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The Charge project: How to prepare electric vehicle charging infrastructure

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The need to plan for a future dominated by electric vehicles is pressing. This is also apparent in the UK, where sales of petrol and diesel vehicles will be banned from 2030. 

PTV Group partnered with electricity operator SP Energy Networks and other stakeholders to develop a detailed transport model in PTV Visum to anticipate EV charging requirements across a study area of the UK’s Northwest.

The model is part of the Charge innovation program, funded by gas and electricity regulator Ofgem, which brings together transport and energy planning to accelerate investment and deployment of public EV charging infrastructure.

Using PTV Visum, the demand for charging has been quantified in the model using detailed trip pattern representation, demographics, and land use to understand where and when EVs are likely to charge.

Prior to building the model, future scenarios were developed to explore many of the uncertainties around the future of the EV market. For example, how EV uptake progresses (influenced by manufacturing supply, costs, future technology, etc.); and how usage of public charging might change (influenced by amount of EV users with or without a home charger, developments in technology, progress of EV rollout with support from industry or government, etc.).

The assumptions from the scenarios have been represented in the transport model to help guide forecasts for future EV electricity demand and infrastructure needs.

But rather than providing a single outlook, the scenario results highlight a range of plausible outcomes: From “Slow Progress” to a “On course for Net Zero” scenario in the years up until 2050, allowing analysis and decisions to be made with a robust approach accounting for future uncertainty.

The Charge project tackled another critical issue: The capacity of the electricity networks. Overlaying the transport model with electricity capacity data made it possible to estimate how the charging demand will affect the power network. For example, analysis of the “Net Zero” scenario showed a significant growth in electricity demand from EVs, growing 5-fold between 2025 and 2030, and then doubling again by 2035. This information can help identify where network upgrades are required and how flexibility services can best be implemented.

Using the data from the PTV Visum model, an online tool was developed: The ConnectMore Interactive Map is is free to use and provides planners, local authorities, and charging point installers with data to explore where public charging points will be needed, and where connections to the grid can be made.

"The ConnectMore Interactive Map combines EV demand forecasts from PTV Visum and electricity capacity data. It is a potential game-changer for public charge point installation, quickly delivering the hard evidence that’s needed to get charge point projects off the ground".

Geoff Murphy
Lead of Charge Project at SP Energy Networks

The results

Maps Pin Benefit tile

Based on PTV Visum model, an online tool now provides planners guidance where to build EV charging stations.

Electric vehicle car charge benefit tile

Understanding drivers' needs, authorities can better proceed the rollout of charging infrastructure.

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