How to prepare for the transition to electric vehicles
By 2030, the sale of petrol and diesel cars will be banned. Is it time to start thinking about ways to prepare your home for an electric car?
In 2020 the UK Government confirmed the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel-engine cars by 2030. Meanwhile, the sale of some hybrid cars (with petrol and electric power) may only be permitted until 2035.
So, what does this mean?
Well, in short – we’re all going electric! And to do that, we’ll have to make some adjustments to our homes. Have no fear. There’s still plenty of time to get ready for the big change. But it’s important to know now how you and your homes may need to adapt to take advantage of the exciting transition to EVs.
The UK EV market is growing rapidly with over 250,000 plug-in cars expected to be sold by the end of 2021. New EV models are coming onto the market every day and many businesses are well underway in making the switch to all electric transport.
Government plans will soon make it a legal requirement for new homes to be built with charging points for electric vehicles (EVs). Around 80% of EV charging is done at home making this a crucial step on the road to electro mobility.
In order to accelerate this transition, the government currently provides grants towards the acquisition of new EVs and the installation of home charge points . You could be eligible for a grant that pays 35% of the purchase price up to a maximum of £2,500. And you’ll get up to £350 off your charging station too. However, these grants will not be available forever so don’t wait too long.
There is a large network of government approved charge point installers and most energy suppliers are now also involved in arranging charge point installation and low-cost energy tariffs for customers who have adopted EVs.
Local authorities are also working with communities on viable options for those homeowners where vehicle access and parking is restricted. For example, lamp post or other kerbside chargers for those who live in flats and park on the road.
Charging your electric vehicles
There is also massive public and private investment underway into the rapid development of the charging infrastructure at service stations and ‘destination’ charging at hotels, retail parks and public car parks. Many employers have installed charge points at the workplace. From once being a rare sight in our towns and cities, EV charge points are now everywhere. At July 2021 there are over 42,000 charge points at nearly 16,000 locations in the UK. 400-500 are being installed every week.
Many free charge points have some kind of access restriction (e.g. devices that are ‘customer only’, for example). And since they’re generally free to use, it’s a good idea to become acquainted with your closest public EV charging spot. Although many EV charge points are free to use, the majority of fast and rapid chargers require payment.
Charging tariffs tend to comprise a flat connection fee, a cost per charging time of pence per hour or a cost per energy consumed in kilowatts. Across the UK there are a number of charging networks from different brands with an ever-increasing volume of charging posts. All of these locations can be found via an app in every case which at least takes the guesswork out of it. If you’re still not sure where your most convenient charging station is, websites like Zap Map and Google Maps make it easy to find out.
Another consideration is that you’ll need to ensure you have the appropriate RFID card or app to start a charge and, while the charging might be free, there may well be some parking charges to pay.
The first step in anything – but especially when it comes to making adaptations to your home – is to do as much research as you can. We’re definitely not suggesting moving to a new house to get a driveway or garage, but if moving is in your 5- or 10-year plan, it might be worth thinking now about how you could prioritise space for charging your EV.
If you don’t have a garden or garage, but you do have some front outdoor space, you could consider the option of a dropped kerb to drive your car onto your property. Since it’s an offence to cross a public footpath, you’ll first need to obtain planning permission from the council.
Whatever car you choose, you should always refer to the manufacturer’s manual guidelines on charging and using the cables supplied with the car. If for whatever reason you don’t have cables they can be easily purchased. Installers will advise on the best location for the electric installation and access for the car. Units should be wall mounted wherever possible and the cost of units depends on whether you need fast or slower charging.
If you can’t drive your car on to your property, lamppost or other kerb-side charging may be an option. Usually, a public charge point can power two or three cars at once, but the parking bays must be free for you to use them, which can be a problem if you live on a busy street. We still have a few years to get into gear, so start the conversations with your neighbours and the council. And if you don’t feel like there are enough free charging points in your area, contact your local council.
Some councils are currently working to build a network of EV charging points so that all residents are within a 10-minute walk from the closest EV charging point. Now that you have a bit more of an idea of how EVs are charged, it’s time to plan and put things into action.
Finally, don’t let all this information give you a headache. We have almost 9 years to prepare and there’ll likely be more options by then.
Here’s to saving the planet and keeping your car costs down!