EV smart charging regulations in the UK: Everything you need to know
From 30th June 2022, all new private EV charge points (including in the home and workplace) must comply with new EV smart charge point regulations. Here’s a quick rundown of what you should know about the new regulation: from the changes it will bring to the benefits EV drivers in the UK can anticipate.
As this uptake of EVs continues, new charge point regulations are being introduced to help future-proof the national grid - because more EVs on the road means more demand on the electricity system. According to a 2021 report by ofgem, by 2050 EVs are expected to need 65-100 TWh of electricity annually - an increase of 20-30% over today’s levels. The National Grid is preparing to meet these needs plus the daily peaks and troughs in demand. However, the reality is that a future where all of Britain’s EVs are charging at the same time is a significant challenge - one that the new smart regulations will help to solve.
EV charging regulations in the UK, explained
The new smart charging regulations will help to smooth demand on the system by preventing all charge points from initiating charging sessions at the same time and during times of peak energy use. Here’s a quick overview of how the regulations will work in practice:
Default off-peak EV charging
New charge points will be pre-configured to avoid charging during peak hours (8-11am and 4-10pm on weekdays), aimed at lightening the load on the grid by using energy at times when more is available. It is important to note that drivers will have the option to override this setting if they wish or if it is not convenient.
'Random delay' in EV charging sessions
New units will defer charging sessions by up to ten minutes from the point of plug-in. This will prevent all charge points from initiating charging sessions at the same time, thereby softening the impact on the grid. Again, drivers will have the option to override the setting (for example, if they are in a rush).
You might be wondering whether EV drivers will be sceptical of the ‘random delay’ as they’re used to knowing their EV will be fully charged when they use their car. Our EV Driver Survey Report revealed that more than half of EV drivers are actually willing to accept slower charging in order to help maximise national renewable energy usage.
How smart charging benefits both the grid and the driver
The legislation also introduces the possibility of some key benefits for drivers, including:
1. More renewable-conscious charging
Default off-peak charging encourages drivers to charge when there is more renewable energy available on the grid. This helps reduce the reliance on gas-fired power stations needed during periods of high demand. Sustainability remains a key priority for drivers; in fact, our latest EV Driver Survey Report shows that over half of EV drivers would accept slower charging if this would support renewable usage.
2. A better user experience
With the change in regulations it will be mandatory for charge points to be online connected, drivers will benefit from additional functionality including remote control, access to visible insights and history around charging, energy usage and costs. These functionalities will give drivers much more choice and control over how they charge.
3. Reduced EV charging costs
Our latest survey of EV drivers also revealed that cost is significant to the future of EV adoption, with 68% of drivers expressing that they are worried about the impact of rising electricity prices on vehicle ownership costs. With the new smart charging regulation, drivers can benefit from reduced energy bills as new charge points will allow drivers to set their own charging schedules to utilise cheaper overnight energy tariffs.
What's next for EV smart charging?
As EVs continue to play an increasing role in the energy transition, the new smart charging regulations are a first step in helping ensure that charge points have the functionality to charge smartly and in a cost-effective way.
In the future, EV drivers will be able to sign up to provide additional flexibility to the energy system by agreeing to defer their charging at times of high demand to support the Distribution Network Operator or the Electricity System Operator. In exchange, these drivers can benefit from higher savings on their energy bills. This service is called Demand Side Response, and all new charge points sold from the 30th June will have the necessary functionality to support this.
It’s important to note that this service is already commonplace in the industrial and commercial sectors: many factories receive financial incentives to pause their manufacturing processes when demand on the grid is particularly high. The UK government plans to introduce further legislation to encourage the development of similar services for EV drivers.
In terms of future innovation, this is an exciting time for the EV industry. Shell Recharge Solutions is also well-positioned to provide these new services. Back in 2018, we were the first Charge Point Operator in the Netherlands to receive a licence to offer grid balancing services by using Vehicle to Grid (V2G) technology. V2G technology enables the electricity stored in the batteries of electric cars to be made available to the grid at times of high demand.
We aim to continue to be at the forefront as the industry and regulations continue to evolve. By investing in smart technologies and making charging easier, we are helping to enable cleaner transportation for everyone and drive a low-carbon future, together.