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The new wave of EV regulations is an opportunity to charge smarter

David Williams, VP for Transactional Business, Schneider Electric UK & Ireland, discusses the need for electric vehicle chargepoints to adopt smart technology – not just because of legislation, but also to the benefit of all.
The UK’s path to net zero and widespread EV adoption is paved with smart technology.

David Williams, VP for Transactional Business, Schneider Electric UK & Ireland, discusses the need for electric vehicle chargepoints to adopt smart technology – not just because of legislation, but also to the benefit of all. 

The UK is slowly making its first steps towards large-scale decarbonisation. The Government has set its target to cut emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels, and has committed to net zero by 2050 – that means that the recent rise in new green regulations comes as little surprise.

Government initiatives, such as phasing out gas boilers in favour of electric heat pumps and ensuring that all new builds have an EV charging point, highlight electrification as one of the key drivers to reach these ambitious goals. The Government also remains steadfast in its commitment to phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, further driving consumers towards electric vehicles.

Looking ahead, the UK’s path to net zero and widespread EV adoption is paved with smart technology, and the Government is clearly demonstrating its full support for this new wave of digitalisation and connectivity in homes, buildings, and vehicles. 

In this new world of increased regulations and Government demands, electricians and contractors must look to trusted industry leaders to guide them in sustainability and energy management.

Why it’s sensible to be smart

In the last year, with soaring energy prices and the cost-of-living crisis, keeping a keen eye on energy and spending has never been so important for building owners and consumers. Now, more than ever, end-users are concerned with how efficiently they use their energy, where it comes from, and how to reduce their bill. 

What’s more, with the boom in hybrid working reducing the number of employees on-site and the expanding demand for EVs, industry leaders must now also deliver better energy management solutions to balance changing needs for buildings of any size. It is up to them to reduce the pressure on end-users by considering the additional load from buildings and the potential for larger energy bills.

Smart technology gives building and homeowners the tools they need to take their energy efficiency into their own hands. In fact, smart building functionalities are proven to deliver a 30% reduction in energy usage by giving customers access to valuable information on their energy use. Having total visibility and control of our energy consumption means that consumers are fast turning into prosumers – those that can make and store their own energy from renewable sources.

This is enabled by smart technology and new infrastructure that requires installation and input from electricians and contractors. It is their responsibility to support and educate customers through this transition by directing them to more sustainable solutions that work for their needs. 

In the move to more energy-efficient charging and enhanced energy management for building owners, industry leaders can prove invaluable, guiding electricians and contractors in the right direction.

Regulation pushes EV chargers to be smart

As part of the country’s large-scale electrification, the UK Government is amping up pressure for the rapid rollout of EVs. By 2030, there will be over 169 million EVs on UK roads and manufacturers are starting to put their own targets in place to deliver more EV and hybrid vehicles than ever before.

As a result, there is a need for smart infrastructure to handle this increased charging demand and ensure that the rise in EVs is truly sustainable. This means reducing the strain on the grid with load balancing, as well as ensuring that the electricity is coming from renewable sources. By combining the power of smart technology with EV charging stations, it makes them safer, more reliable, and above all, more sustainable.

With new realms of EV charging capabilities, the Government has released a new wave of regulations that aims to help ease the strain on the grid and give more power to the end-user for faster charging. This includes obligatory smart functionality in charging points that allows drivers to charge their EVs at periods of lower grid demand, or when there is more clean energy available. 

The ability to send and receive information across a secure network to keep distributors informed is now required, as well as demand-side response services, where charging points must be able to defer charging or vary their rates in response to external signals. This will allow energy firms to offer additional services, such as variable rate electricity pricing when demand is lower or renewable energy supply is higher, by applying a random delay of up to 10 minutes at the start or end of a schedule. 

With the Government cracking down on requirements, it’s important to ensure each new piece of technology is aligned with these new mandates. 

The Government’s regulations also extend to electricity supplier interoperability, where charging points must be able to retain their smart functionality even if the user changes to a different electricity supplier. They also account for a loss of communications, ensuring that vehicles can carry on charging even if the charging point loses connection to the user’s communications network, as well as advanced safety features and a mandatory Statement of Compliance document that signifies that the charging point operates in line with the new smart charge regulations.

Charging points already exist that are fully compliant with these requirements, but it’s up to contractors to educate building owners about these new regulations and the infrastructure required. For instance, landlords of multi-tenancy residential buildings could use smart EV charging for more accurate and fairer cost allocation, so residents only pay for what they use. 

Tradespeople need to be able to trust vendors to have their finger on the pulse of the latest trends and innovations to ensure that landlords and building owners are getting the most out of their tech and are fully compliant.

It’s time to change and charge

The need for modernised electrical infrastructure is evident. With Governments such as the UK’s switching to renewables to reduce pressure on the grid, smart technology will be invaluable to accelerate the push to net zero – especially when it comes to EV charging. 

There needs to be a level of trust in industry leaders to stay up-to-date with the latest regulations, changes and updates to keep EV installations innovative and in line. Smart EV charging stations need to be safer, more sustainable, reliable, and flexible for different user needs to boost adoption, and electricians and contractors have the tools at their disposal to guide their end users towards their benefits.

David Williams

VP for Transactional Business, Schneider Electric UK & Ireland

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