Stuart Gilby, Operational Training Manager for Estates and Facilities Management at Develop Training, discusses the latest changes in electric vehicle charging installation legislation and the growing need for qualified installers, as well as the benefits of training for employers and employees alike.
Given the Government’s current net zero targets, EV charging installation is a skill that is rapidly becoming a priority within the construction industry. Broadly concerned with the installation of charging points for electric and hybrid vehicles, demand for EV charging stations in both the workplace and the home has grown significantly over the past few years.
In 2021, 190,727 new battery-powered electric vehicles (BEVs) were registered, a notable increase on the 108,205 BEVs which were registered in 2020, whilst demand for plug-in hybrid vehicles has increased by 590% since 2019. As a result of such consumer demand, the number of public charging points has increased by about 70% within the same time frame and demand is only expected to rise.
Recent changes to EV regulation
The fast-paced nature of the industry can mean that keeping up-to-date with changes and trends can be challenging. Earlier this year, the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) closed to homeowners who live in single-unit, semi-detached and terrace houses, remaining open only to homeowners who live in flats or those currently renting properties. Meanwhile, later this month on June 30, 2022, the Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021 is set to come into force to govern the type of charge points that can be fitted. As qualified electricians and installers, it is important to know what these changes will mean.
Beginning with the EVHS, anecdotal evidence suggests that the closing of the homecharge grant will see smaller companies start to install EV charging points. Previously, many had avoided this due to the additional time it took to claim the grant money back, however it is now expected that without the added burden of the homecharge grant (a scheme which saw domestic homeowners receive £350 towards the cost of installing an EV charging point), smaller organisations will be more inclined to offer EV charge point installation.
Indeed, it is important to note that while the EVHS no longer applies to some domestic homeowners, the workplace grant is continuing. Currently covering up to 75% of the installation cost, capped at £350 per point, with a maximum of 40 points per applicant business, the workplace grant is designed to incentivise companies and organisations to install EV charging points for both staff and public use. Given growing interests in greener technologies, it is highly likely that demand for qualified EV charging installers will only increase as a result.
The new set of regulations highlight the need for EV charge point installers to keep up-to-date with current legislation and industry practices. The new regulations will govern the type of EV charge points that can be installed, in order to help manage the increase in electricity demand from the transition to EVs. This new legislation will ensure that charge points have smart functionality, optimising periods of time when there is less demand on the grid to allow for charging, or when more renewable energy is available. In addition to this, the new regulations will require EV charging points to meet certain, device-level requirements, enabling a minimum level of access, security and information for customers.
The importance of upskilling
Although the actual installation of EV charging points relies on techniques already familiar to practising electricians, regulation 16 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 looks at competency, interpreted that you need to be competently trained in order to carry out the installation process. At present, there are many EV installation training courses available which can enable electricians to qualify as an EV charging equipment installer.
While there is a cost and a level of time commitment involved in this process, the benefits of qualifying as an installer, for both the workforce and the employer, cannot be downplayed. For the learner, there is the chance to gain vital skills and knowledge, which will allow them to safely install EV charging points in line with current industry guidelines. In learning how to install, inspect and test EV charging points, practising electricians will also be able to future-proof their toolbox of skills meaning that they will be well-equipped to deal with increased consumer demand.
In supporting their workers to undertake EV charging installation training, employers will be able to gain a share of a rapidly growing market, future-proofing both theirs and their employees’ earning potential. The opportunity to gain a refreshed workforce with up-to-date and specific knowledge of the legislation, regulation, and best practice of EV charging point installation will also have enormous benefits for workforce competency and confidence.