EV Charging Contracts: What have we learned and what is still to come

While EV charging installations have been around for some time, the sector is by no means mature.  We are still working out what the lifetime problems and issues will be between landowners, operators, the grid and others.  There are some really good contracts out there, but the contractual forms and negotiating points will continue to develop. 

That kind of development is sometimes from good lawyers, but also often happens in response to issues that arise.  There haven't yet been many full-on litigated disputes in this space yet, but they will come.

I have been involved in some clashes which didn't get to full blown litigation (always a victory) including between some of the biggest and best-known charging station operators on one side and, on the other, some key landowners on the UK road network.  The contracts were fairly standard form from the operators at the time and some of those forms have changed since, with good reason. From those disputes all sides learned new things which will inform new contracting and planning. 

When the contracts were signed everyone was happy, but the contracts had 15-20ish year terms and within the first few years it became clear that they didn't really work for either side after new developments and changes in commercial direction.  We had to renegotiate – the questions were, as ever, where the power lay - who would achieve more profit and who would bear any loss.  It was key for the operators to be present on these sites, but also key for the landowners to make sure they achieved value and didn't prejudice their wider businesses.

In the spirit of trying to improve contracting and avoid disputes below are my resulting top ten issues arising from the early EV charging contracts.  Some have been addressed in new contract forms but some definitely remain.  If you disagree or have other things to add, please let me know.

Key Contacts