Could new regulations hold back EV charging development?

While regulators and the charging industry are hashing out the details of new regulations, some are concerned that well-intentioned policies could have negative effects.

The availability of EV charging infrastructure is increasing every day, and action by federal, state and local governments has been a major driver of this growth. However, like anything in life, government regulation has good and bad aspects. We’ve all seen the competing political memes that try to reduce complex issues to a simple choice between “regulations good” and “regulations bad.” However, in the real world, what matters is the distinction between well-designed regulation, which has clear objectives and incorporates input from stakeholders, and well-meaning but counter-productive regulation.

At the moment, many in the charging industry are concerned about three separate sets of pending regulations. At the federal level, the EPA is proposing to establish an ENERGY STAR specification for DC fast chargers. (Level 1 and Level 2 AC charging stations are already eligible for the ENERGY STAR label, as we discussed in our January/February 2018 issue.) Meanwhile, California regulators are considering a proposal to establish a standard for the accuracy of metering on DC fast chargers, and a separate one to require credit card readers on all public charging stations.

Charged discussed the issues with representatives from companies in the charging industry and other experts who are closely following the regulatory process. The overarching theme is that EV charging tech and business models are still evolving quickly, and there is growing concern that the wrong regulation could block the road to the best products.

In all three cases, network operators, EVSE manufacturers and other industry participants have expressed their concerns to the regulatory bodies involved, asking them to limit the scope of the proposed regulations and to allow more time for compliance, in order to avoid hindering the ongoing development of the charging market.

In general, the charging industry has found that regulators are quite open to comments and suggestions – in past cases, they have modified regulations to incorporate suggestions from the industry. However, these issues are still open and how they will shake out is still in question.

Part 1: Credit card reader requirements

Part 2: DC metering requirements

Part 3: ENERGY STAR specifications for DC fast charging


This article appeared in Charged Issue 42 – March/April 2019 – Subscribe now.

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