New model predicts EV charging demand to help inform infrastructure deployment


An innovative new transport model designed to anticipate and map electric vehicle (EV) uptake across the northwest of England and north Wales has been unveiled by electricity distributor SP Energy Networks.

The Charge Project’s transport model – a first-of-its-kind – 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.

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 transport model unveiled today 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.

“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,” says Scott Mathieson, network planning and regulation director at SP Energy Networks. “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.”

“This model is unique to the UK’s rapidly expanding EV market,” says Dr Laurence Chittock, project lead, PTV Group. “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 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.

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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).