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Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme: cyber and 'smart' standards added

Electric vehicle charge points that lack "appropriate security measures" to fend off cyber attacks will not, from later this year, be eligible for UK government funding that supports the installation of the charge points in homes.23 Jan 2019

The minimum technical specifications for the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) have been updated by the government to mandate new requirements on cybersecurity and 'smart' technology. The new specifications will affect applications for EVHS grants submitted after 1 July.

The cybersecurity specification states that the charge point "must have appropriate security measures to ensure that its functions are resilient to cyber attack" and "ensure that any communications are exchanged in a secure manner with an appropriate level of encryption to prevent interception by an unauthorised third party".

According to the new 'smart' standards, the charge points "must be able to receive and process information provided" as well as "to react to information received, by adjusting the rate of charging or discharging", and further "monitor and record energy consumption, and be able to transmit this".

The UK government set up the EVHS to support the take-up of electric vehicles. The EVHS provides grant funding of up to 75% towards the cost of installing electric vehicle charge points in UK homes. A similar Workplace Charging Scheme provides grants to businesses that install electric vehicle charging points.

The government said: "Manufacturers who wish to apply for authorisation for charge points under this scheme must ensure units comply with the technical specifications contained in this guidance."

Lauren Jones, who is a specialist in smart energy contracts at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said the additional technical requirements for EVHS eligibility "encourage the development of an infrastructure which facilitates vehicle-to-grid solutions". 

Jones said: "The new standards not only require that the EV charge point collects certain consumption data, but they also require the charge point to communicate that data to a central system via a standard protocol – the Open Charge Point Protocol. Where an EV charge point meets the 'smart' standards, this will enable the electric vehicle owner to benefit from charging their vehicle at the times at which electricity is cheapest and from selling energy back to the grid when it is at high demand."

"This technology also assists network operators, which can use electric vehicles as temporary storage ‘batteries’ where there are spikes in electricity production. Consumer confidence and trust is central to the successful adoption of EV technology and incorporating cybersecurity requirements into the technical standards, in addition to the tangible benefits of an improved standard of communication, is likely to encourage uptake of the EVHS," she said.