A question I and many other people in the industry are being asked more and more frequently is whether to install electric vehicle (EV) charging points. But I am not qualified to answer whether EV charging is a financially viable option to install on petrol forecourts, and from what I hear there are a multitude of factors to be considered. However, through my position within the Petrol Retailers Association and roles on the Petroleum Enforcement Liaison Group (PELG) and the Energy Institute, Service Station Panel, I have found myself to be well informed on whether EV charging can be installed compliantly and safely alongside the storage and dispensing of traditional hydrocarbon vehicle fuels.

Detailed guidance is to be found in three places: the first, known as the Blue Book, in brief, advises that all elements of EV charging should be outside of the hazard zones on a petrol forecourt, including the underground supply cable. That when a separate power supply (from that of the forecourt), is being used, the earthing arrangements of both electrical installations must be interconnected. Also, that the forecourt emergency switching should deactivate the EV charging.

The second source of guidance is the latest version of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), Code of Practice for EV Charging Equipment. This covers how EV charging is to be installed in compliance with the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. This guidance is currently under review to include ultra-fast charging which exceeds 150kW and normally requires the installation of a sub-station.

The third piece of guidance, PETEL 20, has been issued by PELG.

The PRA’s advice is to ensure that you, your suppliers and contractors are all complying with current guidance. Also, should you be considering installing charging with a rating exceeding 150kW to employ an electrical consultant that specialises in electrical safety on petrol forecourts. This is because the standard of earthing needed for a sub-station far exceeds what is typical for a forecourt, and it may not be possible for a sub-station to be accommodated on your premises.