The Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021

I’ve spent a busy few days covering the power cuts caused across the UK by Storm Arwen. Before she arrived on the scene I intended to go into more detail about Boris Johnson’s announcement last week about “New laws to supercharge the electric vehicle revolution”. Finally the time has come to look at some of those new laws in a bit more detail!

According to the preamble to “The Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021“, currently merely a “Draft Statutory Instrument”:

The Secretary of State, in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 15, 16, 17 and 18 of the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2018(1) (“the 2018 Act”), makes the following Regulations.

In accordance with section 18(4) of the 2018 Act, a draft of this instrument has been laid before Parliament and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

The Secretary of State has consulted such persons as the Secretary of State considered appropriate in accordance with section 18(3) of the 2018 Act before making these Regulations.

PART 1
Introduction

Citation, commencement and extent
1.—(1) These Regulations may be cited as the Electric Vehicles (Smart Charge Points) Regulations 2021 and come into force on 30th June 2022.
(2) These Regulations extend to England and Wales and Scotland.

To summarise, if duly enacted by Parliament the following interesting extracts from the bill will come into force on 30th June 2022. Which is approximately 7 months from now:

PART 2
Requirements in relation to charge points

Smart functionality

5.—(1) A relevant charge point must have smart functionality.

(2) A relevant charge point has smart functionality if—

(a) it is able to send and receive information via a communications network;

(b) it is able to respond to signals or other information received by it by—

(i) increasing or decreasing the rate of electricity flowing through the charge point;

(ii) changing the time at which electricity flows through the charge point;

(c) it is capable of using the functionality referred to in sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) to provide demand side response services, including response DSR services; and

(d) at least one user interface, which enables the charge point to be operated in accordance with these Regulations, is incorporated in the charge point or otherwise made available to the owner.

Electricity supplier interoperability

6.  A relevant charge point must not be configured so that it will cease to have smart functionality if the owner changes their electricity supplier.

So assuming the regulations are enacted unamended, after June 30th UK charging stations must be “smart” and “interoperable” by law, but that law makes no stipulation regarding how such future interoperability of the “information [sent] via a communications network” will be achieved.

Moving on there are clauses concerning a “measuring system”, “pre-set default charging hours which are outside of peak hours” and “operating, at each relevant time, with a random delay of up to 1800 seconds”.

Further on come the 11 clauses of Schedule 1 concerning “Security” including:

Secure communication

5. A relevant charge point must be configured so that communications sent from it are encrypted.

Once again the law makes no stipulation regarding how such “encrypted communications” should be achieved.

All of which strikes me as being extremely unsatisfactory! From my perspective mandatory international, or at the very least British, standards for encryption and smart functionality need to be specified or the mandated “interoperability” will be impossible to achieve. The “Government Response to the 2019 Consultation on Electric Vehicle Smart Charging” published in July 2021 states that:

The legislation will introduce requirements based on ETSI EN 303 645, a European cyber security standard, with which compliance was required in PAS 1878. EN 303 645 will not be mandated in full, but all key cyber and data requirements from the standard will be mandated where implementable within the limits of this legislation.

However I can find no reference to any of that in the recently published draft regulations. The electric vehicle smart charging consultation response also states that:

Government is still exploring the options for achieving smart charging interoperability, including GB smart metering, BSI PASs 1878 and 1879, international standards and market-led approaches amongst others. The type of interoperability proposed in our consultation is just one way of delivering interoperable outcomes for consumers, and Government intends to gather further evidence on the most effective and proportionate approach to doing so as part of Phase Two…

Government suggested that a Phase Two solution needed to be in place by 2025, and that a decision on a solution was therefore required between 2020 and 2022. Several factors were proposed to help determine an appropriate decision point. Most respondents agreed that Government should make a decision on Phase Two regulation between 2020 and 2022, with 2020 being the most popular response.

It seems as if Phase Two is running somewhat behind schedule, but I for one cannot wait to discover what it includes.

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