Construction sector is a key player in the move to electric vehicles

Written by

Tim Greenhalgh

Posted on

September 2, 2020

The construction sector looks set to be a prime mover in the national move to electric vehicles.

Government certainly sees the building industry as the main driver of the EV revolution, judging by its plans to alter existing residential and non-residential building regulations to include electric vehicle infrastructure requirements.

It announced its intention to change the rules over a year ago to enable the installation of thousands of charging points across the UK, and then ran a full public consultation process that ended in October.

Home EV chargers

Since then, the COVID-19 crisis has been concentrating government minds in other areas but the pressure for EVs still remains. The intended revisions to building regulations are radical – all new-build homes should be fitted with a charging point (“where appropriate”) and new rules will govern provision of chargers at key destinations, such as new office blocks and supermarkets.

For the domestic sector, the government is mindful of differing conditions with new-builds and is focusing on all new homes with a dedicated car parking space, making sure they are built with an EV charger. Around 80% of EV charging is expected to take place at home.

The Department for Transport said that installing charge points in residential buildings would add an additional cost of approximately £976 per parking space for an average home. Installing a charging point upfront in an average non-residential carpark is around £1,100 less expensive than retrofitting one later.

Non-residential EV chargers

The government also proposes that every new non-residential building and every non-residential building undergoing a major renovation with more than 10 car parking spaces to have one charging point and cable routes for an electric vehicle charging point for one in five spaces.

It says:

“The policies outlined will ensure new buildings are ready for the future. They represent the most ambitious regulatory package in the world for electric vehicle infrastructure and will help ensure the UK has one of the best electric vehicle infrastructure networks in the world.”

The expert EV team at SaveMoneyCutCarbon is working with businesses to achieve their EV goals through quality charging point and cable solutions that are robust and scalable, with full support for grant applications that reduce installation costs considerably.

The time to act is now for the construction sector. Latest information suggests that the 2018 iteration of the Energy Performance Building Directive will come into effect through building regulation Part L (expected this year), making EV charging points mandatory for new builds, and for existing buildings undergoing extensive renovations.

Amendment 1 to the 18th Edition Wiring Regulations (BS7671:2018) was published in February. Its broadest purpose is to allow for advances in EV charging technologies which were not available before, giving contractors more and safer options to install and deploy EV chargers.

World beating EV

The proposed legislation would be a world first, and complements wider investment and measures to help build one of the best electric vehicle infrastructure networks in the world, as part of the £1.5 billion Road to Zero Strategy.

In 2018, it was estimated that 33% of CO2 emissions were in transport and last year the government published the Road to Zero strategy, which set out a comprehensive package of support to ensure all new cars and vans would be effectively zero emission by 2040.

The government says:

“Progress has been made, but further work is needed to drive electric vehicle uptake, deliver our Industrial Strategy mission and rise to the new challenge of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”

The proposed changes have a range of powerful interests in support, including the influential We Mean Business Coalition, and some major corporations that are calling for government policy and action in response to Covid-19.

Their focus is on the health and wellbeing of all while managing environment and social impact through investment that support, a transition to net-zero and clean mobility. First the lockdown and now continued homeworking has significantly reduced traffic volumes, with great improvements in air quality and noise reduction. A wide range of interests argue that these benefits should be maintained through the adoption of zero-emission vehicles.

There are 200 types of electric vehicle available with more 136,600 pure-electric cars on UK roads at the end of July 2020 – and over 330,800 plug-in models including plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), 10,200 registered electric vans, and over 33,900 electric vehicle charging points across the country.

The impetus for EV adoption is strong, particularly for fleet operators, with considerable tax savings for company car users via benefits in kind, offering 0% tax on EVs from 1 April 2020, then increasing to 1% in 2021 and 2% in 2022.

The proposed legislation complements other government measures to improve electric vehicle charging infrastructure, including a £400 million Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund.

International support for the electrification of road transport will be boosted further by the inaugural World EV Day 2020 on Wednesday September 9th. More details here: https://www.worldevday.org/

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