Guiding the national rollout of electric vehicle chargepoint networks

A novel study led by researchers at Loughborough University will investigate the use of current electric vehicle chargepoint networks to support their widespread introduction across the UK. 

Over the coming decades, electric vehicles will move from being a niche technology and towards the mainstream and will likely account for every new car registered for use on UK roads. In order to facilitate the low-carbon shift towards electric vehicles, the government is investing into the public necessary infrastructure of chargepoint networks to enable people to charge their vehicles away from home. 

Currently, there are small networks of chargepoints already installed in and around UK cities. These offer the opportunity for researchers to examine how these existing chargepoint networks are being utilised, what the consequences are for sustainability, and how this knowledge can aid in the construction of networks going forward. 

The Operation and Performance of Transport Infrastructure Chargepoints project

The Operation and Performance of Transport Infrastructure Chargepoints (OPTIC) project, is being led by Dr Craig Morton of Loughborough University’s Transport and Urban Planning Group in the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering. Dr Morton’s research activity centres around the fields of transport and energy demand modelling as well as customer experiences with transport services. 

The OPTIC project is to investigate the electric vehicle chargepoint network that is established in Manchester, which encompasses 131 different chargepoints and will include data from 65,000 charging events. 

The group of Loughborough researchers will utilise this data to analyse the emissions produced and mitigated through the operation of the network and create a model through which power demand and emissions can be predicted, as well as figure out how the location that the chargepoint is situated impacts its popularity. 

Developing a network of electric vehicle chargepoints 

Combined, this information will aid the efforts of chargepoint operators to organise the formation and development of networks to assist the effort of persuading UK drivers to make the shift to electric vehicles. 

“EV chargepoint networks are very much an emerging infrastructure, but over the next decade they will be an essential part of our towns and cities, just as fuel stations are currently. 

“It is important that we learn from their current use to ensure their large-scale rollout across the UK is done in the most effective way possible. The OPTIC project will provide the data needed to make informed decisions,” commented Morton. 

The OPTIC study is due to run for six months, beginning in October. It is being funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) via the Decarbon8 network. Loughborough will be working with academics from the University of Leeds on the project. 

DecarboN8 

DecarboN8 is an EPSRC funded network that aims to bring together business, government and academia across the North of England. The network’s objective is to develop an innovation ecosystem and test bed environment which enables the testing and acceleration of low carbon transport solutions.  

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