A recent roundtable on electric vehicles (EVs) – hosted by Electrical Safety First and the Electrical Contractors Association, included the first-ever mapping of the UK’s EV charging landscape with a spotlight on safety.
The event was the latest in a series of roundtables arising from the charity’s Future Homes report, which reviewed the key technologies and themes relating to the net zero homes of the future, and how they create an interconnected web of safety challenges. So it was fitting that the EV roundtable attracted a wide range of representatives, from car manufacturers to housing associations, as well as trade and industry bodies, including distribution network operators, in addition to consumer organisations. This collaborative event included independent research from the ECA, which helped form part of the safe-charging map for EVs.
“These roundtables were established to gain feedback on our report, to inform further research and campaigns and to extend collaborative working in this area”, explains Lesley Rudd, Chief Executive of Electrical Safety First. “Our research with the ECA in mapping the UK’s EV charging landscape built on earlier work, where we found a correlation between a lack of easy access to an EV chargers and ‘risky’ charging behaviour. This latest, collaborative project gathered information from a range of data sources, including local authorities, to determine if the charging landscape is keeping pace with the growth in EVs. Unfortunately, the ECA’s freedom of information requests found 66% of local authorities who responded had no EV charging infrastructure strategy at all.”
ECA Energy Solutions Advisor, Luke Osbourne, adds: “There is no question that EV charging is key to unlocking our potential to reach our ambitious net zero targets. Our independent research has shown that there is a worrying lack of joined-up policy at Government level, which is reflected in the postcode lottery of charging facilities across the country. Through our collaboration with Electrical Safety First, and other industry and government bodies, we must stay collectively focused on building sustainable, consumer-friendly, and robust EV infrastructure, to meet the demands of this booming market – and, more importantly, to help mitigate the climate crisis.”
Discussions raised a number of other significant issues, including potential safety issues and the strain on the distribution network operators (DNO), as approximately a third of home EV charge point installations are not notified with the DNO. Representatives stressed the importance of further education and engagement with the industry, as well as the consumer. There was also broad agreement that a joined-up, national and local government infrastructure strategy was essential. However, discussions also highlighted how the views of residents must be consulted in establishing local needs.