By Mark Fairlie

The government have proposed fitting all new homes built in suburban England with their own electric car charging points as part of their bid to reduce carbon emissions in the UK.

According to the plan from the Department for Transport, it will be mandatory for all new houses, flats, and office buildings to have external charging point installations; ensuring all new builds are “electric vehicle ready”.

Road to Zero

This new requirement forms part of the government’s Road to Zero report published this week, stating it is their “intention that all new homes, where appropriate, should have a charge point available”.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling aims to make it easier for Brits to recharge their electric car than it would be to refuel their petrol or diesel vehicle.

The Road to Zero report acknowledges that charging an electric vehicle is very different to refuelling traditional cars, but that this is an attractive feature since they can be charged wherever there is an electric outlet available.

“Charging cars at home overnight using a dedicated ChargePoint is generally safer, faster and more convenient for consumers, and will ensure electric vehicles are able to play their full part in our future smart and flexible energy system,” it states.

The government already have an Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme in place, which provides grant support for electric vehicle drivers to install their own charging points at home.

The proposed plans to include at-home charging points in new builds hopes to further support and encourage the use of electric cars.

For this to happen, the government have also proposed:

  • Assessing whether new homes and offices should be legally required to install charging points as a standard
  • Implementing new street lights with on-street parking to provide charging points in appropriate and convenient locations across the UK
  • Allocating more money towards funding electric car charging infrastructure

Ban on petrol and diesel cars

The main driver for encouraging the use of electric cars is the government’s plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations, also referred to as the Clean Air Strategy.

A significant part of the strategy includes a plan to ban all new diesel and petrol cars and vans in the UK by 2040. From then on, virtually all cars and vans on the road will be zero emission to help tackle air pollution.

Electric car charge points to become permanent fixture in new build homes

The document states that the government has already taken “significant action” to improve air quality, and is an established leader in the UK for the manufacturing and uptake of electric vehicles.

“The shift to ultra-low and zero emission vehicles is well underway, and will continue to gather pace over the coming years as we move towards 2040, by which point the government will end the sale of all new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans,” it says.

The government aim to gradually remove combustion engines “from the streets of our towns and cities, some as soon as the early 2020s.”

Call for more charging stations across the UK

Hybrids and electric vehicles made up 5.5% of the UK’s new car market at the beginning of this year; up 1.3% from 2017. It is clear that the government’s plans to increase the use of electric cars is working, slowly but surely.

Grayling says “the road to zero strategies, combined with the measures we’ve already introduced, will mean Britain now has one of the most comprehensive support packages for zero-emission vehicles in the world.”

He went on to say that the “prize” for becoming a world-leader in developing zero-emission vehicles is

“not just a cleaner and healthier environment, but a UK economy fit for the future and the chance to win a substantial slice of a market – estimated to be worth up to £7.6tn by 2050.”

Increasing the number of charging stations across the country is just one of Grayling’s strategies to increase the take-up of ultra-low emission vehicles, by making it easier than ever to recharge them.

There are around 60 different electric vehicles available in the UK, with a growing public charge point infrastructure of more than 5,000 locations, according to Zap Map.

Ministers have announced local councils be given £255million in funding to tackle emissions in their districts, urging them to set up a number of their own charging stations.

In addition to the inclusion of personal charging stations in all new homes built in England, it is believed that more easily-accessible electric charging points will further encourage the use of zero-emission vehicles overall.

President of the AA, Edmund King, told the BBC the proposals were “a step in the right direction”, but warned, “there is still much to do to wean drivers off petrol and diesel cars”.