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EU rule would see new homes include EV charging by 2019

Source: Renault

European Union proposal calls for all new or refurbished homes to be fitted with EV charging infrastructure in a bid to increase uptake

Brexit looms on horizon for every UK household but that hasn’t stopped the EU machine’s wheels from turning; a crucial EV development in the 2013 Brussels mandate was announced last week.

Under a new draft directive, it would be mandatory for every new or refurbished home in Europe to have an electric car charging point by 2019, in a move that has been considered vital to the success of EV uptake. No suggestion has been given in terms of what exactly will make up the charging infrastructure but ElecTrans expects that it will be somewhere between level 1 extension cord equipment and Tesla-style Superchargers.

Renault’s head of electric car sales and marketing Guillaume Berthier, responded to the news. “This kind of market stimulus is not just positive, it is mandatory if we want to see a massive rollout of electric vehicles in the near future. The question of how you recharge your car when you live in an apartment within a city is a very important one.”


Affordable or absurd?

Instead, built-in charging systems are probably the most feasible. With the cost of home EV charging kits ranging from around 500-1000 euros, and the savings made if you bulk buy and include them at the time of construction as standard, then the endeavour is more than affordable for both homeowners and building developers. There may even be scope for inclusion of inductive charging. Recently, ElecTrans brought you news on a low cost wireless inductive charging unit, coming out at around $1500.

If we take Norway as an example, then we see that when using household electricity for charging, the cost per 100 kilometres is fewer than two euros at the current Nordic rates. Users may also top up or plan stops at free public charging points. Or even perhaps integrate solar panel charging. The UK government also offers a £500 grant to consumers who wish to buy their own home charge kit.

With the range of charging hardware, ever increasing public charge stations, and reducing costs, a point of charge in every new home seems to be achievable…and necessary.

Indeed, the decision coincides with announcements from Germany, Norway, and the Netherlands that they plan to phase out ICE cars, using bans on new registrations, by as early as 2025.


Curbing anxiety

The move is expected to have positive and negative effects on the electric vehicle market. Range anxiety will be greatly reduced because the charger network will increase while gaps will decrease. Users will know they will always have a reliable charging point close to them and thousands, if not millions, of other charging options along their journey.

However, the grid network will need systems in place to combat strain from increased usage. ‘Intelligent EV’ owners can expect a facility whereby their spare charge could potentially be fed back into the grid. Home-generated renewable energy is also crucial to supporting local energy provision, while companies like Renault are developing battery-based energy storage systems that can cope with national demand.

Conversely, governments must also consider how they initially produce electricity and support for countries less able or willing to adopt a fully electric transport system. Martin Adams, head of EEA Air Pollution Unit reflected, “It is clearly feasible that we use clean renewable sources but when you think of where the different countries are at, I think some fundamental decisions are needed to develop a more sustainable energy system across Europe.” Those changes need to come quickly in order to offset the expected five-fold increase in sulphur dioxide emissions stemming from a lack of ICE cars and a rise in EVs.


Will the UK count?

It’s difficult to say at this point. Up until June 23 this year, the UK was foreseeably bound to targets set 3 years prior by the EU’s clean fuel strategy. The €10-billion plan required that by 2020, the UK have minimum numbers of electric charging points installed (1.22 million), quotas for hydrogen and CNG filling stations, reserved EV parking and traffic lanes, and a 95-gram CO2 per km emissions target.

An independent Great Britain may not only discontinue its participation in current environmental plans but could also disassociate ourselves from previous legislations made under the union. This will leave a huge hole in law (about 43% would be affected), including that which dictates EV targets, that will need to be filled quickly and diligently.

Similarly, statistics suggest that the UK government is falling behind on its environmental promises without having left the union. MPs from the environmental audit committee have responded with alarm at September forecasts from the Department of Transport. Mary Creagh, chairwoman of the committee, said: “The uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles is too low to meet the UK’s climate change targets at the lowest cost to the public. Air quality targets that were supposed to be met in 2010 won’t be hit until 2020 at the earliest. And it’s been almost a year since we discovered VW had fitted cars with cheat devices, but the government has still to decide what action to take against the company.”

It is therefore very possible that the destabilising impact of Brexit will continue to damage implementation of any new plans, within parliament or local councils, to manage environmental concerns.

About Catherine Campbell

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