Emerging electric vehicle charging risks for the real estate sector

The electric vehicle (EV) market is evolving at a rapid pace, as is the continuous drive for companies to improve their carbon footprint through Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives. This is leading large numbers of landlords and their tenants to move away from fossil fuel-powered vehicles and to replace them with EVs. This change is placing pressure on landlords to improve the electrical infrastructure of their property assets, with an ever-increasing demand from tenants, prospective tenants, and customers, for electric charging points to be installed as the availability of affordable EVs expands. Indeed, we are seeing increasing competition over property assets as landlords seek to keep up with the demand to attract and retain tenants.

With this increasing demand, insurers now face the challenge of evaluating the risks associated with charging points. Over the past 12 months, an influx of inquiries from landlords has reached the market, with questions about what guidance to follow and how to navigate this emerging risk landscape.

Potential Risks of EV Charging Points

Any property alteration brings changes in the risk profile, and it is these, that have only arisen in the last five to ten years, that insurers are focussing on. As increased levels of electricity are drawn from circuits and with landlords, tenants and tenant customers actively charging EVs, elevated risks may begin to form through:

  • Mismanagement and a lack of risk assessments

  • Incorrect installation

  • Lack of spacing between charging points and surrounding buildings

  • Vehicular impact and the need to better protect charging points

  • Misuse for the purpose of design

  • Maintenance and servicing

With the above in mind, risks such as fire, electrical fire, vehicular impact and even explosion cannot be ruled out as key concerns to insurers underwriting such risks.

Electric Vehicle Charging Point Risk Management Guidance

Below are some useful risk management guidance points to assist landlords in reducing the risks associated with charging points:

Installation, Servicing & Maintenance

  • All chargers and associated equipment should be installed, used, and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Servicing and maintenance should be conducted by a competent engineer.

  • A circuit intended to supply an EV must be ‘fit for purpose’ and suitable for the load. It should be dedicated to the use of the chargers and not be part of a ring main or be used for other purposes.

  • A Residual-Current Device (RCD) should be used as additional protection for socket outlets exceeding 20A (but not exceeding 32A) which are intended for use with chargers.

  • All wiring and equipment must be suitable for its location and able to operate satisfactorily without deterioration throughout its working life. Charging points must, therefore, be protected from the environment during installation and use.

  • Appropriate devices should be in place to ensure the safe shutdown of the equipment in the event of failure of the mains electrical supply.

  • Provision must be made for isolating each live conductor linked to the charging equipment manually, for use both in an emergency and for maintenance purposes. Cables from both the mains supply and the vehicle battery should be able to be isolated.

Risk Assessments & Inspections

  • Risk assessments should be completed prior to any installation work, and in consideration of:

- The Dangerous Substances and Explosives Regulations 2002 (DSEAR), if deemed relevant;

- Ignition sources and ventilation.

  • The charging area should form part of a self-inspection regime conducted by the landlord and/or the appointed managing agent.

Spacing, Impact Protection and Use

  • Chargers should be located away from any other hazards and clear of all combustibles.

  • Where charging points are installed, they should be protected against damage by vehicles. The posts should therefore be installed on a raised island or be protected by bollards or metal barriers.

  • An adequate area should be available around the posts to allow vehicle movement.

  • Charging bays should be signed and marked prominently on the ground to allow vehicles to park close to the charging point and prevent the stretching of charging cables.

  • No attempt should be made to use the charging point other than for charging batteries designed for use with the provision.

Fire Detection

  • Charging areas should, at a minimum, be fitted with monitored, maintained and serviced Automatic Fire Detection (AFD) equipment.

For any concerns or queries on how to successfully navigate these emerging risks, please reach out to your normal Lockton contact, or email Locktongreac@lockton.com (opens a new window) should you wish to speak to a member of the Lockton team.

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