The ruling Conservative Party has just announced legislation that will require all newly built English homes and offices to include EV chargers. Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales are not automatically included thanks to their devolved governments.
The legislation specifies that new builds must offer "smart" charging devices that can automatically charge electric vehicles during off-peak periods. Offices will need at least one charging station for each five parking spots.
Automakers and governments across the world are doing more to
expand their EV networks, but England is the first country to put the onus on property developers and builders. The mandate will start in 2022.
Why is England taking this step?
When compared to right of center groups in other western nations, Britain's Conservative Party has a decent environmental track record. Still, the ambition of this legislation has taken many observers by surprise.
They have been motivated, in part, by sluggish EV sales across England, where many drivers are still concerned about the range limitations of electric cars.
While Britain is a fairly small island, the concern is well-founded, with a recent study suggesting they need at least 10 times more charging stations to meet demand.
Another pain point for English EV drivers, as noted by
Electrek, is that most homes don’t have off-street parking. This makes charging an electric car a real challenge.
The government hopes that by offering EV charging at the office, many drivers will be convinced to make the switch. After all, nobody has a gas station at their home either!
The timing of the new legislation is part of an aggressive plan to boost the number of EV chargers across the UK, before a ban on new gas-powered cars comes into effect in 2030.
This timeline is shared by a few of the more
EV-friendly parts of the United States, and is coming five years sooner than the European Union’s ban on internal combustion engines by 2035.
Other novel ideas to speed up EV adoption
Another idea proposed by the British government comes in the form of a free app, called EV8 Switch.
The app shows Brits how much they could save by switching to an electric car based on gas consumption. The app recommends specific EV makes and models based on the driver’s current vehicle and driving habits.
To combat range anxiety, the app shows the closest charging stations, and can help plan longer journeys by identifying convenient charging points along the way.
For those concerned about the environmental impact of gas cars, the app shows the CO2 reductions they can hope to achieve by switching to an EV.
The government is also advocating for more green energy at home, exploring how to leverage the power generated by home EV chargers as an
alternate power source.
It remains to be seen if the English public can be convinced, en masse, to make the transition to electric cars, but these government initiatives have been well received, and other nations will be watching closely to see how it all unfolds.