New homes in England must have electric vehicle charging points, government says

Environment

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A charging cable plugged into a Volvo electric vehicle in London on November 18, 2020.
TOLGA AKMEN | AFP | Getty Images

New homes in England will be required to have charging points for electric vehicles, according to plans announced by authorities in the U.K.

“We’re regulating so as to require new homes and buildings to have EV charging points, with another 145,000 charging points to be installed thanks to these regulations,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said during a speech at the Confederation of British Industry’s annual conference.

During his speech, Johnson touched upon his own experiences of driving electric vehicles. “I tried the first Tesla for sale in this country for GQ,” he said. “It expired in the fast lane of the M40, I’m sad to say, though I think they’ve got a lot better.”

In an announcement released on Sunday prior to Johnson’s remarks, the U.K. government fleshed out details of the plan.

Alongside new homes and buildings such as workplaces and supermarkets being required to install EV charge points from 2022, the regulations will also apply to buildings where major renovations are taking place.

The plan to expand charging points comes as the U.K. attempts to develop the necessary infrastructure to cope with its target of stopping the sale of new diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2030. It will also require, from 2035, all new cars and vans to have zero tailpipe emissions.

Adequate charging options will be crucial when it comes to challenging perceptions surrounding range anxiety, a term that refers to the idea that electric vehicles aren’t able to undertake long journeys without losing power and getting stranded.

Among those reacting to this week’s announcement were Friends of the Earth’s head of policy, Mike Childs.

“Our homes and buildings should be designed to help meet the challenges of the climate crisis, including charging points as electric vehicles have a significant role to play in building a zero-carbon future,” Childs said.

“Ministers must also introduce financial incentives, such as a scrappage scheme, to help encourage people to switch to cleaner vehicles,” Childs said, before adding that people need to be encouraged to use their cars less.

“New housing should also include secure bike storage and access to safe cycling routes and high-quality public transport to provide real alternatives to driving,” he said.

As concerns about the environmental footprint of transportation mount, major economies and companies are looking to find ways to develop and roll out low and zero emission vehicles at scale.

Earlier this month, signatories to a declaration at the COP26 climate change summit said they would “work towards all sales of new cars and vans being zero emission globally by 2040, and by no later than 2035 in leading markets.”

While the U.S., China and carmakers including Volkswagen and Toyota were absent from the declaration, signatories did include the U.K., Indian and Canadian governments and major automotive firms such as Ford, General Motors and Volvo Cars.

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