Study reveals optimal charging infrastructure rollout strategy
A study conducted on the largest EV charging transactions dataset worldwide revealed insight in what rollout strategy for charging points can best be applied by policy makers.
The research was conducted by Jurjen Helmus (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, AUAS), Jop Spoelstra (Technolution and former ElaadNL), Nazir Refa (ElaadNL), Mike Lees (University of Amsterdam Informatics Institute) and Robert van den Hoed (AUAS).
The research contains an in-depth analysis of the use of 1,700 charging points over 4 years during the early years of EV adoption and translates these results into valuable performance metrics. The findings of this research can be used by policy makers worldwide to help guide them in deployment of charging infrastructure. The research is recently published in the Energy Policy journal.
Worldwide fleet of electric vehicles
By 2020 it is estimated that the worldwide fleet of electric vehicles will grow to 13 million, and sales are expected to increase by 24% each year until 2030. Within the next decade governments around the world will need to make significant investment in public charging infrastructure. For policy makers worldwide, it is difficult to develop an effective rollout strategy as there are very few examples from which to learn. According to professor Robert van den Hoed: 'There is dependency between the infrastructure and the sales of electric vehicles, sufficient infrastructure will promote sales, but oversupply of infrastructure can be expensive and impact scarce parking space negatively. It is therefore crucial to understand what the appropriate level of investment is at any given time.'
The public charging infrastructure in the Netherlands is one of the most developed in the world and as such may be seen as an example for other countries. As of April 2018, the Netherlands has 132,000 EVs and 15,000 public charging points. In the Netherlands, as with many other countries, two rollout strategies are commonly used: demand-driven and strategic rollout. In demand-driven rollout, the installation of a charging point is based upon a request by an electric vehicle driver for a charging point near to their home (or office). In strategic rollout, the local government places charging points near strategic locations (e.g. shopping areas, tourist attractions, leisure locations, etc.).
Researchers from the HvA, UvA and ElaadNL have analysed more than 1.3 million charging sessions in the Netherlands to understand which of these rollout strategies has proved most effective. The dataset, provided by EVnetNL is one of the largest EV transaction datasets currently available in the world. 'This dataset contains the first charging points deployed in the Netherlands (from 2012), and the ability to link the transactions to the rollout strategy enables the quantitative analysis of the two strategies.' Says Nazir Refa from ElaadNL.
Use of charging points
The research examined in detail how each charging point was used, in terms of the number of users, the amount of energy transferred and the connection time. The research shows that a demand driven approach is very effective in the early adoption phase, whereas the strategic rollout becomes more important as user numbers grow. 'It seems like giving people what they want is a good approach to bootstrap the EV system.' Says Dr. Michael Lees from the UvA Informatics Institute.
In the root cause analysis of the performance difference it was found that strategic charging points tend to be used differently than demand-driven charging points. For example, strategic charging points are used much more during the daytime, by more unique users and on average with shorter connection times. Demand driven charging points are used more by inhabitants, with on average higher connection times and higher charging volumes on a daily basis. This research shows the importance of data analysis of public charging infrastructure to support policy makers in their work. Lead author Jurjen Helmus states: 'Without data gathering and analysis, policy makers would still be planning in the dark. In the IDO-LAAD project we continue to analyse data and develop computational models to help policy makers in their decision making.'
J.R. Helmus, J.C. Spoelstra, N. Refa, M. Lees, R. van den Hoed, Assessment of public charging infrastructure push and pull rollout strategies: The case of the Netherlands, Energy Policy, uitgave 121, oktober 2018, pagina 35-47, ISSN 0301-4215.