All government-funded residential electric vehicle chargepoints in the UK must be ‘smart’ compliant from next July.

This means they must be able to be remotely accessed, and capable of receiving, interpreting and reacting to a signal.

The UK’s Department of Transport issued the 2019 smart deadline today alongside news that it would maintain grants to install chargepoints at home and in the workplace at the current level of up to £500.

The government believes smart charging can reduce high peaks of electricity demands, minimise the cost of EVs to the electricity system, and keep costs down for consumers by encouraging off-peak charging.

Roads Minister Jesse Norman said the government “wants the UK to be the best place in the world to build and own an electric vehicle” and added that the measures announced today “will give more people the opportunity to make the move to electric”.

Automotive Minister Richard Harrington added: “We are investing to ensure the UK is the leading destination for the innovation and manufacture of electric vehicle batteries and technologies to help all parts of the UK reap the economic benefits of these innovations.”

Today’s announcement was welcomed by David Smith, Chief Executive of the Energy Networks Association, which represents T&D network operators for gas and electricity in the UK and Ireland.

“Smart chargepoints are critical to managing the roll-out of electric vehicles,” he said. “Without them there could be a proliferation of non-smart chargepoints that take capacity from the electricity networks, with no opportunity to manage the associated load. That could lead to the need to build expensive new infrastructure that could otherwise be avoided by the work that electricity networks are doing to build a smarter, more flexible energy system.”

Daniel Brown, Policy Manager and EV charging lead at the Renewable Energy Association said smart charging “will be critical if we are to create a smarter, more flexible energy system, for accelerating EV uptake, and for opening up new business models and services that can benefit consumers”.

“If rolled out widely, smart charging can work hand-in-hand with greater renewable power deployment. The key now is to come up with a definition for ‘smart charging’, currently being discussed in the EV Energy Taskforce, which maximises competition and innovation.”

He added: “The home and workplace charging grants are critical pieces of policy support enabling this transition and we welcome the news that the home charging grant level will be maintained.”