Fears that almost a fifth of household EV chargepoints could be dangerous

A recently leaked audit report commissioned by the Department for Transport (DfT) found that almost a fifth of household electric vehicle (EV) chargepoints inspected across the UK could be dangerous for users.

The report was compiled in 2021 by the Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell Technologies (Cenex) for the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) and shows that of the 371 audits carried out on electric vehicle chargepoints (EVCP) installed as part of the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS), 66 were found to have dangerous or potentially dangerous issues in one or more categories.

This represents 17.8 per cent of the installations audited.

Of all the new chargepoint installations carried out, only 32 per cent were recorded as being satisfactory.

The findings prompted transport minister Rachel Maclean to write to all installers registered on the scheme to warn them that if necessary “we will remove companies and individuals found to be performing unsafe installations from our schemes and inform their electrical trade associations of our decision”.

Maclean also said there had been examples of poor wiring during installation or deficiencies in the provision of Residual Current Device protection (RCDs).

The DfT has said that homeowners and workplaces were immediately informed during the audit about any safety issues and instructed not to use their chargepoints. They also stated that they were further instructed to contact the relevant installer to fix the safety issues identified.

So far, a total of 236,697 domestic charging devices have been installed under the EVHS, which provides EV owners with grants of up to £350 on EVCP installations. This suggests that there could be tens of thousands of dangerous installations that have not yet been identified.

A DfT spokesperson said the department was keeping electric vehicle and charger safety standards “under constant review”.

“Strict regulations are already in place and vehicles have built-in safety systems to protect road users and passengers. Following the 2020/21 audits, we instructed installers to rectify faults, worked with industry to drive up standards and are continuing checks to assess performance,” the spokesperson said.

They added that the government was also “raising the bar” to require EVCP installers to follow the latest British Standards and the IET’s latest code of practice for Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment Installations.