Yesterday, prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the EV infrastructure development guidelines under the Electricity Supply Act 1990 (Act 447) would be enforced in the fourth quarter of 2022. He said that a legal regulatory framework is set to be established for the development of the EV charging infrastructure in the country.

The move, he said, is aimed at ensuring that aspects of public and user safety are preserved and guaranteed, and is very much in line with that stated earlier this year, when the government said that standards related to the EV industry, such as charging systems, battery disposal activities, battery swapping, wireless charging and others were being defined to ensure that everything aligned to EVs here are standardised and safe.

While Ismail Sabri’s statement, made during his speech at the launch of the 5th International Sustainable Energy Summit 2022 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, didn’t mention any specifics about the guidelines that would be put in place, an Energy Commission (EC) document on the matter provides an overview of what to expect when the Act is in place.

The EC says its Guide on Electric Vehicle Charging System (EVCS) was developed to serve as a concise guide to all competent persons, electrical contractors and consulting engineers who are involved in the electrical wiring work related to an EVCS as well as its supporting infrastructure, to ensure these are constructed and operated safely.

It is also meant to prescribe minimum standards and specifications in the design, installation, inspection, testing, supervision, operation and maintenance of an EVCS, and ensure that a system complies with all the requirements under the Act, regulations and relevant standards.

Standards include determining technical competencies of personnel, where work on all electrical installations can only be carried out by persons having the necessary qualifications as required under the Act. Additionally, no charging-related equipment can be manufactured, imported or sold in the country unless it is first approved by the commission.

The general technical requirements for charging are also covered, listing the four different modes of electric vehicle conductive charging as specified in IEC 61851. Mode 1 uses a standard three-pin socket outlet) not exceeding 16A and not exceeding 230 volts single phase AC or 400 volts three-phase AC) without communication and the presence of a residual current device (RCD).

Mode 2 charging is essentially the same as above, but with an in-cable control box is incorporated into the charging cable assembly. Mode 3 charging is via a dedicated EVCS (wallbox or AC charger) and related charging plug, socket and coupler, while Mode 4 employs a DC charger and CCS2 connection.

As part of its plan for national compliance, the EC states that Mode 1 charging will not be permitted because it does not meet minimum safety requirements. Aside from not being able to stop charging automatically when a battery reaches full charge, a BS 1363 UK three-pin plug isn’t robust enough for the load it needs to carry over an extended interval of use, making it a fire hazard. This of course is in the public charging domain.

While Mode 2 charging (essentially, portable chargers) will be permitted, the socket outlet and the associated plug used must comply with the IEC 60309 standard, which entails the use of a Certification of Electrotechnical Equipment (CEE) form connector (or socket). In essence, a BS 1363 three-pin plug will be a no-no for charging under the new guidelines.

Interestingly, the document makes mention that Type 1 connectors will not be permitted under the new laws because it does not have a locking mechanism – the Nissan Leaf for our market utilises a Type 1 slot, so it remains to be seen how this issue will be resolved, and whether Leaf owners will only have the CHAdeMO route for public charging.

For the complete overview of the EC’s general guidelines on EVCS, read the document in full here.