All government-funded home charging points for electric vehicles will have to use so-called ‘smart’ technology from July 2019, the government has said.

Since 2014, the government has offered grants to consumers who wish to install domestic charging points at their home. To date, more than 60,000 people have taken them up on the offer.

Renault Zoe electric car plugged in and charging

However, the new policy will see more technologically advanced charging points installed from next summer.

In essence, the new chargers will be remotely accessible, with the ability to receive, interpret and react to a signal, as well as changing their charging behaviour to suit the demands on the grid.

BMW i3 electric car at charging station

As a result, the government says the new chargers will minimise the impact of electric cars on the existing energy infrastructure while also keeping costs down by encouraging off-peak charging.

At the same time, the government has also announced that it will continue to offer grants of up to £500 to those who install charging points at their home or office.

Man charging electric car at home

Roads minister Jesse Norman said the scheme would help the UK become a leader in the uptake of electric vehicles.

“The government wants the UK to be the best place in the world to build and own an electric vehicle, and through leadership and innovation it is paving the way to a zero-emission future,” he said. “We have already supported the installation of over 100,000 home charge points. Now the measures announced today will give more people the opportunity to make the move to electric.”

2018 Nissan Leaf driven

Automotive minister Richard Harrington echoed Norman’s sentiments, saying the changes to the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme would encourage more drivers to move from internal combustion engines to vehicles powered by electric motors.

“Today’s measures will make it easier for consumers to move towards electric vehicles, helping us power towards a cleaner, greener future,” he said. “Through our modern industrial strategy and automotive sector deal, 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.”

Electric or hybrid car charging on street

It’s a change that the government is keen to push through, after pledging to ban sales of conventional petrol- and diesel-engined cars in 2040. It also hopes that almost all cars will be capable of zero-emission driving by the year 2050.

However, some have said that the ban cannot come soon enough, and several groups have lobbied for the 2040 date to be brought forward. In October, a group of MPs called for the ban to be moved to 2032 in a bid to improve air quality.