Over the next ten years EVs will move from being a niche technology to representing every new car registered for use on the country’s roads. To facilitate the low-carbon transition towards EVs, the government is investing heavily in the public infrastructure needed to allow people to charge their vehicles when away from home.
Some networks of chargepoints have already been installed in UK cities. These provide an opportunity for researchers to consider how existing chargepoint networks are being used, what the implications are for sustainability, and how this information can help in the design of future networks.
The OPTIC (Operation and Performance of Transport Infrastructure Chargepoints) project, led by Dr Craig Morton from Loughborough University’s Transport and Urban Planning Group in the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering, will examine the EV chargepoint network currently installed in Manchester. This represents 131 different chargepoints and will involve data from 65,000 charging events.
The research team will use this data to calculate the emissions generated and mitigated through the operation of the network, develop a model through which power demand/emissions can be forecasted, and determine how the context in which the chargepoint is located affects its popularity.
Together this information will help chargepoint operators to plan the establishment and expansion of networks to help encourage drivers to make the shift to Electric Vehicles.
Speaking about the study, Dr Morton said: “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.”
The OPTIC study will run for 6 months, starting in October. It has been 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.