Plugging real estate into a fuel-free future

10 September, 2019

With the uptake in electric vehicles (EV) continuing to gather speed and estimates suggesting there could be up to 36 million EVs on the road by 20401, steps need to be taken now to ensure that property assets are fit for the future.

The government has announced that the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars will end by 2040 and Highways England have committed to ensuring there is a charging point every 20 miles along the strategic road network by 2020.

Rethinking the fuel stop

Figures suggest that the UK needs an additional 25,000 charging points by 2030 to match EV demand2.  However, with EV owners living in the estimated 43% of households that do not have access to off-street parking, it is landowners, retailers, employers and house builders that need to consider how to incorporate this infrastructure into their new and existing developments, whilst considering how to differentiate themselves and maintain competitive advantage.

A host of retailers including supermarkets, pubs and shopping centres are pursuing ways of making the best use of the EV driver’s dwell time whilst they hang-out to charge their battery.  Perhaps this is an opportunity to rethink the fuel stop?  Internet access, physical activity areas for kids or maybe a drive-in where families could get something to eat in-car whilst charging might all serve to draw in consumers.

Legal considerations

Electric mobility has arrived and it’s here to stay.  Here are a few legal points to consider:

  1. Getting connected  – is consent from the operator required?
  2. Infrastructure Regulations3 – any new charging points must comply with these regulations which, for example, require that all public charge points provide a “pay as you go” option.
  3. Charging consumers  – if users are to be charged, any payment scheme needs to comply with consumer laws and an electricity supply licence may be required4.
  4. Health & safety risks – the risks of installing and using the charge points must be effectively managed.
  5. Property rights – are any easements or wayleaves required?
  6. Planning permission – likely to be required, unless the proposed charging point benefits from permitted development rights.
  7. Equipment ownership – where someone other than the site-owner owns and operates the infrastructure, this is likely to necessitate a lease.
  8. Tenant installing EVCPs – if a tenant wants to install an EVCP, this may have an impact on rent and reviews in the future, the repairing and insuring responsibilities and reinstatement – what will happen at the end of the lease term?

Conclusion

Over the next ten years, we expect to see more change in the transport sector than we have done in the previous century.  Now is the time to consider how such ambitious charging plans can be powered and how investment in property assets can be future proofed.

For the full article, which was written with Claire Durkin, click here.

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1. National Grid, Future Energy Scenarios (July 2018)

2. Committee on Climate Change Report 17 January 2018

3. Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulations 20172. Committee on Climate Change Report 17 January 2018

4. Electricity Act 1989