In Great Britain, as of 30th June 2022, it will be illegal to sell and install home and workplace charge points that do not comply with the Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021.
From then on, all charge points sold for domestic or workplace use will be required to have smart charging functionalities to help manage the increased energy demand on the grid from electric vehicles (EVs).
The new smart charging regulations apply to:
- Charge points in homes that are predominantly for personal use, but could also be rented out for public use.
- Charge points purchased by multi-unit property owners intended for use in shared parking lots.
- Charge points intended for workplace charging. This includes depot charging in the case of fleet drivers.
What is smart charging?
Smart charging is a cloud-based technology that enables data connections between your electric vehicle, charging operator, and utility provider to efficiently manage how and when you charge your car.
Typically it refers to load balancing, energy monitoring and “managed charging” when the charging power can be decreased automatically, so that it doesn’t exceed the grid’s limits and can optimize the cost of electricity for the EV driver.
Why the UK Government’s intervention is necessary
To achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, the Government is phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030. The Department of Transport predicts the number of hybrids and electric vehicles will be between 8-11million by 2030 if uptake is aligned with the Road to Zero (RTZ) targets. This will put significant pressure on the grid.
However, a smarter, more flexible energy system can help manage the increase in electricity demand.
At the moment, there are varied approaches, both in terms of technology and business models, to delivering EV smart charging. While this diversity is important for innovation, industry-set standards will ensure the needed grid and consumer protection, eliminating charge points with varying smart charging functionalities.
What will the smart charging regulations achieve?
Smart charging technologies are designed to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of energy consumption. Charging at home and workplaces happens during periods of high demand on the electricity system – for instance, when people arrive at work in the morning or at home in the evenings.
A smarter energy system can minimize peak demand and maximize the use of low-carbon renewable electricity, which is generated intermittently. Electric vehicles can support the transition to a smarter energy system by charging off-peak (overnight), reducing the need for investment in the electricity network.
These regulations aim to maximize the use of these smart technologies to protect the grid and benefit consumers with cheaper electricity rates in the transition to electric vehicles.
A look at the new charge point requirements in detail
The new regulations mandate that most domestic and workplace charge points sold in Great Britain will have the capability to smart charge, helping drivers take advantage of cheaper overnight energy tariffs. This incentivizes EV drivers to charge their vehicles during off-peak hours, when prices are lower. It is important to note that peak charging is not banned and drivers can choose not to accept the default settings. Drivers will be in control of when they charge but they’re less likely to do so during the hours when the grid is under the most strain because it’s more expensive.
Cyber data and security
New security and privacy requirements will apply from 30 December 2022 but once applicable, chargers will have protections for safety-critical functions and user notifications if there’s a cyberattack. Furthermore, all communications sent to and from the smart charger must be encrypted with protections in place for potential cyber-attacks. It must also be possible to delete any personal data that may have been entered into the charge point.
To ensure consumers are protected from vendor lock-in, charge points must not be configured in such a way that they would cease to have smart functionality if the owner were to change their electricity supplier.
Charge points rely on a communications network such as Cellular, Ethernet, or Wi-Fi to send and receive signals. Therefore, a charge point must be configured such that when it loses communications network connectivity it is still able to charge an EV, to ensure owners are still able to charge their vehicles.
To encourage drivers to charge at times of low demand, charge points are preset to switch off during peak hours (8 am-11 am and 4-10 pm on weekdays) to ease the pressure on the national grid. However, owners have the choice to override the default time as they will be informed and asked to confirm this setting during first use and may edit it at any point.
In conjunction with off-peak charging, charge points will also feature a randomized delay function of up to 10 minutes at the start of each charging session. This function will help reduce the risk of potential grid stability issues where large numbers of charge points switch on or off at the same time, for example when recovering from a power outage or in response to a ToU tariff. To avoid destabilizing the grid due to sudden spikes or drops in demand, the randomized delay will randomly defer off-peak charging sessions, and distribute demand placed on the grid and gradually Again, EV drivers will be able to override any delays.
Monitoring of energy consumption
These regulations set new requirements on how charge points monitor and record electricity consumption. This will help consumers track energy consumption and engage with their energy bills. A charge point must be able to monitor consumption data and provide a way for owners to review this information from the last 12 months.
Do these regulations affect public charge points?
The new regulations will not apply to public charge points including on-street charge points and destination charge points. Domestic charging accounts for the highest proportion of EV charging, therefore, the most appropriate course of action for phase one of Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021, is to implement smart charging where it offers the greatest benefit, which is in domestic, near home and workplace settings due to the long plug-in times.
What other changes are expected in the near future?
Phase Two of The Electric Vehicles Smart Charge Point Regulations 2021 is expected to be delivered by 2025. Its requirements will go beyond smart charge point devices to include charge point operators and electricity aggregators as well as updating device-level requirements set in Phase One.
How the new regulations will affect your business
As a charge point operator, smart charging is one of the most important tools you have to optimize your EV charging infrastructure. These regulations will ensure the adoption of smart charging capabilities which will allow you to optimize energy consumption, avoid costly infrastructure upgrades and efficiently distribute the available power in residential and workplace charging. Smart charging:
- enables limits on the consumption of energy. Charge point operators that offer charging to their employees or customers can ensure the balance between the building and the EV charging power requirements to avoid straining the grid and costly grid upgrades to meet power demands.
- allows you to monitor and manage charging remotely. Every time an EV is plugged in, the charge point sends information to the management platform about the charging time, speed, the local grid capacity, and how the energy is being used at the site. This data is analyzed and visualized in real-time empowering charge point operators to make informed decisions. If you want to open your charging points for public use, this data is critical to determine pricing, availability, and charging power to EV drivers.
- increase the utilization of your charging network. By opening up your charge point to offer charging at off-peak hours to external customers, you can maximize your ROI.
The new smart charging regulations are a positive step towards preparing homes and workplaces for an efficient and connected energy system, essential for driving down emissions.
As AMPECO strives to accelerate the transition to clean technologies in the mobility and energy sector, naturally, we welcome their introduction in Great Britain.
Smart EV charging is enabled by your EV charging management platform but it begins with the charging infrastructure. Once it allows for monitoring, management, and control of charging, the platform can then optimize the charging infrastructure by efficiently distributing the available power.
Implementing standards in charging infrastructure, therefore, is critical to allow easy communication within the ecosystem regarding power usage and smart charging transactions.
Comprehensive policy addressing EV charging is crucial to go alongside the growth of the EV market. In this context, smart charging aims to improve the efficiency and sustainability of increasing EV usage. The design of our solution at AMPECO is already focused in the same direction and can support compliance in a future-proof EV charging market.