Govt proposes laws for EV charging, including requiring new buildings to install chargers

The rules will cover EV chargers plugged into the electricity grid, mobile chargers, and battery charge and swap stations. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - All new buildings with carparks will have to install electric vehicle (EV) charging points in at least 1 per cent of their total car and motorcycle parking lots in future, under proposed laws to regulate EV charging in Singapore.

In addition, the developments have to provide sufficient electrical load to support EV charging with 7.4 kilowatt chargers for 15 per cent of the total parking spaces.

Besides new buildings, the requirements would also cover developments that increase their gross floor area by 50 per cent or more, and those that increase their approved electrical load to 280 kilovolt-ampere (kVa) or more.

This proposal is in draft legislation to govern EV charging that the Ministry of Transport and Land Transport Authority (LTA) set out on Wednesday (June 15) for public consultation.

The proposed Electric Vehicle Charging Bill would vest LTA with powers to regulate EV chargers used in Singapore, impose a licensing regime on EV charging operators, and require EV chargers to be provided in buildings.

"We see a strong impetus to introduce legislation to regulate EV charging across the key stakeholders in the EV charging industry, while the industry and EV adoption in Singapore are still nascent," said the authorities.

To make it easier for EV charging to be installed in existing strata-titled developments like condominiums, the Government is also looking at amending laws to lower the threshold for such resolutions to be passed.

Under the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act, a proposal to install EV chargers currently requires support from up to 90 per cent of residents, depending on factors such as the proposed ownership of the chargers and length of lease.

The reduced threshold would apply to contracts that last for up to 10 years and to proposals that do not draw down on condo management funds, said LTA, noting that residents in some condos have not managed to pass resolutions to install EV charging points, even when a majority of residents support the move.

Also included in the proposed legislation are laws to appoint LTA as the EV charging regulator, to ensure charging services in Singapore meet safety standards. LTA will regulate the supply, advertisement, installation, registration, use and maintenance of EV chargers.

The rules will cover EV chargers that are plugged into the electricity grid, mobile chargers as well as battery charge and swap stations, which charge batteries belonging to an EV.

All EV chargers will need to be registered with LTA within a "reasonable time frame" after they have been installed, said LTA, without elaborating. Depending on the type of chargers, this may have to be done before they can be used.

Owners of existing EV chargers will be required to register them with LTA within 12 months.

LTA said registration will enable it to "properly assign accountability and liability" on EV charger owners, as well as give it a better overview of the overall EV charging infrastructure. This would allow it to identify areas with insufficient charging points, it added.

EV chargers will also have to be inspected periodically by an equipment specialist - every six months for public locations, with a yearly check by a licensed electrical worker. Locations with restricted access like landed homes have to be inspected by an equipment specialist every two years.

Meanwhile, charging of detachable EV batteries will not be allowed in homes due to safety risks like battery fires, said the LTA. Companies that wish to operate their own chargers for detachable batteries will be able to work with LTA to get their premises approved for charging.

In addition, the proposed laws would allow LTA to enter premises in "very serious cases of dangerous activities relating to chargers", such as the use of tampered or illegally modified chargers, those with severe manufacturing defects or those that are not installed properly.

LTA said it would issue a "safety directive" to an owner to promptly address the risk by uninstalling or rectifying the charger. But if this is not done, the authority would be able to enter the premises to do so.

All EV charging operators will be licensed as well under the proposed rules, and have to meet reliability and quality standards.

The authorities also plan to put in place safeguards against prolonged, large-scale disruption of charging services. In such an event, LTA will have the powers to take over the affected charging operator's assets and operations, or appoint another operator to step in.

EVOne Charging’s managing director, Mr Elson Toh, believes condo dwellers are keener than those in any other housing types to switch to EVs. 

His company has been receiving more requests for proposals by condominium residents in the past year, but they rarely get the needed votes at resident committee meetings. He sees the potential for EV adoption to really take off with the proposed change.

QuickCharge.sg has installed over 100 EV chargers in commercial sites and landed homes since the middle of last year. Its spokesman said the company welcomed the proposed requirement to register EV chargers as it will give consumers confidence that the chargers comply with safety standards.

The public consultation will last till July 14 this year.

Responses to the proposed legislation can be sent to EVConsultation@lta.gov.sg with the subject "Public Consultation for the Electric Vehicle Charging Bill".

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