Developers facing requirement to install electric car chargers from next year

3rd December 2021

Last week, the Prime Minister announced that most new homes and buildings constructed in England will be required to have electric car chargers installed from next year. Renovations will also be impacted, although legislation will need to clarify the threshold at which renovations trigger the installation requirement.

The government’s proposals are a world first. Electric car ownership has increased steadily in recent years, with approximately 10% of cars sold in the UK now being fully electric. With the sale of new petrol and diesel cars set to be banned by 2030, the market share of electric vehicles is likely to increase further and put the existing public charging network under additional strain.

The key points of the proposed legislation are:

  • Newly constructed homes, workplaces, and some new public buildings such as supermarkets will be required to install electric car charging points from next year.
  • Buildings undergoing ’large-scale renovations’ will also be caught by the requirement, if they will have over 10 parking spaces following the renovation. It is expected that one charger will be required for every 10 parking spaces.

The government expects that the new legislation will result in up to 145,000 new charging points being installed across England each year and encourage “the majority of charging to happen at home”. This should in turn reduce the strain on the public charging network.

Funding for the installation of new chargers will not necessarily be supported by the government, however. It has already announced that the existing Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme will close to homeowners from April 2022, although it will still be available to leaseholders and people who own their flats. It is not yet clear whether the Workplace Charging Scheme will be affected. This means that the cost of installation is likely to be passed on to buyers of new-build properties or the owners of properties undergoing large-scale renovations as the availability of grants is scaled back.

The meaning of ’large-scale renovation’ will need to be clarified as draft legislation is prepared. It has the potential to become the proposal’s key provision as the extent of the obligation is likely to impact the planned renovation of many buildings in the years to come.

Developers and planners will need to respond to the proposals once more details have been published. Given the relatively short timeframe before the introduction of the proposed legislation, it may be prudent to consider whether existing plans for newbuild properties – set to be completed from next year onwards – need revisiting to ensure that they will be compliant.

The obligation to install chargers is likely to impact not only the design of garages and parking areas themselves, but also the provision of electrical services to properties, the capacity required, and how they are governed in transactional documents. Homebuyers and employees may also have increased expectations for the delivery of sufficient charging infrastructure in the years to come.