New legislation aims to expand EV charging infrastructure and require ‘smart’ chargepoints

All electric vehicle (EV) chargepoints sold in the UK will have to be ‘smart’, meaning they can interact with the grid in order to manage demand for electricity, under plans announced by the Department for Transport.

Smart chargers are expected to play a key role in ensuring that the UK’s local electricity networks can cope with the growing numbers of electric cars.

The technology helps to modulate demand on the electrical grid, ensuring that EV charging does not place too much strain on local networks at times of peak demand and allowing drivers to take advantage of cheaper off-peak electricity.

The plan to ensure all chargers are smart is part of the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill, which also aims to boost the rollout of EV chargepoints and enable drivers of automated cars to be insured on UK roads.

Under the Bill, all UK motorway services and large petrol retailers will be required to install chargepoints.

The Department for Transport also said it wants drivers of electric vehicles to be able to easily locate and charge at any chargepoint, using information from sat navs or mobile apps, regardless of the vehicle make or model — making running an electric vehicle even easier.

Roads Minister Jesse Norman said: “Automated and electric vehicles will help improve air quality, cut congestion, boost safety and create thousands of skilled jobs in the UK. We have already supported the purchase of 115,000 ultra-low emission cars and there are already more than 11,500 publicly available chargepoints, but the demand continues to grow as more people purchase electric vehicles to cut fuel costs and boost the environment.”

Transport Minister John Hayes added: “This bill will aid the construction of greater infrastructure to support the growing demand for automated and electric vehicles as we embrace this technology and move into the future.”

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