New year, new rules…? Yep! Drivers of both conventional and electric cars can expect to see some big changes on the road this year. A collection of new laws mixed with a massive improvement in vehicle technology, means driving could be significantly different in 2022.
Let’s see what changes are up and coming for those who drive electric cars.
No phones allowed!
Lawmakers have finally found a way to close a loophole that has allowed thousands of drivers to avoid prosecution for over a decade. Everyone knows they shouldn’t use their phone while driving, right? Plus, it’s been illegal for a long time, right?
Well, not exactly. The law actually only states that using a mobile device for communicating while driving is illegal. That means videoing, taking selfies and scrolling through spotify were unpunishable. You might get pulled over and given a warning, but that’s all.
But not for much longer. In early 2022, using a phone or any handheld device behind the wheel could earn you a £200 fine and six points on your licence. It also counts for when you’re stopped at a red light or in a traffic jam.
There are a couple of exceptions. The first being that drivers can use a phone as a sat-nav, providing it is secured in a hands-free holder. Most importantly though, we’re all still able to make mobile payments to buy our favourite McDonald’s meal, or to pay for a toll.
Look mum, no hands!
While there isn’t a confirmed date for self-driving vehicles in the UK, it is expected to come into effect in Spring 2022. Drivers of the latest conventional and electric cars, ones with Automated Land Keeping Systems (ALKS), will now be able to use self-driving features on UK motorways.
Currently, drivers can use technology such as lane assist systems but must be engaged in driving and aware of their environment. This is classed as ‘Level 2’ autonomous driving, which doesn’t allow the vehicle to control the steering.
The legalisation of ‘Level 3’ autonomous driving has been discussed by MPs in depth since mid-2020, and there have been plenty of concerns over safety. However, in just a matter of months it is due to be given the green light.
Level 3 autonomy allows the vehicle to take full control over the vehicle without the driver’s assistance. This included controlling the steering and changing lanes, making for a completely hands-free drive.
While autonomous driving has been given the go ahead, there are, of course, some potential risks. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders have recently created guiding principles to ensure drivers know if, how and when they can use their self-driving tech.
At the moment, there aren’t many electric cars that are capable of driving themselves. While most electric cars have some level of autonomous driving features, these are usually classed as Level 2 features. Electric cars such as Teslas, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Jaguar I-Pace are all examples of cars with Level 2 features.
Currently, the only electric cars that will be able to take advantage of the new legislation is the Mercedes EQS. Mercedes were granted permission to use self-driving technology in their EQS model, which will allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel and relax.
More EV chargers!
Last year, the Government announced that all new homes, supermarkets and workplaces will be required to have EV charging stations installed. Meanwhile, any ongoing projects undergoing major renovations will also be required to make the upgrades.
Downing Street branded their legislation as ‘world-leading’ and hoped it would make electric driving more attractive. We think this is a brilliant idea, especially as it can be difficult to charge an electric vehicle for those without a driveway or garage.
Clean air zones!
A major part of driving an electric car is the positive impact it has on the environment. Petrol and diesel vehicles produce so many tailpipe emissions that have an impact on our planet and our health.
The Government has previously committed to banning the sale of any new petrol or diesel vehicles from 2030 onwards and hopes to be carbon neutral by 2050. This means the demand for electric cars is ever-growing.
Another way of enticing UK drivers to switch to electric is the introduction of more Clean Air Zones. These are found all over the UK, but most commonly in big cities. For example, London has introduced both the London Congestion Charge and Ultra-Low Emission Zone. Both of which penalise those driving conventional cars.
In 2022, drivers can expect to see more Clean Air Zones being introduced in Oxford, Manchester, Newcastle, Bristol and many more. Thankfully, EV drivers will be exempt from paying charges in many of these zones! Another win for electric cars!
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* All information correct as of 24/01/2022.