Are new homes developers fully switched on to the idea of electric cars?
PUBLISHED: 13:06 05 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:16 05 October 2018
Tom Amis of Savills Norwich-based new homes team looks ahead to the age of the electric car and the possible impact on the building of new homes.
I have been thinking about buying an electric vehicle (EV) for some time now. It would be economical to run and I like the idea that I would be helping the environment and slowing down climate change.
Whilst EVs are still a minority on the road it seems that’s all about to change. According to the National Grid, the UK government’s aim for all new cars to run on non-fossil fuel by 2040 would result in 33 million EVs on UK roads as early as 2038. This aspiration is part of a wider plan to reduce air pollution, improve public health and recapture productivity loss, estimated at £2.7 billion every year.
The plan will have implications for the delivery of new residential and mixed-use developments in towns and cities across the UK, with up to 70 per cent of charging expected to be done at home. However, a key concern is the lack of grid infrastructure to provide electricity to our new EV vehicle fleet. In simple terms, converting all cars, bikes, vans, buses and lorries will roughly double electricity demand in the UK.
Some local housebuilders are already installing some simple charge points on sites while others are designing eco-friendly, car-free developments, particularly in locations with good public transport and cycle paths.
Recent EV trials show most people plug their cars in when they return home at the end of the day, typically between 4pm and 6pm when the grid is already under the most pressure. But modern ‘smart’ technology means EVs don’t need to be charged at periods of peak demand. By avoiding these periods, current grid infrastructure can be used to power houses and vehicles across the day, when power is cheap and renewable generation is high. This, in turn, will lessen the need for expensive grid upgrades and increase the rollout of charge points across a development site. Having the latest technology can help set developers apart from the competition and increase their USPs. In an ever-competitive housing market it is essential that new homes are as up to date as possible and meet the ever-growing demands and expectations of today’s buyers. As we move forward to the electric future it will be vital for government to work with planners as well as the energy and development sectors in order to improve essential infrastructure that will be workable for all.
You can contact Tom Amis at Savills on 01603 229229. Savills New Homes has sponsored this column.