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New model predicts EV charging demand

Model is designed to drive local investment in EV chargepoints as part of the region’s ‘green recovery’

Juliana O'Rourke
22 July 2020


An innovative new transport model designed to anticipate and map electric vehicle (EV) uptake across Cheshire, Merseyside, North Shropshire, and North and Mid-Wales has been released by electricity distributor SP Energy Networks.  

The Charge Project’s transport model can predict where and when EV charging demand will occur in the region,  helping investors to identify the best locations to install chargepoints as demand for EVs grows. It can also identify where that demand needs to be accommodated on the electricity network. 

Dr Laurence Chittock, Project Lead, PTV Group, said: 'This model is unique to the UK’s rapidly expanding EV market. By anticipating how EV uptake might progress and understanding the travel patterns of all drivers across the project area – not just the early adopters – the model can show where infrastructure is most needed.'

The Charge team outlined plans for the model back in 2019 at the Landor LINKS Smarter Tomorrow event, and the toolkit is now ready for use.

By anticipating how EV uptake might progress and understanding the travel patterns of all drivers across the project area – not just the early adopters – the model can show where infrastructure is most needed  

Getting more people out of diesel and petrol cars and into electric vehicles is a key element of the journey to net zero and meeting climate change targets, and also has an important part to play in the post-COVID-19 ‘green recovery’.

The Charge Project’s transport model is designed to accelerate this process by helping investors make informed decisions about where to locate the necessary infrastructure.

Working alongside partners EA Technology, Smarter Grid Solutions and PTV Group, SP Energy Networks’ four-year Ofgem-funded Charge Project will merge transport and electricity-network planning for the first time to create an overarching map of locations where EV chargepoints will be required and where the electricity grid can best accommodate them.

The new transport model anticipates EV uptake based on demographics, land-use data, travel patterns, driver behaviour, and scenario-based assumptions of how the EV market will evolve in the coming years. 

This insight means infrastructure investment can be targeted where it’s most needed and where it can deliver maximum benefits for drivers. 

Scott Mathieson, Network Planning and Regulation Director at SP Energy Networks, said: 'The Charge Project transport model is a never-before-available online platform capable of generating detailed scenarios for EV uptake as far into the future as 2050.

'By predicting where charging demand is likely to be high, the model can help drive infrastructure investment and development in a way that will make the transition to electric vehicles a much more viable option for many. It has the potential to really transform how EV infrastructure is embedded into our towns and cities and I look forward to seeing how the project takes shape in the coming weeks and months.'

The next stage of the Charge Project will be a major trial in the project area of ‘smart charging connections’ -  pioneering technology that can intelligently and automatically control the power consumption of EV chargepoints. This will be followed by the rollout of the ConnectMore tool, a public-facing web application that will help businesses and local authorities identify suitable sites for new chargepoints and estimate the cost of connecting them to the network. 

With EV uptake on the increase as the country focuses on climate change and net-zero ambitions, the Charge Project is complimentary to other industry EV projects driven by SP Energy Networks. From its EV-Up project, which uses socio-demographic and housing-stock information to understand the probability of EV adoption, to Project PACE, which it is running in partnership with the Scottish Government, the network operator is piloting a DNO-led delivery model of publicly funded universal EV charging infrastructure – SP Energy Networks is focused on how critical the electrification of transport will be for the electricity network of the future. 

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