By 2022, there is expected to be one million EVs in the UK. The infrastructure needs to be suitable for charging vehicles, convenient for users and sustainable for the network to cope. With between 30-40% of UK households without off-road parking and living in close proximity to low voltage substations, the scale of the challenge should not be under-estimated.
Impact Utilities' Associate Director, Nicole McNab, recently attended the ‘Electric vehicle charging infrastructure – creating public access networks’ conference, held at Derby County’s football ground. The conference was run by newly established LEVEL (Low Emission Vehicle Enterprise & Learning), and attended by innovation experts in EV charging, DNOs, local councils, network investment bodies and many other key players in this space.
Key take-outs from the conference included;
Behaviour change is the biggest influence on developments, not the chargers themselves - many consumers are trying to align their charging habits with how they fill their cars with petrol/diesel
Charging Points are likely to become part of the experience package for ‘destinations’ such as shopping centres - with average dwell times of two hours, such destinations will be looking to provide the facilities that customers expect… it may even help them attract consumers to visit a centre in the first place.
Behaviour change needs a 360 degree approach with incentives to encourage initial trial – Nottingham City Centre, one of the Go Ultra Low cities, has been very busy innovating and implementing their EV infrastructure including ‘EV only’ road lanes and working with a diverse range of stakeholders to encourage EV use (e.g. driving instructors, taxi drivers, environmentalist, etc.)
Charging solutions may require a re-think of existing electric infrastructures – Ubitricity is looking at one solution being the conversion of street lighting to become EV chargers. This would involve consumers carrying around their ‘own tariff/charging meter’ which will set up duel energy providers: one for the home and one for the car.
But it leaves a number of questions for organisations to understand;
Where should chargers be placed?
What is the customer journey – where do consumers expect charge points to be? How fast should the car charge?
Customer behaviour when it comes to EVs – when, where and how frequently do they charge?
If customers had to travel further for charging, or had to pay to charge their car, what would they find acceptable? How much are they willing to tolerate the inconvenience?
What do consumers think about the current infrastructure and what do they need from the future infrastructure.
We are already working on answering some of those questions...
Electric Nation is the world’s largest study of electric vehicle owners being run by Western Power Distribution. This project aims to ease demand on the network by utilising smart charging technology. A key component of the study involves understanding consumer behaviour, satisfaction and acceptability with their charging; Impact Utilities is running this illuminating part of the research. Read here to learn more about how we are gathering the customer voice for Electric Nation.
In February, we ran our latest wave of our Electric Vehicle Tracker. 1,000 consumers were asked about their interest in electric vehicles and what if anything is holding them back. Click on the link below to review this short report.
CLICK THE IMAGE to download our latest report:
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Want to talk through how we can capture consumer opinion and behaviour for you? Interested to find out how research can help your organisation plan for the future of EVs? Need to understand what your stakeholder objectives are when it comes to charging infrastructure? If yes to any of these questions, or you want to contact us about any other query, you can call Nicole direct on 01932 226 793 or email email@example.com.