Future directions of UK's EV charging policy 

May, 2024 - Shoosmiths LLP

Shoosmiths’ energy & infrastructure partner Chris Pritchett hosted a panel discussion at the Solar and Storage Live London last week, focussing on the often-overlooked elements of the low carbon transport transition, namely accessibility, regional parity, and the regulatory and industry code barriers to rolling out some of the solutions that this transition so desperately needs.

With the intense media interest around electric vehicles (EVs) and charging infrastructure showing no signs of letting up, we reveal our key takeaways from the panel discussion ‘Down the Road - What is the Future Direction of EV Charging Policy in the UK?’:

Mandatory accessibility standards

Harry Fisher from the Motability Foundation began the discussion looking at the need for accessibility standards to become mandatory, and why they are calling for PAS 1889 in particular to set the benchmark. Motability, which possess an extensive vehicle fleet, aims to provide EVs to its nationwide clientele. As a consequence, the number of EV users is growing in regions not previously linked with early adoption. While this is excellent in terms of transition to EVs, it necessitates a corresponding increase in infrastructure deployment.

Design improvements

The panel concurred that even for those who are reasonably fit and able, manoeuvring charging guns and hoses can be challenging, although the latest designs from Kempower have significantly simplified this process. Unobstructed access around the charging bay is crucial to enable wheelchair users to use the charging equipment, and ample space in parking bays is necessary for them to navigate around their vehicle. Payment and information screens should also be accessible, not at standing height.

While these considerations may seem like common sense, it’s disappointing that they are not mandatory. However, organisations like Chargesafe are championing accessible standards and raising awareness among developers about the importance and beneficial impact of making charging infrastructure as universally accessible as possible.

Infrastructure deployment challenges

The conversation then shifted to the necessity for equitable infrastructure deployment across the entire country. A question from the audience brought up the issue of progress in rural charging. Matthew Adams, the Policy Director for the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA), highlighted the availability of Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) funding for local authorities. While this funding has had a positive impact, it hasn’t necessarily addressed charging needs outside urban areas.

The panel acknowledged the challenge of enticing the private sector into areas with lower “wheel-fall”. However, they also noted the rapid increase in provisions on the A road network, at farm shops, and garden centres, blurring the disparity between urban and rural charging. Certain operators deserve praise for their proactive approach in building out ahead of demand, and forecourts are also quickly electrifying their offerings. The Rapid Charging Fund, however, came under scrutiny for not having allocated any of its funds despite being announced years ago. The panel agreed that strengthening local grid capacity is a crucial element for broader regional provision.

Regulatory framework evolution

Finally, Professor Derek Bunn from University College London spoke about the need for the regulatory framework to evolve so that it is no longer an inhibitor to future energy and mobility projects. In particular, large scale charging solutions involving on-site renewable generation, battery storage and multiple sources of demand (not just EVs) demands a flexible approach to behind the meter systems, and an approach to cost allocation that reflects the benefit that such projects can provide to our electricity networks. We will explore this subject in more detail in a separate article, as we attempt a mammoth feat of grappling with Connection and Use of System Code (CUSC), the Balancing and Settlement Code (BSC) and the Licence Exemption regime all in one note.


In summary, a brilliant discussion, and clear pointers to the need for regulatory and central government intervention but acknowledging that immediately prior to an election may not be the easiest time to get these agendas away.


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