A new definition of electric vehicle has been proposed, and the UK’s government is considering the changes to a proposed law that sets out the legal requirements for electric cars.
The Motor Vehicle (Electric Vehicle) (Electronic Vehicle) and Energy Efficiency (Efficiency) Regulations 2016 will come into force from February 2019, but they could change before then, with new legislation set to come into effect in 2020.
The proposed changes have prompted a number of concerns, with many fearing that they will pave the way for the introduction of new vehicle types such as electric vehicles.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is also looking at the changes, and has released an open letter on the subject.
It says that the definition of an electric vehicle “should include vehicles capable of being used solely by the operator for purposes other than those specified in the Motor Vehicle and Energy Saving (MEPS) Regulations 2000”.
However, it warns that the change “does not cover all types of vehicles”, with the proposed change applying only to “those that meet the motor vehicle and energy saving requirements”.
This could mean that vehicles like the BMW i3, Tesla Model S, or Nissan Leaf could become electric vehicles, but it also means that it is “not clear that it will be possible to have a range of more than 100km”.
It also points out that while the proposed changes are aimed at making sure that electric vehicles are not “competing with motor vehicles for limited space”, the “potential for a ‘race to the bottom’ between electric vehicle types and other vehicles may result”.
“There is currently no regulatory framework to define ‘electric vehicle’, so it is unclear what regulation the government would adopt,” DECC said in a statement.
It adds that “regulatory uncertainty is likely to persist”.
This means that while it is not clear what regulations the UK will adopt, the potential for a “race to a bottom” between electric car types and others may result, with “significant implications for both consumers and manufacturers of vehicles.”
“The UK needs to set clear rules and set clear objectives for the deployment of electric vehicles,” DECS wrote in the letter.
In addition to the definition changes, DECC has also put forward proposals for the creation of new regulatory frameworks.
“We propose to develop a new framework for electric vehicles that includes a minimum requirement that vehicles must meet the Motor Vehicles and Energy Savings (MEps) Regulations 2020 and 2020-2021 and other relevant regulatory frameworks,” DECCs spokesperson Anna O’Connor said.
“This framework will provide certainty to both manufacturers and consumers by ensuring that electric vehicle manufacturers can continue to meet these requirements.”
What does the Motor-Vehicle and Energy-Savings (MEPs) Regulations say about electric vehicles?
The Motor-vehicle and the Energy-saving (MEpS) Regulations 2010 states that: “the motor vehicle must meet a range, but the maximum permissible number of miles driven must be not less than the total number of kilometres travelled in the preceding year.
The MEps Regulations 2016, which is due to come in force on 1 February 2020, sets out a minimum range requirement that must be met before a vehicle can be declared to be an electric car.
The maximum permitted range is 60 kilometres.
The vehicle must be powered on electric power with an internal combustion engine.
This guidance will be a critical part of any proposed change to the MEps regulation.” “
The MEps regulations 2016 also set out requirements for the electric vehicle, including the minimum required range, and vehicle types that must meet them.
This guidance will be a critical part of any proposed change to the MEps regulation.”
What will the new law mean for existing electric vehicles such as the Tesla Model X?
Currently, electric vehicles can only be sold in certain parts of the UK, with the rest of the country’s vehicles restricted to certain designated areas.
The UK is the only country in the EU that does not have a “zero emission” target, meaning that it aims to reduce its emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2025.
This means electric vehicles cannot be sold outside designated areas such as on highways.
However, there are plans to change this.
According to the National Grid, the UK is expected to have more than 500,000 electric vehicles on the roads by 2021.
“While there are some areas of the United Kingdom where Tesla is allowed to sell its vehicles, the bulk of the vehicles sold in the UK are not electric,” a spokesperson for the National Gas Authority told the Telegraph.
“Electric vehicles are still banned in certain areas of central London, although they are permitted to be sold by other manufacturers outside London.”
What happens to electric cars in other parts of Europe?
The National Grid does not provide a breakdown of the numbers of electric cars on the road, but estimates that in the next 10 years, there will be between 50,000 and 100,000