Plan for car chargers in all new UK homes will make access ‘exclusive’ | Automobile industry

The Prime Minister’s plan to impose electric car chargers in all new homes from next year risks making access to charging points “exclusive”, leaving behind motorists in the poorest areas, industry executives have warned.

High-level voices in the energy and automotive sectors have said that the plan to equip all new homes and buildings with car-charging infrastructure risks benefiting the richer areas with space for off-street parking and to leave “black spots” in areas where houses have less space.

Instead, they argue, the government should do more to make convenient high-speed car charging more accessible to the public in order to give all motorists a realistic opportunity to replace their fossil-fueled cars with electric versions.

Guy Jefferson, COO of Scottish Power’s energy grid business, warned that the burgeoning electric vehicle market was “less likely to provide for everyone in our society” without deliberate action to ensure a just energy transition .

“It is essential that [electric vehicle] Chargers are available not only in new homes, private driveways, affluent streets and freeway gas stations, but also in remote, rural and socially deprived areas, ”said Jefferson.

“This is why we have developed plans to build on our existing work with local councils to ensure equitable access for all to [electric vehicle] charge, ”he added.

According to the government’s plans, presented by Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the CBI CEO’s conference on Monday, the new homes are to be equipped with charging infrastructure from next year.

Ross Easton, director of the Energy Networks Association, added that while plans for more charging stations are “great news for those living in new homes,” the government “needs to ensure that access at recharging points is not exclusive “.

“Charging stations must be accessible to everyone. To really ‘improve’ access to charging points and meet the Cop26 commitments on electric vehicles, there needs to be strategic planning at all levels of government, national and local, ”he said.

Many modern homes do not have parking spaces, and the number of new homes built each year in the UK is so low that it would take decades to make a big difference by that measure alone, industry sources say .

Sarah Winward-Kotecha, director of electric vehicles at RAC, said it was “important to remember that many new homes, especially in cities, don’t even have parking, let alone parking. a power supply. points”.

The automotive group called on the government to make high-speed car charging accessible to more motorists by focusing on the deployment of fast-charging stations in public spaces so that

“By completing [charge] points already installed in places like forecourts and supermarkets with fast chargers, drivers without off-road parking will have a realistic opportunity to go electric [and] those who need to recharge their batteries during long journeys [will have] more flexibility to do it, ”said Winward-Kotecha.

Paul Reeve, director of the ECA trade body for electrical and engineering companies, added that with most public charging point plans “centered around London and the south-east” there were “still a real danger of charging black dots in many parts of the country”.

An ECA study in September found that two-thirds of UK local authorities had no plans for public charging points. More than half said they were prohibitively expensive, and more than a third cited other constraints such as lack of capacity in the power grid.

Government plans also overlook the fact that many new buildings are deliberately built with little or no parking space, to entice people to travel by public transport, which is better for the environment than driving cars. electric.

The government faces increasing pressure to tackle UK emissions from transport and homes – which have barely budged over the past decade – in order to reduce emissions and improve the quality of the service. air. The efforts should include measures to make homes more energy efficient and reduce overall driving, according to the green groups.

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Agathe de Canson, of the Green Alliance think tank, said: “To reduce air pollution and tackle congestion more broadly, we need to encourage more walking, cycling and public transport. This should be factored into the planning rules to ensure that new homes are car free. “

Ed Matthew, of the E3G green think tank, added that putting charging infrastructure in new homes has failed to reduce energy use, which could reduce bills and the carbon associated with the housing, which accounts for 14% of UK emissions.

“The developers are making around £ 50,000 in profit per house and have used the threat of not building houses to slow down the regulations desperately needed to build zero carbon homes that can cut emissions and lower energy bills.” , did he declare.

A government spokesperson said: “We are committed to ensuring that all parts of society can switch to electric vehicles, and these new regulations also apply to residential and non-residential buildings. This means that from 2022, whenever new homes and businesses are built or undergo major renovations, charging stations will be installed.

“We are also working with the councils to expand the charging infrastructure on the street and provide grants to help homeowners install charging points.”