The rising demand for Electric Vehicles ("EVs") presents challenges for infrastructure, which must transform to support the increasing prevalence of EVs on UK roads. Property owners should consider the opportunities available to capitalise on the extensive network of charging points that will be required to support the UK’s EV transition.
The momentum for this can be seen in both government and industry: news of a deal between Uber and Nissan for a discounted supply for 2,000 new Nissan Leaf vehicles for drivers is just one recent example.
The Committee on Climate Change ("CCC") anticipates that there will be demand for 27,000 EV charging points by 2030 (up from around 2,700 in 2016). Property owners seeking to address this demand will need to consider the practical and legal implications of the installation, operation and maintenance of charging equipment on their land:
Spaces such as car parks, offices and retail spaces will be key targets for the installation of public charging points. The nature of the space will help to determine the type of infrastructure required - factors will include the size of the land, hours of use and access, location and proximity to infrastructure able to supply the right quantity of electricity. The CCC estimates that 85% of charging points will need to have fast or rapid charging capability in order to meet demand. While office parking facilities might be appropriate for equipment which would adequately power a vehicle in a day, retail parks and service stations would for instance require a higher uptake of rapid chargers in order to service users efficiently.
Landowners and operators will need to give thought to whether a lease or a licence would be most appropriate in the circumstances and how this would work in practice. Bespoke agreements will be required to reflect the practicalities of the legal relationship in relation to responsibility for obligations such as maintenance, repair and reinstatement; and if a lease of the land is involved, whether it should benefit from security of tenure.
Considering the prospect of further deals between EV manufacturers and commercial users and the UK government’s pledge to end the sale of all new conventionally powered vehicles by 2040, property owners would be wise to consider the infrastructure requirements now to maximise the potential opportunities available to them and the attractiveness of their properties to occupiers and employees.
The UK’s infrastructure for charging vehicles needs to start moving now to match the growth in vehicle sales. 2040 is not very far away and the gradual build-up of electric vehicle prevalence will occur sooner than we imagine