whom, in conjunction with the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), are offering grants of up to £500 towards the cost of installing smart EV home charging stations.

The RAC's Director of EVs Sarah Winward-Kotecha has welcomed the move, but said more focus is needed on electric car charging in urban areas with no off-street parking. She said:

"It’s important to remember that a lot of new housing stock – especially in cities – doesn’t even come with any car parking at all, let alone provision for electric charge points. It’s for this reason that the RAC continues to call for the installation of rapid charging hubs to also be a priority."

Regardless of the difference in opinions on the new law, the UK Government and other world powers have a limited window to meet the targets set at COP26 for reaching zero-carbon emissions by 2050, and this could be a step in the right direction.


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