Best sites for new EV chargepoints – using location data

New report by Geospatial Commission identifies the geospatial apps currently available and makes five recommendations for better, evidence-based placing of chargepoints. 

There are more than 44,000 public charging devices across the UK, triple the number there were just four years ago – yet a long way short of the minimum 300,000 chargepoints that the government thinks will be needed by 2030, when the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will begin to be phased out.

blue and black car door

Photo by Sophie Jonas

Councils are, obviously, keen to supply further EV chargepoints in their communities but the location of chargepoints is as important a factor as the numbers of them.  

It’s not always easy to know where to place them to ensure they’re accessible and convenient. Geospatial mapping applications can provide valuable data so that local authorities can make good, evidence-based decisions. 

The Geospatial Commission’s new report, Charging ahead: Using locaton data to boost local EV chargepoint rollout, details the range of location data and apps available to support such decision-making. It also outlines five ways to make better use of existing data and new sources of information: 

  • Understand the location and availability of existing chargepoints by making chargepoint operator data standardised and consistent 
  • Understand consumer charging behaviour and travel patterns by using population movement data 
  • Identify the location of EVs by using commercially held data about leased vehicles 
  • Identify existing electricity network capacity through better use of distribution network operator data 
  • Identify areas without off-street parking by using proxy data 

As the report says, local authorities are ideally placed to identify local needs and to play a key role in facilitating investment from the private sector investment, ensuring that all communities have access to a reliable public charging infrastructure, especially with on-street charging points.  

Viscount Camrose, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, says: ‘The transition to electric vehicles is central to the government’s plan to decarbonise the transport sector, keep the UK at the forefront of clean transport and tackle pollution, all while seizing the potential for growth and job creation in the UK’s growing EV industry. 

‘Local authorities and the wider sector should continue to embrace new location data and analysis to accelerate the targeted rollout of chargepoints so that drivers can find and access reliable chargepoints wherever they live.’ 

Martin Tugwell, Chief Executive, Transport for the North, adds: ‘High quality location data plays a critical role in enabling better decision making on how society can make a rapid transition to achieving a low carbon economy. 

‘Location data and analysis is a vital component of our work at Transport for the North to underpin activities outlined in our regional Strategic Transport Plan, such as supporting our local authorities EV charging planning and delivery and facilitating private sector investment to drive EV chargepoint rollout.’ 

Steve Ward, Decarbonisation Programme Manager at Transport for Wales, says: ‘Good quality location data is essential to us helping the public and private sectors collaborate to identify and develop sites for electric vehicle charging. We have worked with datasets from a large number of sources to develop modelling tools that indicate which locations are more suitable for commercially funded charging facilities, and which could be unlocked by targeting investment in improving electricity supply capacity. 

‘We are sharing the outputs of our mapping with all stakeholders, including the electricity Distribution Network Operators, who are using this data to plan ahead of anticipated demand for charging hotspots.’ 

In related news:

Jaguar Land Rover recycles EV batteries to store grid power

Green light for huge green energy project in Portsmouth 

Rapid EV chargers for three North Yorkshire market towns 


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