The Future of Charging Electric Vehicles and Drivers’ Hours

By Marc Caplin, Compliance Manager at Aquarius IT

In March 2024, Aquarius joined an EU Enforcement Meeting in Brussels where upcoming developments in legislation and enforcement technology were discussed. On the agenda was the electrification of HGV vehicles and how enforcement authorities plan to approach enforcement of time spent recharging vehicle batteries.

Whilst we are still in the early days of planning for the prospect of transport companies operating fully electric HGV vehicles, the technology does exist at a prototype stage, and during the meeting a case study was presented of an electric HGV travelling from Denmark to Germany and back.

The purpose of the discussion was to examine how the inevitable charging of vehicle batteries (during a period of duty) should be recorded under Drivers’ Hours. In the future, these vehicles will operate under current Drivers’ Hours (Regulation EC No 561/2006); but of course, as it stands, the regulation made back in 2006 does not account for the ensuing advances in technology.

The main point of discussion is whether the driver would be able to take a qualifying break or daily rest while the battery is charging. 

The subject was approached based on the assumption that for a driver to be able to take a period of break or rest wherein they can freely dispose of their time, the technology should allow for any battery charging to be totally unsupervised. If not, any supervision or use of equipment on the part of the driver would need to be recorded as other work.

The current consensus seems to be that the driver would record the plugging in/ un-plugging of the vehicle as “other work”, assuming that the vehicle can sit undisturbed for the duration of the break or rest. Any movement of the vehicle, or any interaction with charging equipment by the driver would be deemed an interruption to that break/ rest.

Charging Methods

There will be two main methods of charging; using slow chargers based on existing technology but also using so called mega-watt chargers that will have up to 1000kw capacity.

The intention is that vehicles could be put on “fast” charge using a mega-watt charger during a driver’s 45-minute break, enabling the vehicle to be driven for at least 4.5 hours on a single charge, whilst slow chargers could be used during a driver’s Daily Rest.  Again, overnight charging is based on the assumption that the vehicle could remain at the same charging station for the duration of an entire 11-hour daily rest.

The question was raised as to what might happen if the vehicle had to be moved on before the end of the 11-hour period, and it was suggested that recording a Daily Rest under something akin to ferry/train conditions could be employed, allowing that rest period to be interrupted which then raised additional questions around driver welfare.

In the field of heavy vehicles, this technology is still at an early stage and some important questions remain, over and above how to record charging time.


From an enforcement perspective, what could an officer check at the roadside to prove that a vehicle had been on charge, especially if a driver has taken a Daily Rest that includes interruptions? It was suggested that the driver could produce some sort of receipt as evidence. As a future solution that could make use of tachograph technology, Aquarius’ Guy Reynolds raised the suggestion of building something into the device’s tachograph Events log to record the start and end of charging.

Others raised the concern that the driver could be forced to plan their breaks around the needs of the vehicle and available charging points, which would again lead to concerns around driver welfare.

Looking to the future, it is hard to estimate how many overnight charging points would be needed to cater for the number of vehicles needing to recharge over a Daily Rest period but, based on the roll-out of EV charging points within the car sector, the challenges are clear.

It is proposed that drivers and operators would be able to pre-book their overnight slots before arriving, so it will be interesting to see how this might work in practice. Current concerns surrounding a lack of available parking facilities aside, there would be a loss of flexibility when it comes to choosing where to park, as it would need to be within a service area that contained charging facilities.

More details surrounding this new technology and the methods by which they could be enforced will emerge over the coming months and years, but it was heartening to see that the EU is taking a proactive approach in addressing these issues ahead of time.

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