UK Government Consultation on EV Charging Infrastructure

Earlier this year the OECD’s chief Economist recommended “fiscal stimulus and investment in infrastructure”. Perhaps Theresa May was listening? I ponder that point because earlier this week the Department for Transport unveiled their “Plans for more charging stations to encourage low emission vehicles”. According to the accompanying press release:

As part of our ongoing commitment to making transport greener and improving air quality, the Department for Transport is consulting on a series of measures that will make chargepoints more accessible, making it easier for drivers to recharge as demand for low emission vehicles increases. The measures are due to be included in the Modern Transport Bill.

The government has pledged more than £600 million over this parliament to further boost the ultra low emission vehicle market, which is going from strength to strength after the number of new ultra low emission vehicles registered rose by 250% in just 2 years.

According to Chris Grayling, the United Kingdom’s new Secretary of State for Transport:

  • We are committed to making transport cleaner and giving even more drivers the option of using a low emission vehicle as we strive to improve air quality across the country.
  • Our ambition is for nearly all new cars and vans to be zero emission by 2040, and we are taking real steps to achieve this in the Modern Transport Bill. We now want to hear the views of businesses and the wider public.

That final bullet point is addressed by an announcement from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles:

This consultation seeks views on measures to support the uptake of ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs), proposed for inclusion in the Modern Transport Bill.

The proposed measures relate to refueling and recharging infrastructure for ULEVs and focus specifically on:

  • the consumer experience of infrastructure
  • smart charging – infrastructure and the electricity system
  • the provision of infrastructure

The consultation closes at 11:45 PM on November 23rd 2016, so if you have strong views on the UK’s EV charging infrastructure in general or “smart charging” in particular now is the time to start putting your thoughts on virtual paper before sending them to Chris Grayling.

Perhaps I’ll have to precis this blog for him, since the consultation document itself summarises the proposed measures in the Modern Transport Bill as follows:

Consumer experience of infrastructure

a) Power to require operators of publicly accessible chargepoints and hydrogen refuelling stations, and networks, to provide data in an open source format on the geographical location and live availability of charging and refuelling infrastructure

b) Power to require operators of publicly accessible chargepoints and hydrogen refuelling stations, and networks, to ensure consumers can use them without the need for multiple memberships

c) Power to require operators of publicly accessible chargepoints and hydrogen refuelling stations, and networks, to publish transparent and comparable pricing information

d) Power to specify minimum standards of design and functionality for new publicly accessible chargepoints and hydrogen refuelling stations and networks

Smart charging – Infrastructure and the electricity system

e) Power to require infrastructure installed for the purposes of charging EVs to have ‘smart’ functionality to receive, understand and respond to signals sent by energy system participants (e.g. Distribution Network Operators (DNOs), energy suppliers, National Grid or other third parties) for the purposes of balancing energy supply and demand, and to require any technological functionality in EVs necessary to ensure ‘smart’ functionality

f) Power to require that technical standards used by operators of chargepoints and networks comply with the requirements set out in these measures are available and implemented on an open access basis. This includes making publicly accessible the necessary protocols to allow the charging infrastructure to communicate, understand and respond to signals or grid balancing

Provision of infrastructure

g) Power to require that operators of motorway service areas (MSAs) ensure a minimum provision of electric and hydrogen fuels for ULEVs at MSAs

h) Power to require a minimum provision of electric and hydrogen fuels for ULEVs at large fuel retailers

i) Power to franchise hydrogen refuelling

I’m sure Chris will be interested to discover more about “technical standards used by operators of chargepoints and networks… implemented on an open access basis”. Perhaps he’d like to learn more about vehicle-to-grid technology too?

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