The Transport Technology Forum has set up a new working group to help local councils tackle the challenges around delivering charging networks for the anticipated huge growth in electric vehicles (EVs). The TTF group will bring together government – both national and local – and private sector innovators to further the use of technology in the transport sector.
The TTF EV Infrastructure Working Group has agreed an initial commitment to sharing best practice and producing an EV handbook for use by local authorities.
The first meeting, hosted by innovative EV manufacturer Polestar at its Milton Keynes test drive hub, heard that the sales of EVs now mirror the growth of technology as diverse as mobile phones and dishwashers, which took some time to win public acceptance with take up ultimately accelerating quickly.
The working group will be chaired by Shamala Evans-Gadgil, EV project manager at Coventry City Council, who said: “There is already lots of guidance available about how EV infrastructure can be rolled out, but the documents are huge and cumbersome and can scare people away. This working group is about empowering local authorities, especially those who haven’t even started yet, to begin this journey and provide that initial kick-start document to help them build their EV network. We commit that this document will be no more than ten pages, it will be simple with a list of deliverables to show how to bring each authority’s stakeholders together. There are already many groups looking at EV issues – we are filling the specific gap to help local authorities get started.”
Setting the scene, the meeting heard from Iain MacBeth from Enterprise Rent-a-Car who explained how three-fifths of his customers are keen to try an EV when offered, which he feels is a great way of spreading the experience, to “try before they buy”.
Jim Newton from data innovation company CKDelta explained the potential for advanced AI and simulation to power data-driven design and decision support tools forecasting EV demand and the impact of EV rollout.
Cyber security expert Meha Shukla of University College London (UCL) discussed how local authorities can prepare for, withstand and rapidly recover and learn from deliberate cyber-attacks or accidental events, and what has already been done in this area.
The value of EVs were highlighted by Kevin Booker of Brecon Beacons National Park who proved to the group they can do extraordinary things by talking about his three world records travelling in an EV from John o’Groats to Land’s End. “The TTF is here to take on the challenges faced by the industry and collaborate to find solutions and recommendations,” said Darren Capes, TTF manager at the Department for Transport. “With the country’s ambitious timescales to phase out traditional petrol and diesel-powered vehicles, it’s encouraging that industry experts are getting together to discuss their ideas and commit to delivering concrete proposals in the future.”
Matt Hawkins from Polestar said: “As a progressive brand, Polestar recognises the importance of rapid growth in the EV charging infrastructure network in line with the rapid increase in electric vehicle sales. It’s so encouraging that so many different parts of the sector have been represented in the working group, showing that everyone is committed to working together to continue improving widespread access to public charging in a collaborative way.”
The EV Infrastructure Working Group is open to any industry professional who wants to get involved.
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