The EV revolution is unstoppable but some older charge points are already becoming obsolete. Jamie Willsdon from Future Fuel has the solution.
In the new build sector developers of residential blocks, particularly in the build-to-rent market, have been installing electric vehicle (EV) charge points as standard for several years.
Early solutions specified and installed by developers in the last five years are now typically being overseen by property managers who are increasingly coming to us with their problems. We are finding more and more chargers from this period that are not classed as “Smart Chargers” and that that mean they are now categorised as redundant or non-compliant due to changes in the law.
This is because older installations used a Radio Frequency Identification or REFID card, which is a contactless method for reading information and allows the user access to a charger. Normally these cards are licensed by the block to the user but the charges levied are a lottery for both the EV user and the service charge account.
Here’s an example:
Residents are licenced a RFID Card at £300pa.
Car one is a big Tesla, driven by a sales rep travelling the country. For £300 a year, this resident really benefits from the communal electricity supply at a cost to other residents.
Car two is an EV Smart Car, just used to pop to the shops or the gym at the weekends. This car is probably paying the correct money.
So if a block is still using an RFID card system, charges cannot be fairly apportioned. Both the Landlord and Tenant Act and The Energy Act, state that the resale of energy (which is effectively what we are taling about here) should be prohibited if units of use (in this case kWhs) cannot be measured and billed accordingly, or if the rate cannot not be fairly apportioned.
When it comes to EV charging, apportionment is just not possible in the same way that a service charge can be split according to floor area of a flat. Car one might be a taxi clocking up thousands of miles each week, whereas car two may just pop to the shops on a Wednesday. How can that usage be fairly apportioned and the cost allocated to the service charge?
Developers may not be keen to hear that the solution is to replace their old-style charge points with the new generation of smart chargers. These have remote billing platforms, based on PAYG, whereby the user pays for exact usage, just like we do when we pay to park in the High Street. Monies are metered and payments are automatically collected and dropped into the service charge fund, ensuring EV owners are fairly charged.
At Future Fuel we are partnering with PodPoint, one of the UK’s leading charger providers to install home chargers in residential blocks. With EVs set to dominate new car sales by the mid-to-late 2020s, it won’t be long before residents will expect EV charging to be offered as a standard amenity.
Podpoint believes the whole landscape for developers and building owners is about to change because offering EV charging will start to have a material impact on the appeal and value of a property. Co-Op Insurance recently found 40% of its customers already think that new homes without charging provision risk losing value as a result. So providing charging facilities will be as much about protecting and enhancing value, as it will be about making the individual flat owner’s electric motoring more convenient.
With the cut-off date for ICE vehicles only 15 years away, we’re about to witness what Podpoint founder and CEO Erik Fairbairn describes as “total automotive disruption”. The residential blocks sector needs to be ready to adapt – and fast. And the government must take on board the problems faced by leaseholders and renters who are facing barriers to rapid take-up of EVs. In the meantime, we would advise property managers to continue to talk to charge point providers and installers and to their freeholder clients to find solutions that work for their residents, rather than risk them being left behind as we move towards a clean, green transport revolution.