The UK’s leading electricity networks have committed to cutting red tape for connecting electric vehicles (EVs) to their grids, in a bid to make EV charging easier.
All six of the UK’s distribution network operators (DNOs) have announced a new standardised process for all types of properties and businesses to apply for grid connection approval, replacing the current model which requires a range of requirements to be met.
This will massively cut down on the amount of paperwork installers need to complete, allowing a potential increase in the number of EV charging points being installed and more people to invest in electric vehicles.
The changes will also apply for connecting heat pumps, a low-carbon means of heating homes which work by converting energy in the ground or air to heat.
There are already plans to digitalise the process entirely once it is launched, adding in technology such as facial recognition, in a move which will make the installation of charge points even simpler.
David Smith, chief executive of the Energy Networks Association (ENA) which represents the DNOs, said: ‘We want to help super-charge Britain’s EV roll-out. By finding new ways to cut the amount of paperwork, we are making it easier and quicker for EV charge points to connect to the network, helping the public make the switch to cleaner, greener transportation.
‘At the same time, we want to ensure that they can access the latest low-carbon heating technologies, such as heat pumps, as easily as possible, to keep their homes warm throughout the year.
‘Smart technology and data are vital to ensuring that network companies run the system in a more efficient and capable way. But to do that we need to know where and when charge points and heat pumps are being installed so we can manage the system in the most reliable, flexible way possible.
‘The changes announced today will make it easier for installers to provide that information whilst helping network operators fulfil their responsibilities to the public.’
The announcement comes on the back of a House of Commons enquiry into EV charging last year, which identified that a lack of EV charging infrastructure could act as a barrier to consumers deciding to switch to electric vehicles.
The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy select committee report, published last October, said it was concerned by the government’s ‘unambitious and vague’ targets on zero-emissions vehicles, urging the government to adopt a 2032 target for its zero-emission vehicles strategy.
In its response, the government conceded that more work needs to be done, but stressed that its original 2040 target is more achievable.
The DNOs’ move has been praised by the likes of companies who specialise in EV charging, saying it represents a ‘significant step forward’ in the transition towards electric vehicles.
Ian Johnston, CEO of the EV charging company Engenie, said: “Today’s announcement represents a significant step forward in simplifying the roll out of rapid EV charging infrastructure. However, it remains just one piece of the EV jigsaw.’
Johnston added that the UK government must now show leadership by using consumer policy, regulation and funding to speed up the move to zero-carbon transport.