What is UK EVSE?

UK Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (UK EVSE) is a trade association formed to represent the interest of charge point and service providers. The current members are APT Controls (Evolt), Trueform, EO Charging, Shell-New Motion, Robert Bosch Ltd, Gridscape Solutions, Cenex, Source London, Rolec Services Ltd and Siemens.

How can I become a member?

If you are a charge point manufacturer you can apply for membership by downloading and completing the application form. Membership is approved at the discretion of the UK EVSE executive committee.  The annual membership fee is currently £3000 and the next application review is on 1st September 2019.

What are the benefits of the membership?

UK EVSE was formed to promote the interest of its members to stakeholders (e.g. government, fleet managers, and domestic users), the charge point industry and resolve issues between members.

About electric vehicles

What is the difference between a pure electric vehicle and a hybrid?

A pure electric vehicle or Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) solely utilises the energy from a traction battery (usually Lithium Polymer; 7-85kWh capacity depending on the model) to drive an electric machine (electric motor) that provides the mechanical power to drive the vehicle. Some BEVs possess several traction batteries and several electric machines. It is possible to save between 15 and 40% CO2 emission utilising an EV over an equivalent conventionally fuelled diesel or petrol vehicle. EV-related CO2 emissions are likely to reduce over time due to electricity grid decarbonisation (6% between 2012 and 2013 according to DECC).

Hybrid EVs can be split into those that are self contained and cannot be plugged in and those that can be charged from the electricity grid. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and Range-Extended EVs (RE-EV) are both types of Plug-in EVs. PHEVs and RE-EVs share common features including a traction battery, power electronics for charging from the grid, an electric machine and an internal combustion engine (either petrol or diesel, but usually petrol).  PHEVs usually have a parallel architecture in that the mechanical power to drive the wheels can be provided by the engine and the electric machine. RE-EVs tend to have a serial architecture where the engine is used as a generator to supply power to the battery and/or electric machine. The electric machine is the only source of mechanical drive for a RE-EV.

What generates cabin heat without engine coolant?

As EVs don’t have a heat supply generated by the engine they use electric heaters and electric heated surfaces (e.g. seats, steering wheel) to generate cabin heat. Newer models have been fitted with more efficient heat pumps and better temperature isolation materials to retain the heat. The heavy use of cabin heat can have an impact on the range of an EV. This can be around 20% reduction in range in winter. This is why it is important to pre-heat the cabin when the EV is plugged in and charging from the grid (at home, at work and at rapid charging infrastructure). Please note that a number of EVs are available with remote heating controls or timers to allow the cabin to be heated before the driver arrives at the vehicle.

Can I get insurance and breakdown cover?

Several insurance companies and motoring organisations offer insurance and breakdown cover. Please search using the many comparison sites available online. One of the requirements before obtaining an accurate quote is to mention if the battery is leased from the manufacturer or is owned by you. If you search well, insurance for an EV is not generally that more expensive than a comparable diesel or petrol vehicle.

Breakdown coverage is usually provided for at least the first year when you buy a new EV.

What impacts the range of an EV?

The actual range depends on a number of factors including driving habits, the weather conditions and the elevation of the roads you are driving on. Driving at high speeds will lower the range of the vehicle. In addition, aggressive driving with multiple and fast start stops will decrease the range. Moreover, the air conditioning and heater can affect the range. Driving at night, using the windscreen wipers, rear demister, listening to the radio and charging your mobile phone or mp3 player will not have a significant impact on range.

Most EVs are equipped with real-time information used to predict vehicle range. Please note that it is better to measure remaining range by the percentage charge or battery “bars” left rather than rely upon the predicted miles left.

EVs generally also have eco-modes that harshen the energy clawback from regenerative braking and flatten the throttle response to improve range. On long journeys it is advisable to use these modes.

Do EVs put a strain on the National grid?

Many people charge EVs overnight when there is enough off-peak electricity to charge millions of electric cars. Time-based charging management technology within home charging units encourages the user to charge at off-peak hours under an ‘Economy 7 or 11’ plan. The strain depends on the capacity of the local grid,  consumer behaviour and the number of EVs charging. Grid strain will be important when there are millions of EVs on UK roads.

Are electric vehicles really green?

Pure electric vehicles produce zero emissions at the tailpipe (many vehicle manufacturers emphasise this). This means lower local pollution, but the main area of concern represents the source of energy generation. The current UK Renewable Energy Roadmap for 2020 set a target of 15% renewable energy to be supplied to consumers by 2020. Green energy tariffs are also offered by several renewable energy companies including Ecotricity, Good Energy and OVO amongst others. Some vehicle manufacturers are offering green tariffs to purchasers of EVs at the point of sale. Some public infrastructure schemes are investing in renewable electricity by offering charging equipment hosts green tariffs as part of the installation deal.

Several Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) studies have tried to determine the true impact of an EV compared to an equivalent diesel or petrol vehicle over its lifetime. One particular example is the Norwegian paper released by Hawkins et al. (2012). The press jumped on one of the results in this paper suggesting that the production phase emissions of an EV are twice that of a conventional vehicle. However the press played down that the operational emissions of an EV run on renewable electricity are a lot lower than a conventional vehicle. This results in a lower overall emissions profile over the whole life of an EV. From this, it is clear that a holistic view is needed when looking at LCA studies.

Aren’t electric vehicles still too expensive?

Leading manufacturers such as Nissan, Peugeot, Toyota, Vauxhall and Renault have all introduced EVs in recent years, and many more models will be launched next year. The growing market means that the cost of EVs is being driven down – making purchasing or leasing an EV a more attractive proposition. In fact, quite a few of the EVs currently on the UK market are competitively priced more than they were two years ago. In addition, EV manufactures are offering attractive battery leasing options thus reducing the upfront cost of the car. For those looking to purchase an electric vehicle as part of a business fleet or from a company car allowance, the sums can work out very favourably. This is mainly due to incentives such as reduced or zero road tax for EVs, reduced Benefit In-Kind (BIK) taxation and Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA; enabling write-down against tax over the first year).

How much money will I save using an electric vehicle?

There are several saving benefits associated with electric vehicles. Firstly, their operating cost (including fuel and maintenance) is much lower when compared to a conventional car.  For example; 80 miles of motoring using a conventional car costs around £17 in fuel and around £2 per day in maintenance.  By comparison; an EV driving the same distance would use about 28kWh costing around £3 on a business electricity tariff. Maintenance costs would be around £1.50 to £2 per day.  Finally, the government is offering different incentives for electric vehicle users such as not having to pay the London’s congestion charge or free parking for EVs in certain London Boroughs. Please see previous FAQ for other EV incentives that can help save motorists money.

About charge points: Installation

What is an electric vehicle charge point and what will it look like?

An electric vehicle charge point is a socket on a unit of infrastructure which can either be post or wall mounted. Charge points are designed to supply energy to Electric Vehicles and can be installed and accessed in public or at home. Charge point units generally resemble a bollard if they are ground mounted. Wall mounted units resemble either a hose reel (a domestic point) or a sturdy outdoor socket.

What if I don’t own my home?

You need to seek permission from your local authority, landlord or relevant organisation to install a charge point unit if you don’t own the property. Please note that there are permitted development rights that apply to EV charge point units meaning that they do not necessarily require planning permission in public places. More information on this can be found by searching online for SI 2056 2011.

Where are charge point units located?

Charge point units have been strategically located to account for likely demand. Likely locations include car parks, transport hubs, leisure and tourism sites, supermarkets, hospitals, airports and railway stations.

Do I need planning permission for a charge point unit?

Charge points only need planning permission when they are either over 1.6m in height (for ground mounted units) or are more than 0.2 cubic meters in volume (for wall mounted units). Planning permission is also needed if charge points are fitted near a highway and listed building. In addition, charge points using a photovoltaic canopy need planning permission. For more information access the link found here. You can also consult your local council planning officer. Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) may be required for on-street public charging posts.

Do I have to use an electrician to install my charge point unit?

Electrical installations must only be performed by qualified tradesmen with the relevant qualifications. This applies to all electrical appliances and this is no different for an EV charge point unit.

What's inside a charge point unit and control pillar?

Inside or integral to the average charge point unit and control pillar you will find the following equipment:

  1. Safety trip switches (residual current and overcurrent devices) and damage detection systems (e.g. accelerometer/tilt switch).
  2. Electricity meters to collect data on electricity use by each socket.
  3. Modular computer equipment to perform a number of functions including: identification of vehicle attachment, vehicle battery status and validity of the user card or other means of access. This equipment will also control the charge point equipment and receive, process and transmit data/instructions to and from the charge point management system located remotely (where data is collected).
  4. Communications equipment (e.g. GPRS and network electronics).
  5. Radio Frequency ID card reader and associated electronics.

About charge points: Cost and benefits

How much will a typical charge cost me?

The cost of a charge depends on the energy depletion of the battery and its capacity as well as the nominal fee the charge point offers electricity at (via Pay As You Go). The typical cost for charging an EV will be between £1 and £10 per 100% charge when charging at a public fast charger.  Typical rapid charge costs will be around £5 to £10 per charge. Please note that most of the charging infrastructure installed in the UK was free to use with a paid membership card at the time of writing (2013).

Are there any government grants available?

There are currently two schemes which offer up to 75% of the cost of buying and installing a charge point. These are the Plugged in Places (e.g. Plugged in Midlands) and the National Scheme run by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles. For more information please visit the government’s official page.

What are the options for the local authority to match funding given by charge point grants?

OLEV funding is available for successful bidders up to a maximum of 75%. This covers the combined installation and purchase costs of the hardware. Match funding is required and can be from a number of sources:

  • Local Transport Plan (LTP3) funding
  • Commercial sponsorship
  • Public Private Procurement (PPP) scheme
  • Preferential public sector loan
  • Department for Transport’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund
What are the options for the private funding to match funding given by charge point grants?
  • Local Sustainable Transport Funding is available to businesses if they fall into the right Local Authority jurisdiction. Please contact your local Council and read the LSTF bids list.
  • As part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs or low carbon targets.
  • For the use of the company’s cars or fleets. Fleet managers will benefit from zero vehicle excise duty, zero rated benefit in kind for company car user and tax incentives for outright vehicle purchase.
Can I place advertisements on my charge point units?

The Town and Country Planning Regulations (SI 2057 2011) allows for two supplier or charge point installer advertisements up to 70sqcm. No illumination is permitted. Please search online for SI 2057 2011.

About charge points: Charge point usage

How do you charge an electric vehicle?

Charging an electric vehicle is a simple process which requires a compatible plug-to-plug cable or tethered plug charge point unit. Access to charging is usually provided by an RFID card or via a smart phone application. The charging starts automatically and stops automatically when the car is fully charged so the car can be left connected indefinitely. The charging can be interrupted or stopped at any time simply by presenting the RFID card or by providing a command to the equipment via a smart phone application. Access to public charging infrastructure is moving to a Pay As You Go billing model.

How long will the battery remain charged if you leave it parked where you cannot charge it?

Generally, an EV’s batteries will last for months if left unused. However, it really depends on the make and model of your EV as well as a wide variety of additional factors. Please consult your vehicle supplier.

Are Electric Vehicle charge point units safe?

Electric Vehicle charge point units include many safety features to prevent the risk of fire or electrocution. The charge point manufacturer’s must meet European electrical safety standards and provide safety features such as Residual Current Detection (RCD circuit breakers) and spike voltage protection as well as an isolation switch which is activated automatically if the charge point sensor detects damage caused to the unit. The status of charge points is usually monitored by a Charge Point Management System (CPMS) if the units can communicate with a Back Office server over the GPRS mobile network or LAN/internet.

Are there any security problems such as cable theft when charging on-street?

Both ends of the charging plug can be secured in their respective sockets. Type 2 plugs have an electromechanical lock that fixes the plug into the charge point socket. The J1772 (“Yazaki”) five pin connector on the vehicle end of the cable usually has a padlock hole under the trigger button that releases the plug from the vehicle socket.  If a small luggage lock is attached through the padlock hole, the button cannot be depressed and the plug cannot be removed. Many EVs that utilise the Type 2 Female plug on the vehicle side of the cable now lock the plug into the vehicle socket during charging. Vehicle rapid charging ports also lock the plug into the vehicle socket whilst charging.

What type of information will the charge point units collect and how will it be used?

Charge point units (that can communicate) will collect information related to charge point use frequency and electricity usage. The data will be anonymous and will be collected and transmitted (using encryption) to a Charge Point Management System (CPMS). Charge point unit hosts will be able to access anonymous data relating to use of their equipment.

What are the different charging speeds of charge point units?

The speed of charging depends on the power output from the electrical supply, the charge cable, the capability of the charge point unit, the size of the battery pack and the power that the vehicle onboard charger can accept/convert. The following table provides an overview of charging times:

Type          Charge capability Typical Electrical power supply Approximate charge time*
Standard 3 kW AC Single Phase 13 Amps @ 230 Volts 6-8 hours
Fast 7 kW AC Single Phase 32 Amps @ 230 Volts 3-4 hours
Quick 22 kW AC Three Phase 32 Amps @ 415 Volts 1-2 hours
Rapid 50 kW DC 125 amps @ 415 Volts 20-30 mins to 80%

*for a 24kWh battery to charge from 0-100% State Of Charge (SOC)