Electric vehicles are the eco-friendly words on everyone’s lips, thanks to the government’s recent ‘Road to Zero’ strategy. Set to be the next big thing in the transportation sector as governments talk about phasing out vehicles powered by internal combustion engines by 2040, the electric vehicle is the transport of the future.
To support such a switch up in how British consumers get from A to B, the government needs to not only offer viable travel alternatives – such as electrically fuelled transportation – that are affordable, but also needs to provide the infrastructure needed to support this conversion in the long term and, perhaps most importantly, make this infrastructure easily accessible to the average household.
Recent news topics would indicate that the considered solution would be to combine two government schemes – the ambitious promise of 300,000 new homes to be built annually, and the move towards electric cars that will inevitably require charging ports – into one, overarching solution.
New build developments must now be required to dedicate a certain percentage of the available car parking spaces to electric vehicles, and begin retro fitting charging points. This initiative has already been rolled out in the Greater London Authority, where 20% of parking spaces within new build developments need charging points to be installed. While exclusive to London at present, it is reasonable to assume that other local authorities will follow suit, but they cannot do so without incentive. The UK will be boosting investment into electric-car infrastructure, including a £400 million pound fund for companies that produce and install charging points.
Whether you are a developer embarking on a new build scheme, or a buyer looking to move into a leasehold development, it is important that both parties consider the potential longevity of such an enterprise.
It is my opinion that electric charging points should be installed in all parking spaces within new build developments, and connected to the leaseholder’s main Smart Meter as a mandatory requirement. This can be initially capped off and activated by the residents when an electric vehicle is purchased. Every new build scheme should have the ability for every car parking space to be “electric ready” and, going one step further, the lease should be written to reflect the future changes needed.
For existing developments, this may be a little trickier. Leaseholders will need to seek permission from property managers to install electric charging points to their car parking space, and there will be several factors that will need to be considered.
Firstly, is it physically possible? Basic information about the location of electrical feed in relation to the parking space will be vital, as will knowledge of the obstacles, the terms of the lease and the ownership of the parking space – whether it be the leaseholder, the landlord or RMC. In the case of the latter, the leaseholder would need to seek legal advice to obtain a license to alter. One of the most contentious issues in property management is car parking. Does the development have dedicated parking spaces, or does it operate on a “first come first serve” basis? If the latter, can the property manager realistically offer a communal charging point?
Secondly, is there a policy from the Managing Agent already in place? If not, the leaseholder must ask them to create a policy, for either the individual or the entire development, as other leaseholders may follow suit.
Costs must also be considered, as well as who is liable for them. It must be decided if a risk assessment is needed for each individual space and, long term, hard wire electrical NIC EIC tests (technical term being BA 7671) will be required by the freeholder on a 5 yearly basis as the supply is in a communal area. Luckily for freeholders and developers, charging points may differ with power requirements, but car manufacturers have taken a ‘one size fits all’ approach, meaning charging points are usually universal and therefore not restricted to certain types of vehicle. There is more information available through the UKEVSE.
To conclude, there is a clear move towards electric vehicles becoming increasingly common until they are the standard across the car industry. Therefore all new buildings should be fitted with charging points to each allocated car parking space and a communal facility. However, the issue will be the retro fitting of charging points to allocated car parking spaces, so until this is common practice, most managing agents may not know what criteria to follow. I think that making it a standardised process to include car charging points should be taken up by all developers with immediate effect, and I believe that retro fitting should also be considered in existing blocks of flats.