Supporting Plans for EV Charging Infrastructure

September 9, 2020

If London is to meet its goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, electric vehicle ownership will have to become commonplace for Londoners in coming years. The city can encourage EV adoption by ensuring commercial vehicles have adequate access to charging infrastructure. The London Data Commission (LDC) stepped in to show how public and private data can be used to plan for EV charging hubs in London.

An LDC pilot project developed a heatmap to identify where suitable publicly owned land can be found for EV charging hubs. This pilot focused on large goods vehicles, which are classified as vehicles over 3.5 tonnes and tend to drive for longer distances away from depots. Data revealed a low amount of available land toward the center of London and higher concentrations on the outskirts. In suburban areas, land availability varies depending on factors such as nearby river banks and industrial areas. Understanding these patterns will help the Greater London Authority (GLA) identify the best opportunities to implement EV charging hubs.

The pilot evaluated land parcels that match the required sizes for charging hubs and scored them based on available power capacity, proximity to popular traffic routes, and remoteness from existing charging hubs. It found that 2,270 publicly owned parcels in Greater London could meet the requirements on those metrics. Even if only 10 percent of those locations were developed, that would create more than 3,600 additional charging points that could charge as many as 15,000 large goods vehicles per day.

The project used an array of data sources such as Department for Transport traffic volumes, a list of available publicly owned land plots, an EV infrastructure charge point national registry, and available power capacity data. With that said, the insights from the pilot are based on a combination of limited, partially incomplete, and proxy datasets. Additional data ultimately will be required for the GLA to be able to rely on, and fully benefit from, the approach outlined in this pilot. The authorities also will need to assess local factors by borough and investors will need to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of potential charging locations to ensure that optimal profit margin is realized.

Yet the pilot project has shown that analysing appropriate datasets has the potential to revolutionize the EV landscape in London. Courtesy of Microsoft, this video offers a preview of what was accomplished as part of the pilot project.

In the latest report from the London Data Commission, the Oliver Wyman Forum and its fellow commissioners outline recommendations on how the capital can optimize its data use for a bright future - and highlights this and three other pilot programs that were developed.