If you currently drive a petrol or diesel vehicle, you could save money and cut pollutants by switching to electric. In London around 90% of all car trips are less than 10km, meaning that almost all average day-to-day travelling can be easily accomplished with an EV.
Electric vehicle (EV) is the umbrella term for any vehicle that is powered, in part or in full, by a battery that can be directly plugged into mains electricity. In short, any vehicle that can be plugged in including pure-electric, plug-in hybrid and extended-range electric vehicles.
There are three types of EV, these aren’t to be confused with Hybrid’s:
Hybrid – A hybrid vehicle is powered by, either or both, a battery and an ICE. The power source is selected automatically by the vehicle, depending on speed, engine load and battery charge level. This battery cannot be plugged in; charge is maintained by regenerative braking supplemented by ICE generated power. A number of fuels can power hybrid ICE’s, including petrol, diesel, Compressed Natural Gas, Liquid Petroleum Gas and other alternative fuels.
The growth of the electric vehicle market over the last two years has been phenomenal and is expected to continue growing exponentially. Tesla, for example, plans to produce 500,000 electric cars every year starting in 2018. And Tesla are not alone, the likes of BMW, Audi, VW, Mitsubishi, Nissan, and all major manufacturers are now releasing their own EV models. The Government is fuelling the uptake by providing funding for electric vehicle purchasing and domestic EV charging in order to meet a target of 10% of all vehicles sold being EV by 2020 i.e. circa 250,000 vehicles.
All this will require an extensive charging network, both domestic and commercial. We are already seeing a rapidly growing infrastructure of charging units emerging, with charge points popping up all over the country, including fast chargers which can charge your vehicle within half an hour or less. In London, 20% of car parking spaces in new developments now require EV charging points. This provides an exciting new opportunity for PV installers as PV can be combined with EV!
The average total daily distance traveled is well within the range of Electric Vehicles (EVs). However, consumers’ purchasing decisions are influenced by the potential to travel further, not just their average journey patterns. Therefore it will be important for consumers to be reassured of the ability to make longer journeys and own plug-in vehicles, particularly when looking ahead to breaking into the mass-market of consumers in the 2020s and 2030s.
There are a number of options available in the UK for the charging of electric vehicles. A range of factors will influence a consumer’s decision to adopt any of the following modes and types of infrastructure, including the vehicle type, desired speed of charge, long-term interoperability and UK wiring regulations. The following set of recommendations is based on the current development of products and standards, and aims to promote safe and energy efficient charging practices.
There are 4 key modes (as defined in the standard BS EN 61851-1) for the charging of an electric vehicle, as summarised below:
Types of Charging and Standard Charging Times
(speak to vehicle manufacturer for specific expected times)
The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) has published details of the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS), which provides enough funding for 25,000 new installations across the UK.
The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) is a voucher-based scheme that provides support towards the up-front costs of the purchase and installation of electric vehicle chargepoints. It will operate as a voucher scheme, with applicants supplying details of where the installations will take place, declaration of the current need for charging or intent to encourage uptake of eligible EVs and conditions for use of the charge point.
Interested parties are able to apply for the scheme and businesses will have four months from the date of issue to complete the installations. Accredited installers will cover the cost and claim the grant back from OLEV after supplying proof of completion.
If the installation cannot be completed within the four month period as specified on the voucher the applicant will need to withdraw and reapply for a new voucher. Installations completed before a voucher has been issued will not be eligible
The voucher can be used for up to 20 charge points for each application, regardless of the number of sites, providing the applicant has dedicated off street parking for staff or fleet use only. Visitors to the business are not to use the charge points however it is unclear how this will be enforced.
OLEV has approved the following charging points under the scheme.