The Alternative fuels Infrastructure regulations 2017:
What does it mean for the EV Industry?
As chargepoint locations and network companies grow in the UK, without governance, so too could the issues we currently face with chargepoint locations, reliability and value for money.
Although the chargepoint network and installation companies should be aware of The Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulations 2017; knowledge of these regulations should be made available to drivers.
In November 2017 the UK Government confirmed a £550 million program for investment in the chargepoint infrastructure, R&D, grants for vehicles and points and educating drivers. With all this funding and a significant growth in the ULEV industry in the last few years, governance and regulation needed to be implemented.
The regulation documentation itself is available on the government website on the following link:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/regulations-alternative-fuels-infrastructure – Enforcement page for regulation.
The Regulation came into force on the 9th October 2017 and is enforced by the Office for Product Safety and Standards Office. Regulation is coordinated by the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) which is a cross government team created by the Department of Business, Energy and Industry Strategy and the Department of Transport. .
Alternative fuels (electric and hydrogen) are now regulated to ensure that the provision to vehicles and seagoing vessels is consistent across Europe. The document includes protocols in relation to recharging and refueling points, data accessibility, enforcement of the regulations and civil penalties.
Effective 17th November 2017, any infrastructure that is deployed or renewed by an operator must ensure that it complies with the regulations technical specifications. This includes intelligent metering systems, data to be made available to the public on geographic locations of points, Ad hoc access and minimal technical standards for electrical charging and hydrogen refueling outlets are also included.
Civil penalties may be served when obligations are breached. These penalties have a maximum penalty range from £300.00 to £4,000 depending on the power level of the chargepoint with a maximum £10,000 penalty for refueling points for hydrogen.
After reading through the Regulation document, I realised there were several areas that were not covered. For instance, there is no reference for the provision of a mandatory 24/7 service for chargepoint maintenance from operators. From a driver’s perspective, it is essential that the chargepoints at their destination have the ability to charge their vehicle irrespective of the day of the week and time. I’m aware of many drivers within the UK EV Community that have been caught out at Motorway Services.
The main concern for this Regulation is that it’s only applicable to public charging points which means that work place and domestic chargepoints are still not covered. I have colleagues within the chargepoint industry as well as fellow drivers who feel that the equivalent of a OFGEN should be set up for drivers to be able to make their concerns heard. Currently we have the ability to make complaints in relation to water, telecommunications, energy and vehicle fuels.
Some would argue that the provision of a chargepoint is the same as a fuel pump and therefore the regulations associated to fuel pumps should also apply to chargepoints as from the driver’s perspective, electric is just an alternative fuel.
A regular concern that I hear is the quality of the parts in chargepoints and whether the health and safety regulations are being met by imported products. Perhaps we should still consider that the ULEV industry is an emerging market with technology that is evolving month by month not decade by decade. Therefore, imported products may not be compatible for the UK or made to British standards. We must also remind ourselves that the growth of the EV and Hydrogen Industry is now Global and not specific to Europe and the US. China and India are making great progress in the production of points and new vehicles.
With reviews of the Regulation to be carried out by the Secretary of State for the Department of Transport every 5 years, some of us may question whether the review period is too long considering the speed at which the technology for both points and vehicles improves.
I will be interested to see if The Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulations are referred to in the next reading of the Automotive and Electric Vehicle Bill. The bill is currently considered at report stage and the third reading is on Monday 29th January. Information on the Automotive and Electric Vehicle Bill can be found through the link below: