autos, news, home is where the charge is

Further signs of the growing importance of electric cars and vans in the UK was seen last month (November) when the Government announced that all new homes and offices will be required to have EV charging points installed from next year.

As eco-friendly new-build houses continue to rise in popularity, the ability to charge your car or van at home will become not only part of the future house-hunting consideration, but normality in the next five to ten years.

A recent motor industry report from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed that, as EVs continue to grow in status, the ratio of car charging points to vehicles has reduced by 31%. In 2019, one public charging point was potentially shared by 11 plug-in vehicles, whereas by the end of 2020, that had dropped to one point per 16 EVs.

While most people currently buying an electric vehicle are likely to be able to plug in at home – on their driveway or a designated domestic parking bay – achieving ‘net zero’ in Britain will require all drivers to make the switch, including those who depend on on-street parking. 

The new legislation will affect new-build homes and offices, but also house conversions into flats, where off-street parking spaces with apartment buildings for example, will also have to incorporate some charging points within their car parking areas.

They will be well-used: around 60% of drivers in the UK have a driveway and, of those who can have a charge point fitted, 90% of their charging is done at home, says environment-minded car benefit company Tusker, which welcomed the new-build news. Those figures not only make this latest initiative even more important, but support the decision of thousands of drivers who have already installed a personal charge box.

The prime minister made the announcement at a recent Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference, and the issue was also covered during last month’s COP26 international conference where nations discussed what moves they were prepared to make in the bid to become ‘net zero’. The UK has already pledged to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030, while many other countries have promised the same by 2040.

The details of the new homes plan have not been fully revealed so it’s unclear what type of charging points will be specified and with what output. Currently there are three types available: rapid, fast and slow. The higher the output is (in kWs), the quicker the charge.

Rapid chargers are 50 or even 100kW, fast chargers are around 10 to 20kW and slow chargers – usually found at home – are 3 to 6kW. They charge in one hour, 2-6 hours and 6-12 hours respectively. So, as long as you have easy access to a fast or rapid charger, it’s still possible to own an EV while living in a flat or apartment. When the new house building rules come into force, it will get even easier.

For businessmen and women, charging their car at work will become more commonplace as greater numbers of workers adopt an EV as their company car.

Plug-in vehicles now account for around one in every six new cars registered in 2021. While the public charging infrastructure required to service them will have to keep up with EV registrations – charging point suppliers continue to invest in top-up stations – it’s clear that greater numbers of home-charging points needed to be made available to house buyers.

Having a charger at home makes the whole owning experience of an electric vehicle so much more convenient and worthwhile. According to the RAC motoring organisation, it costs around £800 to fit a charger at your home, although there are grants available to help with the outlay.

A single charge to top up your car can last for days, which is often what most owners require. Earlier this year, Tusker revealed that the majority of UK motorists drive less than 150 miles a week and only undertake a journey of more than 100 miles once a month.

In its study, Tusker found that a quarter (24%) of their customers drove between 50 and 1000 miles a week, a fifth (21%) travelled 101 to 150 miles, 10% went more than 200 miles and only 5% did over 300 miles a week.

That means that, with most electric cars being capable of at least 200 miles, home-charged cars will only need to be topped up once a week – indeed only 10% of home chargers are used every day, says Tusker. And with more home-based chargers on the horizon it means more public charging station spaces will be available for users who can’t yet top up at home.

So powering up your car with a rapid charger will be an option for thousands of property owners who live in a flat or apartment – until, of course, they move to a new-build…

Keyword: Home is where the charge is

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