The Automated and Electric Vehicles Act has passed through Parliament giving the Government new powers to ensure the installation of electric vehicle charging points and bringing automated vehicle insurance in line with longstanding motor insurance practice.

The act helps ensure motorway services are upgraded with electric vehicle charging points and allows mayors to request installations at large fuel retailers in their areas.

The new law aims to improve consumer confidence in charging their vehicles by:

making sure that public chargepoints are compatible with all vehicles
standardising how they are paid for
setting standards for reliability

It also ensures that motorists in autonomous vehicles are covered by insurance both when they are driving, and when they legitimately hand control to the vehicle.

A spokesperson for the Association of British Insurers said: ‘If we get this technology right it can lead to significantly safer roads, and insurers want to be playing their part in that development.

‘Automated vehicles are not a common sight yet but as the technology develops, the insurance industry will be looking at developing innovative products around this that are fit for the new world we are about to enter.’

Jesse Norman, roads minister, said: ‘The increasing automation of our cars is transforming the way we drive, and the government is steadily updating our laws in order to prepare for the future. This act will ensure that the UK’s infrastructure and insurance system is ready for the biggest transport revolution in a century.’

The news comes as energy regulator Ofgem has set out proposals for a more ‘flexible’ system of charging electric to keep costs down and help with energy supply.

According to Ofgem analysis, if owners use ‘flexible’ charging – where they only top up outside peak demand times on the grid – at least 60% more EVs could be charged up compared with ‘inflexible’ charging where electric vehicles are only charged at peak times.

‘Flexible charging does this by allowing electric vehicles to be charged when energy prices are cheapest, for example when wind and solar power is generating lots of electricity or when there is less demand across the system. Flexible charging also helps to keep energy costs down for all consumers as technology allows stored electricity from electric vehicle batteries to be sent back onto the grid when it is needed.,’ the regulator said.

Ofgem is consulting on the plans and intends to work with the industry to overhaul energy system rules and put the reforms in place between 2022 and 2023.

The UK will also be hosting the world’s first Zero Emission Vehicle summit later this year in Birmingham, promoting the UK as a world leader for investment in and uptake of zero emission vehicles.