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EV Smart Charging Regulations Protect the Grid and Optimize the Charging Experience

Posted By Driivz Team
20 December, 2022

EV smart charging regulations in the EU, the UK, and the US play a number of roles in the electrification of transportation; from investing in the expansion of EV smart charging infrastructure and battery cell production to funding buyer incentives to help increase the number of electric vehicles (EVs) on the road.  

While these regulations share the ultimate goal of eliminating transport-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, their approaches to regulating EV smart charging infrastructure differ. In this blog we will look at what those regulations are and their implications on building and operating an EV charging business. 

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EV Smart Charging Regulations in The European Union

A number of initiatives in the EU address electric mobility, starting with the European Green Deal, which established emissions goals for 2050, and the Fit for 55 package which provides policies for achieving a 55% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. Fit for 55 includes the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR) proposal that specifically addresses public EV charging in the EU, establishing required targets for infrastructure in each member country. Final terms remain to be negotiated by the EU’s legislative bodies and will have far-reaching implications for public EV charging over the next decade.  

The overall goal of AFIR is to achieve an adequate, fully interoperable public infrastructure for alternative fuel vehicles to enable free travel across the EU while ensuring fair, transparent pricing and payment options. Details about payment means, including adoption of roaming and use of credit cards or a charge point provider’s loyalty card, are still under discussion. Once finalized, the regulations will be implemented by EU member states. 

The proposal also calls for all new public EV charging stations in Europe to be digitally connected and capable of smart charging. The specific smart charging capabilities called for include: 

EV Smart Charging Regulations in The United Kingdom 

UK regulations on EV smart charge points, put into effect in 2022, specify smart charging requirements for home and workplace EV charging, with a focus on ensuring grid stability and security. The government also offers subsidies for both home and workplace charger installations. National legislation also requires all new-build homes to have EV chargers installed, as well as new-build workplaces, supermarkets, and any buildings with associated parking to have EV charge points. 

Home and work charging regulations expand on the EV smart charging requirements for public charge point operators specified by the Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund, which invested 200 million pounds (to be matched by private investors) in developing public rapid charging infrastructure in the UK. 

Recognizing that 85% or more of EV charging takes place at home or work, the UK’s regulations are the first put forth by a G7 country to specify smart charging capabilities for private charge points. Chargers must have a user interface and be able to: 

  • Send and receive information via a communications network 
  • Respond by increasing or decreasing the rate or time of electricity flow, including providing demand response services 
  • Retain smart functionality even if the owner switches electricity suppliers 
  • Charge a vehicle even if the communications network connection goes down 

Additional specifications require chargers to be pre-set to default charging hours to prevent charging during peak electricity demand periods (between 8am and 11am, and 4pm to 10pm weekdays), although the owner can override this setting or any built-in demand side response service if the override can be done safely. Chargers must also include a randomized delay function that prevents all home chargers from turning on at the exact same time once a peak charge period ends.  

Extensive cybersecurity requirements for smart charge points are designed to protect the grid and the communications network. Additionally, data sent or received by the charge point needs to be encrypted to protect owner privacy. 

EV Smart Charging Regulations in The United States 

In the US, national regulation of EV charging applies only to infrastructure built under National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program, a five-year, $5 billion program to help states build an interconnected network of fast EV charging stations along a designated Alternative Fuels Corridor. The goal is to enable citizens to travel coast-to-coast in an EV. A separate fund addresses building EV charging stations in underserved communities and rural areas. 

Proposed rules for the NEVI program aim to ensure efficient, consistent, user-friendly, reliable and accessible EV charging infrastructure that is interoperable across different charge point operating companies, with similar payment systems, pricing information and transparency, and charging speeds. Specifically, the proposal envisions a network of EV charging infrastructure that can communicate and operate on the same software platforms from one state to another.  

NEVI-funded charging stations would be required to have a minimum of four charging points capable of charging four EVs simultaneously. Each charge port must be at 150 kW minimum and use industry standard Combined Charging System (CCS) connections. Payment methods must adhere to industry standards, include contactless payment accepted from all major debit and credit cards, and cannot require membership for use. Other rules address signage, data, reliability (97% uptime), accessibility, and use of certified technicians for installation and maintenance. 

Network connectivity requirements address charger-to-charger, charging network-to-charging network and charging network-to-grid communications, addressing cybersecurity concerns and calling for: 

Implications for EV charging providers 

Although regulatory approaches and implementations differ across the EU, UK, and US, requirements that stand out include: 

  • Smart EV charging capabilities, including Demand Response  
  • Robust charging network connectivity, enabled by support for communications standards 
  • Network-to-grid communications (including bi-directional charging for V2G capabilities) 
  • A consistent, transparent, and easy-to-use experience for EV drivers 

A safe assumption is that rules that apply in one area or jurisdiction are likely to apply more broadly in the future, so meeting these and other requirements for all new-build EV charging infrastructure is a good business practice. That means implementing smart chargers in your network. It also means choosing an EV charging management platform that: 

  • Complies with EV charging network connectivity and Plug and Charge protocols and standards, including OCPP, OCPI, and ISO 15118 
  • Offers robust smart EV charging capabilities, including advanced algorithms for smart energy management and support for Demand Response, and is V2G ready 
  • Supports roaming, with established roaming network relationships, and supports charging network-to-charging network communications  
  • Manages the complexity of billing and payments in a way that is transparent to drivers 
  • Makes it easy for drivers inside and outside of your network to find your charging stations

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