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Charge of the electric car brigade

Nov 2016 Electric Vehicles | Comments Off on Charge of the electric car brigade
Charge of the electric car brigade

With electric vehicle sales on the rise, the charging infrastructure is also expanding to meet the increasing demand. For contractors, this offers the opportunity to adapt and grow with the changing needs of the market and also opens up a new revenue stream. Kevin Norman, senior product marketing manager at Newey & Eyre, explains why it’s time contractors got up to speed

Department for Transport (DfT) vehicle licensing statistics show that between April and June 2016, 9657 Ultra Low Emission Vehicles were registered for the first time. While that only represents 1.1% of new registrations in that period, it is 49% higher than in the previous period in 2015, and 253% higher than two years ago.

The DfT ascribes the growth to a number of factors: new and more appealing models coming onto the market, and increasing price competitiveness allied with the Government’s plug-in grant incentive. Plug-in grants, now available until at least 2018, offer a grant of 35% of the full purchase price of a car (up to £2,500 or £4,500 depending upon the vehicle) and 20% of the cost of a van (up to £8,000).

An extra revenue stream

With more EVs on the roads, it is self-evident that the infrastructure to support them must be growing accordingly. Analysis carried out by car manufacturer Nissan indicates that by August 2020, the number of public EV charging points will grow to 7900, while the number of fuel stations will have declined to below that figure by the same time – with the crossover point coming sooner with the accelerating rate of EV sales.

While recent Government survey data indicates that around 80% of EV charging will be done at home or at work, there are strong incentives for more public spaces to invest in charging points to help boost the uptake of EVs which, after all, play a strong part in the Government’s green agenda.

Some local authorities are already installing charging points that are free to use for two hours. In addition, 98% of motorway service stations have charging stations and some local authorities are already including them as a planning requirement in both private and public developments. Homeowners can already take advantage of the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, which will pay for up to 75% of the total costs of installing a home charge point fitted by an accredited installer.

For electrical contractors, what this points to is a new revenue stream – one that they should be taking on board sooner rather than later. It is much better to be part of a market in its growth stage than try to elbow in when it has reached maturity.

How to get into the market

There are just two essentials for businesses wanting to become part of this market: basic training and a partnership with a reliable wholesaler offering a comprehensive range of charging point equipment.

In terms of training, a good recommendation is the introductory EV charging course offered by NICEIC, which is designed to teach contractors how to install EV charging points in compliance with BS 7671, the Electrical Safety Quality and Continuity Regulations and the new IET Code of Practice. It is a one-day course and an ideal entry point.

On the equipment side, Newey & Eyre has invested in developing a range of charging points and accessories compatible with all the leading manufacturers’ electric vehicles, for either J1772 or IEC62196 connections.

The Newlec range provides solutions for domestic, commercial locations and public charge points.

Domestic products include the Newlec WallPod, an EV-ready unit that offers a low-cost, future proof solution, not only charging in Mode 2 format but doubling as an outdoor IP65 rated domestic 13A maintenance socket. It is also easily upgradeable to the full Mode 3 fast charging format.

From domestic to commercial

In the commercial sector, where chargers are subject to more frequent use, robust design and optimised security is key. For this, we developed the Newlec EV SecuriCharge, a heavy duty, hard wearing and vandal resistant wall-mounted EV charging unit, designed and manufactured for public facing and exposed locations. It meets the full breadth of charging requirements from the majority of car manufacturers and is also easy to install and maintain. It is compliant with all EVs and PHEVs, manufactured in compliance with BS 7671 Wiring Regulations.

Also for commercial and public sector use is the BasicCharge. This 1000mm-high EV charging pedestal with a 4W light has been designed with mode 3 charging, a tethered cable or an IEC 62196 type 2 dedicated socket outlet, and built-in overload and fault current protection for added safety.

The rise and rise of EVs in the UK provides electrical contractors with the chance to add an additional income stream to their business by aiding the ever-growing infrastructure expansion. With further investment from the Government to get more low emission vehicles on the road, it is vital that contractors keep up to date with the EV market, enabling them to hit the ground running and make the most of this opportunity.