Strict new standards for public EV charging
The Government has drafted a new regulation enforcing a simpler and more reliable public charging experience for electric vehicle drivers. Here’s how those changes could affect you.
Reliable, accessible charging is a cornerstone of the UK’s electric vehicle transition, but that experience isn’t always up to scratch. Having researched drivers’ perceptions of public chargepoints networks, the Department for Transport has set out draft regulations addressing their main criticisms and making it easier for them to plug in.
The Public Charge Point Regulations 2023 will apply across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, including locations on private property but not workplace chargepoints for staff and visitors. This will introduce strict quality of service requirements for network operators from 12 months after it comes into force, based on several key areas:
- Operators must achieve 99% reliability for rapid chargers, measured as a network-wide average for the calendar year, but excluding hours where units are not accessible. They will also be required to publish compliance data on their website and submit annual reports to the Government starting in January 2026.
- Networks will have to provide a 24/7, free-to-use, manned helpline and advertise it prominently at all locations. Calls will be logged according to volume, type of inquiry, the time taken to deal with it and how many are unresolved, with those statistics fed back to the Government.
- Contactless payments will be mandatory for all rapid chargers and any newly installed chargepoint with an output of 8kW or more, which excludes slower destination and on-street residential units. The idea is to offer ad-hoc payments for drivers. If existing private chargepoints are made public, then they also have to comply with this.
- All public chargepoints must be available through third-party roaming providers (such as Zap-Pay) within two years of the regulation coming into force. This enables seamless access to different charging networks from a single RFID card or app, making it more convenient for EV drivers to travel longer distances and plug in when they need to.
- All charging locations must display clear pricing in pence per kilowatt hour to help drivers understand how much it costs to plug in. This can either be shown on the chargepoint or a separate device that doesn’t require them to register with the network operator.
- Network operators will have to provide real-time information about the status and availability of all chargepoints and make this information readily to drivers without making them agree to terms and conditions. This benefits mapping tools such as Zap-Map, helps drivers plan journeys and historic data (up to 12 months old) will be available to Government bodies and companies who operate the UK’s electricity network.