Jordan Brompton, co-founder of myenergi, explains why the decision to mandate new-build properties to feature an EV charger could prove transformational.
Around the world, we are seeing increasing awareness and action on climate change. With a growing public desire for greater momentum, UK legislators have introduced a series of successive, technologically progressive policies to help accelerate change. These changes are wide-ranging, but perhaps nowhere is it more noticeable than in the automotive sector.
A global industry worth $3.8 trillion per annum, the sector has experienced a radical and unprecedented shift within the space of two design cycles. The technologies and vehicles available to us now seemed almost beyond comprehension just a decade ago. The rise of hybrid and battery electric systems is poised to revolutionise the industry, helping us – individually and collectively – to reduce our emissions.
“It is undeniably a very exciting time in automotive technology and it highlights our collective progress and interest in decarbonising personal transport,” explains Brompton, the co-founder and CMO of EV charging brand myenergi. “While some argue that progress is not fast enough, from an engineering and development standpoint, vehicle manufacturers have taken incredible risks and used significant resources to alter course. These efforts should be celebrated – the variety of EV types, designs and capabilities available to us today is converting an ever-greater number of motorists.”
The UK government’s latest step to drive EV adoption was announcing a 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles. With a number of global vehicle manufacturers located in the UK, and with Britain a major automotive market for many brands, this caused quite a stir. Almost one year on from that announcement, we can see that many vehicle manufacturers have been working on new hybrid and electric models, giving consumers an increasingly broad number of options.
Earlier this month, however, further progress was announced – coming in the form of the mandatory installation of vehicle charging points in all new-build homes and offices from 2022. This will undoubtedly prove to be another landmark moment. In fact, it could see the UK lead the global race towards electrification, with home chargers further supplementing the UK’s growing public-access charging networks.
“This announcement will be a gamechanger for EV and hybrid adoption across the UK,” continues Brompton. “With the charger pre-installed and integrated into the purchase of a new home, it will make home charging a default and, as such people will be far more open to the idea of electric vehicles. Adoption is all about removing hurdles, making it easier for people to switch and eliminating any uncertainty about range or charging access.”
The bill dictates that all devices will need to be ‘smart’ – i.e. capable of communicating with the car about when is best to plug into the grid. This is to help prevent the energy network from being overloaded if too many drivers are charging at once.
“Smart chargers are certainly an important piece of the puzzle from the point of view of government and energy providers,” continues Brompton. “By adjusting charge scheduling around energy market demands and generation, the impact of vehicle charging on the grid can be minimised. This addresses many of the critics and requires no effort or input from motorists, it is all done automatically.”
Brompton also points out that new car purchases can often follow moving into a new home. With the charger already included, this will mean that far more people could consider an EV purchase, with charging becoming as routine as turning on central heating or setting a house alarm.
That is not to say the legislation is without its challenges. Brompton points out that the implementation and delivery of the programme will be critical to its success. With the market for home chargers rising rapidly in recent years, there is a lot more to consider than simply mounting a box and connecting the power.
“The growth of the home charger market has seen the introduction of many products, with substantial variations in technology, design and build quality. Numerous brands have entered the industry with some hugely innovative and compelling solutions, equally, others have disappointed consumers with poor performance and reliability.
“In the roll-out of this new programme, there is a clear need for thorough product evaluation and approval. We either need to make property developers aware of the differences in charging systems and capabilities, or develop some kind of rating system that ensures UK homes are being adequately equipped. At the end of the day, we need high-quality chargers that are future-proofed and will give homeowners long-term value.”
Brompton goes on to highlight that the last thing new homeowners need is the pressure to swap out a dated or incompatible charging device within a year or two of purchasing the new property. Impartial guidance, evaluation and product recommendations would go a long way to smoothing implementation and the lasting success of the new bill.
“As an example, zappi – our next generation eco-smart EV charger – has been installed in tens of thousands of properties worldwide. In fact, it is currently the best-selling British-made EV charger. Alongside standard smart charging modes, it’s the first device on the market capable of harnessing power from renewable energy micro-generation technologies, such as PV panels and small-scale wind turbines. Factors like this should be integral to the approval process, impartially evaluating features and benefits of every product.
“We bring a consumer-centric approach to decarbonisation and are a proud UK company, with all of our products designed and built in Lincolnshire.”
With immense public interest, legislative pressure and investment from vehicle manufacturers, the UK is seeing a rapid rise in EV and PHEV ownership. While this new legislation is hugely positive news, as Brompton highlighted, it should be supplemented with a robust system to evaluate devices. This will help to ensure that UK homes are provided with capable and future-proofed chargers and equip us all for the future of driving.