Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill

Written evidence submitted by Simon Hilton (AEVB 21)

As a driver of a Battery Electric Vehicle for over two years and an interested party in the developments in EVs and charging, I have a good insight into the views of EV drivers and the current infrastructure to response to the consultation on the proposed bill by the Government.

I am commenting on Part 2: Electric Vehicle: Charging section of the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill, of which I am in full support, though I believe that there are further provisions which should be included to ensure the that adoption of plug-in ULEV is increased, leading to reductions in greenhouse emissions, part of the Government’s commitment.

The area which I believe should be included in the bill, is the provision of chargepoints for drivers who do not have access at their home, which is a main blocker for this group to transition to ULEV. During my ownership of an EV, I have relied on workplace charging and have not installed a slow charger at home. This has proved that, with the right support, you can own an EV without the facility to charge at home.

For drivers who have no access to home charging, they will want to charge their vehicles where they are parked for long periods of time and not want to make special trips to the location of a rapid charger. The main locations for charging EVs will be workplaces, shopping or entertainment centres. Such charging is less likely to be via rapid chargers, but using fast chargers, as the vehicles will be charging over many hours, rather than 30 minutes. It is better for the life of EV batteries that they are fast charged rather than rapid charged – according to the advice given by EV manufacturers.

The main purpose of a rapid charge is to quickly recharge the range of a vehicle and is not an everyday activity. At present, the majority of uses for EVs are short or medium distance journeys within the range of the EV. Long-distance trips are infrequent due to the inconvenience of frequent stopping to recharge. As EV range increases with improvements in battery technology and cost, then EV use will shift to long-distance trips as they will be more convenient with fewer stops for recharging (more akin to today’s long-distance trips in petrol/diesel vehicles).

The bill should contain a provision to legislate for the inclusion of fast chargepoints at workplaces, large carparks and other locations where drivers will spend several hours parking.

This would have several benefits that will support the Government’s aims

- to reduce Greenhouse emissions

- to reduce pollution levels in towns and cities where vehicles congregate

Installing fast chargers at work and public places (rather than rapid chargers) would allow for a larger number of chargepoints to be installed for the same cost (fast chargers according to the IA are approximately 20% of the cost of rapid chargers). This will give a larger exposure of EV chargepoints to non EV drivers and could help to increase the uptake of ULEV more so than the provision to install rapid chargers at MSA and LFR.

To ensure that the chargepoints are not cost restrictive, the Government should legislate that fast charger operators cannot charge more than a maximum amount for both the access charge and pence/kWhr to ensure that drivers that do not have access to home charging will not be adversely affected by having to use public or workplace charging.

The target for the number of chargepoints to be installed under this provision should start from an agreed base level and increase per year by the % increase in ULEV vehicle sales predicted for the following year. The base level and percentage increase would be per workplace or carpark operator to make sure the responsibility and cost is shared out evenly.

Whilst outside the scope of the bill, but supporting greenhouse emission reduction targets and specifically pollution in city/town centres, the government should legislate for free car parking for ULEV vehicles, which will help increase the benefit case to consumers to make the transition to electric vehicles. Public carparks would be able to recoup the cost of EV vehicles by increasing the cost to park of non EVs and further help discourage the use of non EVs in populated areas.

November 2017


Prepared 15th November 2017