Preparing for electric vehicles by 2030

As we’re accelerating towards electric vehicles (EV) in the UK, here’s what you need to know and how to prepare.

Child looking out of a car window into the horizon

Electric vehicles are on the horizon and fast approaching. In fact, we’re set to have bought more than 250,000 electric vehicles by the end of 2021. More and more EV models are coming out, and many businesses are supporting the switch to electric transport.

With the government ban on the sale of any new petrol or diesel cars coming into effect in 2030, it’s clear electric is the future. Here’s how you can prepare for the EV transition. 

Government grants for cars and EV charge points

With around 80% of EV charging happening at home, the government have introduced grants to help you get your charging point up and running as soon as possible. After all, it may soon be a legal requirement to have an EV charge point at your property.

Currently, the government are offering to pay up to 75% of the cost for a home charge point (capped at £500) through the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme and you could get up to £350 off the price of a charging station.1 They’re also providing help to buy your electric car – with a 35% reduction in cost up to £2,500.

It’s best to get in early if you’re ready to make the change, as these grants won’t be available forever.

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How do I charge an electric vehicle?

When you buy your EV it will comes with a manufacturer’s handbook. This will have all the information you need on how to charge your car. Most cars come with their own cables but, if for any reason they don’t, you can easily purchase them yourself.

Finding a charge point installer

There are many government-approved EV charge point installers – and energy companies are on board too. Many of the UK’s energy suppliers will now help you arrange the installation and provide low-cost energy tariffs if you are using an electric car.

Your installer will advise on the best location for the charge point based on your property and where you park your car. They will also register your charge point with the Distribution Network Operator (DNO). 

The unit should be wall-mounted where possible and the cost of your charge point will depend on whether it’s fast, rapid or slow charging. Slow charging points are often the most cost effective and work well in places where you can leave your car overnight, such as on your driveway.

Planning ahead for EV installation

If you’re thinking of moving home in the next five to ten years, it could be worth considering where you’d have an EV charge point. Perhaps you’d like somewhere with a drive or a garage, if you don’t already have one. Or you could make some changes to where you are now. If your home has space at the front, you could drop the kerb and create a driveway. Don’t forget, you’ll need planning permission from the council if this will cross a public footpath.

What if I don’t have a driveway?

Many Local Authorities are working to support those with restricted access or limited parking options. So, if you live in a flat and park your car on the road, EV charge points on lamp posts and other kerbside chargers will be available.

These public charge points can power two or three cars at once, but there will need to be enough parking space. If you live in a busy area and have any concerns about the number of EV charge points, get in contact with your Local Authority. Some councils are working hard to ensure that every house has a charge point within a 10 minute walk.

Charging your EV when you’re out and about

Soon EV chargers will be a much more common sight when you’re out and about.

Both public and private investment is being put into a new electric-focused infrastructure. So, you’ll be able to charge your car at places like petrol stations, hotels, public car parks and retail parks. Employers too are installing charge points at the workplace. And the changes are happening fast. As of July 2021 there are now more than 42,000 EV charge points at around 16,000 locations, and 400-500 points are being installed every day.

Free EV charge points

There are free charge points popping up across the UK – however they do have some access restrictions. For example, you might find a charge point that is indicated for customer use only. It’s worth bearing in mind that, while charging might be free, you may have to pay for parking.

Even if you don’t have an EV yet, it could be useful to find your nearest free charge point for when you need it in the future. You can view charge point locations using an app like ZapMap which shows you both major networks and the smaller providers across the UK, so you can search for your nearest. Or you can use the search function on Google Maps.

Fast and rapid chargers

While there are many free charging spots, the fast and rapid points will cost money. This is calculated based on a flat connection fee, and then a cost of pence per hour for your charging time or cost per energy consumed measured in kilowatts.

What is an RFID?

Access to a charging point is usually via Radio Frequency Identification RFID. It’s a way of identifying who you are. You’ll either need the right RFID card or a mobile app to start charging your vehicle.

And finally… Wherever you are on your journey to EV, rest assured there is plenty of time. Government rules and guidelines don’t come into effect for another nine years.  

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