Everything you need to know about electric vehicle charging stations

The number of electric vehicles on the UK roads has increased exponentially during the last couple of years, making the UK one of the largest markets for electric vehicle sales in Europe. In particular, according to Statista, hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles are estimated to account for over 10 percent of car registrations in the UK, in 2020. During 2010 to 2017, the sale of electric vehicles was relatively low, however, in stark contrast, this has drastically changed as more than 128,500 electric cars were estimated to be on the UK roads by the end of May 2020, with registrations of EVs in the first six months of 2020 being up 86% in what has been a tough market in general with Covid-19. This is largely down to the government who have strongly encouraged more people towards electric vehicles as part of their plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The UK government announced in 2017 that by 2040, the sale of diesel vehicles will be banned as transport emissions are responsible for 23% of all CO2 emissions in the UK, which is more than any other sector.

Since electric cars have low running costs and are a sustainable alternative to the diesel ones, they tend to be an attractive option for consumers. The increased demand for EVs has resulted in an increased demand for charging points as well. In 2019 there were more than 26,300 charging stations available in the UK. However, charging infrastructure must develop further wherever we park our cars. There are already available charging points in motorway services, railway stations, supermarkets and car parks but most consumers prefer the option of charging their cars at home which is a far more convenient and low-cost option.

As part of the “The Road to Zero Strategy” the UK Government has introduced legislation that predicts the installation of residential charging stations for electric vehicles to all new build developments. Infrastructure changes are required for existing blocks and houses too, in order to support this new technology. For this reason, the government have also launched investment funds that provide funding to new and existing companies that produce and install charging points, as well as to EV owners so that charging stations can be implemented within their homes.

Developers are now installing electric charging points in new blocks as standard but for anyone with responsibility for an existing development that wants to install charging points, there are a number of factors for property managers as well as landlords and leaseholders to consider. There are fewer challenges however if you live in a freehold property compared to leasehold developments.

The benefits of home charging stations

Although there is the option of charging EVs at work, according to studies, 75% of electric vehicle charging is going to take place at home as home charging stations add value to the ownership of an electronic vehicle by offering convenience and control over the charging costs. Home-charging stations, to facilitate the growing popularity of electric cars, allow owners to reduce the running costs of their vehicle by almost 20 percent in comparison to running a diesel vehicle, which is a significant cost-saving benefit for potential buyers. This can be achieved through smart charging. That is, consumers can benefit from better prices on electricity by charging their vehicles when the demand and the prices are low and in this way, balancing the grid.

The benefits of installing EV charging stations in residential properties can go even further as electric vehicles can serve as mini power stations in a building. That is, EVs are energy storage devices that can release power back into the grid, while they are connected to it. This function, which is known as “Vehicle to Grid” (V2G), can be particularly useful during rush hour when there is high demand and low supply. Additionally, when this technology becomes more mainstream, EV chargers can go even further and kick into action during the day when solar power is generated and store clean solar power in order to feed it back to the grid later in the day during peak hours.

Residential charging points can also potentially generate revenue for the buildings that they are installed in as they can be open not only to the residents but also to the public by being listed on Google maps, WAZE and Zap-Map (an app that locates all charging stations in the country) and charge for their services on a pay as you go model. Commercial properties can take advantage of this option as well by using the charging points not only as a revenue stream but also for bringing in new visitors to the property and creating regular custom.

Finally, there is no doubt that by installing EV charging stations to your property can add considerable value as it becomes more attractive to future buyers.

Challenges of EV charging points

One of the main concerns associated with the purchase of an electric vehicle is the charging time. The charging time of a vehicle can range from 30 minutes to 12 hours and depends on the battery of the vehicle as well as the charging stations. There are three types of charging stations in the market each one with different charging speeds. The most common station uses 240 volts, while the fastest and most powerful one is expensive and is not used at residential charging points.

Another challenge that needs to be considered is the fact that in most leasehold developments the car parks are connected to communal supply that is covered by the service charge and as a result it is hard to keep track of the energy consumption of each flat. For this reason, pay as you go apps have been developed by many suppliers so that residents that take advantage of the charging stations in a building can pay their blocks back according to their consumption.

How HML can help

At HML, we always want to be true to our proposition of moving forward and this is why we are working with energy suppliers and are investigating the installation of EV charging stations in properties as this is a growing feature that could add value. Although we are aware of the fact that this market is growing day by day and right now there are no perfect solutions, moving forward we hope to be in a position to advise our clients over which type of charging station is the best for their site, liaise with the RMC Directors at all stages of the process and help them manage the charging stations efficiently. By obtaining the necessary licences for managing residential charging stations, we should be able to identify any issue that can potentially arise. We envision this technology as an opportunity to make the sites we are managing a better place for residents and visitors.