EV Charging standards and regulations

The rise of electric vehicles in commercial and private markets has put the world on track for a future of sustainable, electrified transport.  

Advances in battery technology, falling prices of EVs, and more charging infrastructure has helped overcome some early challenges. But the transition to green transport also comes with lots of new and developing regulations covering when and how to charge.

This article summarises the basics of these standards and regulations, and why they are essential to ensure the increased use of EVs in the UK and EU is safe and swift.

Developing EV charging and safety standards

Creating global standards and certifications for EV components, infrastructure and charging is crucial to ensure safety, interoperability and reduce costs. From battery safety and reliability standards, to electrical hazards, there are various areas of EV components and charging that need to be standardized.

The good news is, EVs are subject to robust safety tests and requirements. There are already a number of international standards in place to address safety and security issues. For example, the ISO 6469 outlines the safety requirements that make EVs roadworthy Internationally. Aside from this, there are other specific standards including:

•       ISO/IEC27000

•       IEC60364-7-722

•       SAEJ1766

•       ISO 17409

•       IEC61140

•       IEC62040

•       IEC60529

These codes cover information security, low-voltage electrical installations for EVs, protection of passengers during crashes, conductive connections, protection against electric shock, and enclosure protection.

An important area of regulation is standardization of EV charging connectors. This is essential for global compatibility. Today, several regions and manufacturers support different types of plugs from Combined Charging Systems (CCS) in North America and Europe to GB/T in China and CHArge de MOve (CHAdeMO) in Japan.

Increased standardization across regions will create a common and universal EV charging system, enabling better integration as EVs become the dominant mode of transport.

These global standards can accelerate the adoption of EV technology, and there is a growing understanding across different regions of the importance of harmonizing EV standards worldwide.

Different methods for EV charging

The regulatory codes outlined above set out the minimum standards and requirements for EV charging. EV-curious drivers or fleet operators may have seen reference to AC and DC charging - but what’s the difference?

DC charging is the most effective way to recharge an EV battery, and the technology has made significant developments in recent years. The latest DC fast chargers deliver extremely fast recharges -charging up to 80% of the total battery capacity in under an hour.

AC chargers use power from the mains electricity. They are most commonly used for passenger and light commercial EVs. They are affordable and compact, but they are also slower, taking hours to fully recharge an EV battery compared to DC chargers which deliver power directly to the battery.  

This makes DC charging the best solution for e-fleet operators, giving them the fastest charging turnaround and most operational capacity.

Within DC charging there are different ways to charge such as conductive or wireless charging. Conductive charging physically connects the vehicle and the charging station with a plug and wire which delivers high power transfer efficiency. Wireless charging uses magnetic fields to transfer power without physical connector.

An increasingly hyped option is bi-directional charging, which allows the transfer of energy from both from the grid to the vehicle and back from the vehicle to the grid. This flow of energy is - by definition - bi-directional. This pioneering technology is being used to create a smart grid which can turn EVs in to additional energy storage capacity that delivers power on-demand to the grid and also offload surplus renewable energy from the grid to charge EVs.

Smart charging regulations in the UK and EU

In the UK, where over 750,000EVs were registered last year, the Smart ChargePoints Regulations have been implemented. It requires all EV chargers sold for home or business use to support a minimum level of smart functionality. This includes features like off-peak charging, connectivity, phased charging times, privacy, and security.

Smart chargers in the UK must have an in built data connection that measures and communicates electricity usage for the duration of the charging. This is because connectivity allows for better monitoring of the charging process and automatically adjusts charging based on electricity demand.

All new chargers in the UK by default avoid charging during peak hours to manage electricity demand and maintain grid security. Chargers must also delay charging by up to 30 minutes to spread increased demand and prevent overloading the grid.

In the EU, the Fit for 55 package aims to reduce emissions through increased EV adoption. Under the package, the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR) has been introduced, which requires all new public charging stations in Europe to be digitally connected and capable of smart charging. AFIR also emphasizes the need for an accessible and open charging network for the general public. It states that across the EU there must be a sufficient number of publicly available chargers especially around transport hubs, where no one is given preferential treatment and there are no public access restrictions.

New and evolving EV standards

These are basic standards and regulations in place currently. Though the rapid adoption of EVs and development of new technology means new codes could be put in place as the journey to green transport accelerates.

Find out more about the how the transition to an electric transport is shaping up for commercial and residential customers around the world on our blog.

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