EV Up Nominated for Data Project of the Year at Network Awards

EV Up, a partnership project between SP Energy Networks and Field Dynamics, has been shortlisted for Data Project of the Year at the Network Awards 2020.

Created by the team behind industry magazine Network, the annual Network Awards show honours the people, projects and innovations that are changing the shape of the energy industry.

Field Dynamics has worked with SP Energy Networks to develop the EV Up tool on its Accelerated Insight Platform. Output from the model will allow the network operator to better understand where demand for electric vehicles will come from so that it can plan and prioritise investments in network resilience. The tool will help SP Energy Networks enable communities across the UK to support Government targets on climate change and ultimately deliver a low carbon society.

You can read more about Field Dynamics role in EV Up! in our previous release.

Charlie Gilbert, Partner at Field Dynamics, said: “We are really proud to have been shortlisted alongside other leading data projects in the sector. Our EV adoption methodology combined with the power of our cloud intelligence platform is enabling access to a completely new tier of insight.”

Nicol Gray, Senior Project Manager at SP Energy Networks, said: “We are delighted to have been shortlisted for a Network Award and are really proud of what our EV Up project is set to achieve. At a time when decarbonisation is high on the agenda, we are ready to play our part in delivering against net zero targets, which projects like this are critical to.”

Winners of the Network Awards will be announced on March 17th, 2020 with an award show at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole.

How Many Viable EV Public Chargers Do We Actually Have?

The latest news from Zap-Map suggests that there are over 28,000 public EV charge points in the UK. 

While the maths is right, only a small minority of these charge-points are actually viable. This means that the charging estate that we are relying on to support a huge change in transport is far smaller than 28,000 recorded – as if that were enough chargers in the first place.

Take my recent trip with my son to Newcastle as an example. For a bit of background, Newcastle is 236 miles from where I live and I’m lucky enough to have a Tesla X, capable of both long-distance travel and Supercharger use.

The trip up was easy and demonstrates how good a modern EV is. We whizzed up in near silence and then 2 hours later had a break just North of Sheffield for 25 mins. In that time we fitted in a loo-break, a pie and enough Supercharge to get us to Newcastle with 50 miles to spare. Range anxiety – I don’t think so.

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Then we got to Newcastle and the experience of non-Tesla owners really started to bite…

Of the 26 chargers recorded on Zap-Map, 8 (31%) were recorded as broken.

Of the remainder, we picked two on the street next to the hotel. Both were blocked by diesel SUVs and not ticketed by the parking attendants. It was late, so we gave up and parked under the hotel.

The next day we moved the car to another carpark that claimed to have 17 chargers. They were un-signposted, so we hunted around until we found them. It then got worse. After 4 attempts we got the machines to work but it would be worth it with 4 hours of “fast” charging ahead.

The disappointment first set in when I found the charger had only added 20 miles. This disappointment grew when the Charger-your-Car charger refused to release the cable – clearly, a common problem as this is the first option on the support number. A number that they hadn’t answered after 25 minutes before my son lost patience and performed a modified Heimlich on the machine. Cable-free!

Now low on charge we travelled to Blaydon and tried the impressive GeniePoint machine at a supermarket. Impressive in size if not performance. The record below shows me paying them £10 at 1:30 pm and still fighting the machine 15 mins later as it repeatedly refused to charge my car. I gave up. But not after the charger had taken £1 off me for the pleasure.

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Finally, we reluctantly left the wonderful Newcastle and relied again on Tesla and the fundamentally different experience that Tesla offers its customers.

The car’s Sat Nav told me where the nearest charger was, how many slots where there and checked for availability. When we arrived, the charger recognised the car and seamlessly connected. What makes the experience truly different is that the Sat Nav worked out the whole journey for me, told me where to top-up and how long it takes. You really just don’t have to try, it is so easy.

So, there are supposed to be more than 28,000 charging points in the UK. Given my experience in Newcastle, which is very similar to what I experience across the UK, the actual number of chargers that are in a viable location, charge at a usable speed and actually work is a far smaller number. But we desperately need to understand this number, which my guess is less than 50% of the 28,000 otherwise we will be pushing for a transformation based on the foundations of sand.

It’s also clear that we know how to deliver the right experience – it is the Tesla experience. Until the OEMs and charge providers wake up and catch up then we will need to brace ourselves for an onslaught of complaints when the mainstream moves to EVs.

Article originally posted by Ben Allan on 22/11/2019 via LinkedIn.

Baringa and Field Dynamics joint press statement on EDF’s acquisition of Pivot Power

Baringa Partners and Field Dynamics are pleased to have supported EDF in its acquisition of Pivot Power.

EDF commissioned Baringa and Field Dynamics to appraise the electric vehicle (EV) uptake potential and charging demand at each of the portfolio sites, using the market-leading EV demand analysis tool that they have jointly developed.  This combines detailed EV deployment and charging scenarios with highly granular spatial distribution analysis, providing a data-rich picture of the proposed sites, accounting for all types of vehicles and customer segments.

The analysis captures hourly shape of charging as well as the specific locations of local businesses, commercial and public transport fleets, transit demand from highways, and local distribution of homes with and without off-street parking.  This tool was key in assessing the overall commercial opportunity at each particular site under different scenarios.

Oliver Rix from Baringa Partners said:  “This announcement from EDF shows a serious commitment to battery storage and electric vehicle technologies.  We are very happy to have embedded our market-leading EV expertise within Field Dynamics’ advanced spatial platform to provide the site-level information that EDF needed to reach its decision.”

Charlie Gilbert from Field Dynamics said: “This announcement is great for EV adoption and the drive towards Net Zero, and we are delighted to deliver yet another EV project with our partner Baringa. Our Accelerated Insight Platform workflows and algorithms dovetailed seamlessly with Baringa’s sophisticated energy modelling capability”


For more information, please contact:

Samantha Cliff
Head of Marketing
0121 232 8050
samantha.cliff@field-dynamics.co.uk

Why Company Cars will be the EV’s Saviour… and its Biggest Problem

What’s interesting about the UK car market isn’t its size (31 million cars), it’s how these cars get there in the first place and crucially how that will affect the broader adoption of EVs.

Over 2 million new cars were sold last year, of which 57% were bought as company cars. These are sold on quite quickly, meaning companies buy most of the 31 million cars that most people end up owning. In other words, Fleet Directors decide the composition of the UK fleet. And most large fleet directors have said they will move to EVs as soon as there is a suitable model available.

Why do Fleet Directors want EVs?

Corporates are different from consumers. Corporates look at non-car factors such as carbon reduction goals and corporate branding when making purchasing decisions– think how odd it will be for an electricity company to choose not to use electricity to power its cars. They also look carefully at Total Cost of Ownership and already EVs are far ahead of their fossil-fuelled counterparts. All of these factors drive a much higher appetite for electric cars in the corporate sector than in the private sector. We’ve seen this first hand. In our consultancy business, we do not have a single customer who does not have an EV plan in place.

So, all’s good then? Manufacturers will shortly come to market with some viable fleet models, these will be snapped up at volume and the UK fleet will migrate to EVs at a great pace.

Not quite.

Company cars have one inherent difference; they cover high mileages, annually averaging 18,000 miles per year against the UK personal average of 5,104. High mileage means high charging.

The Rising Tide

Consumer EV adoption has been similar, in many ways, to a rising tide. There has been a gentle increase across all types of EVs and geographical areas. DNOs (Electricity distribution companies) have been able to keep ahead of this demand increase by making gentle improvements across all areas. This follows the theory of Diversified Demand, where different people demand power at different times. Charging patterns are the same.

Apologies for all the maths, but we need to chew through this.

An average annual mileage of 5,104 means about 98 miles per week which would require around 28kWh of charging. Off-peak home charging provides around 50kWh per night (7hrs at 7.2kWh) or 350kWh per week. So an electricity company only needs to find 28kWh in the window of 350kWh to charge the average car. This enables the electricity company to spread and diversify the needs of one driver across many others. The Rising Tide.

The Crashing Wave

Company drivers are different though: they are time-constrained, they return home with a low “tank” and need it full the next day. Using the same sums as before, 18,000 annual miles means 346 miles per week and a weekly charge of 100kWh. By definition, this mileage and charging will need to happen during the working week, so we are looking at finding 20kWh per night in a charging window of 50kWh. This is much harder to spread, especially when we try to ask a company car driver to sacrifice charging for the common good.

What makes this worse is that large corporates move in big steps, buying individual models of cars in their thousands. So we go from very few difficult balancers to hundreds and thousands in the time it takes to drive the new EV from the depot. Finally, company cars are not equally geographically spread, they are localised. Recruitment profiles will tend to mean that company car drivers often live quite closely together.

The end result will be very fast build-ups of un-diversified demand in concentrated areas. A Crashing Wave.

Is It All Bad News?

Not at all if the right planning goes in.

While the main manufacturers are moving towards delivering a fleet model, they are still some way off – needing several more battery factories before they can deliver at volume. In addition, the location of these Crashing Waves can be predicted, so strengthening can be focussed.

Biggest Accelerator of EV Ownership

What this will be is great news for the EV market overall. It will bring a whole swathe of new drivers into the EV experience, this positive experience will be disseminated to a wider group of drivers and crucially, the second-hand market will get a huge injection of affordable EVs. Without a doubt, company cars will be the biggest accelerator of EV ownership in the UK.

So bring on the Crashing Wave, just as long as it doesn’t hit your street before the new powerlines have gone in.

 

Article originally posted by Ben Allan on 04/09/2019 via LinkedIn.

We’re on G-Cloud 11

Does your organisation need to procure innovative solutions via G-Cloud?

We are pleased to announce that we are once again listed as a supplier on the latest G-Cloud 11 framework, available through the governments’ Digital Marketplace. You will find our services listed under the “Cloud Software” category.

Field Dynamics services currently available on the Digital Marketplace include:

  • Accelerated Insight Platform (AIP) – get detailed answers to your complex operational questions, fast. A unique and dinnovative solution which delivers data insight using Cloud technology and AI capabilities.
  • FME Cloud – fully embrace the automation and integration functionality of the renowned spatail data tool, FME. From simple translations to heavyweight data processes, FME can handle it all.
  • JRNI (formerly BookingBug) – all of our online booking requirements, from appointments and events to courses, are realised with the corporate platform JRNI. Integrate into your existing website, and transform the experience of your customers for the better.
  • Tableau – visualise and get an enhanced understanding of your data with the market-leading software. Users can author and share data visualisations online, so teams across multiple business functions get a view of it.

You can check-out our listings here.

SP Energy Networks & Field Dynamics accelerates UK’s plans for electric vehicles using ground-breaking modelling tool

One of the UK’s biggest electricity distributors will speed up plans for the roll-out of electric vehicles across the country by developing an innovative tool to analyse the infrastructure and uptake of electric vehicles, so that every home that wants to will be able to charge an EV.

SP Energy Networks has partnered with analytics consultancy Field Dynamics to develop the ‘EV Up’ tool, which will allow the network operator to better understand where demand for electric vehicles will come from so that it can plan investment in its electricity network. The tool will be initially used in Central and Southern Scotland, along with Merseyside and Cheshire before being used across the rest of the UK.

By accurately modelling what additional infrastructure may be required to be able to park and charge a vehicle at every residential address in the country, the tool will help SP Energy Networks enable communities across the UK to support Government targets on climate change and ultimately deliver a low carbon society.

The project aims to help with the challenge network operators are currently facing in understanding the demands of more people using electric vehicles on the current power network.Working in collaboration with Birmingham-based Field Dynamics, SP Energy Networks will use detailed demographics and a wide range of behavioural indicators to develop the new tool based on real-world experience of electric vehicle ownership.

Scott Mathieson, Network Planning & Regulation Director at SP Energy Networks, said: “In response to Government calls to decarbonise our transport systems, more and more of our customers are moving away from fossil fuel cars towards electric vehicles. At SP Energy Networks we have a wide range of initiatives aimed at helping develop the electricity network to support our customers as they make this transition. EV Up is the perfect answer to helping us forecast and plan our low voltage network more accurately and I believe will ultimately result in us being able to provide a better service to our customers as well as reducing costs.”

The new platform will assess the demand impact against a number of scenarios depending on vehicle types including battery sizes, charging profiles, volumes and ownership thresholds.

Charlie Gilbert, Business Solutions Director at Field Dynamics, said: “The electric vehicle marketplace is changing rapidly and it can be very difficult to predict what will happen. Our tool makes that much easier. Scenario planning is a sensible way to reduce unpredictability and we are very excited to be working with the team at SP Energy Networks to develop the model further.”

The project will cover SP Energy Networks’ distribution operating areas in Scotland and North West England. Findings will be shared across the wider DNO community as part of the Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) programme – allowing other areas of the UK to benefit from modelling.

5 Lessons From Going Electric

A year ago this week my wife and I took the plunge, sold our diesels and bought two electric cars (EVs). It’s been an interesting journey but here are 5 key things that’ve stood out.

Firstly though, a bit of context about me. I live in the countryside, work is 30 miles away, my customers are all over the UK, and we have 3 large children. We do about 40,000 miles combined a year and lived the cliché with a BMW estate and a Land Rover Discovery. These were replaced with a Tesla X and a Hyundai Ioniq.

And finally, I am interested in the environment but I am by no means an eco-warrior – if I’m honest, this move was much more ego than eco.

1. EVs are better cars

Forget all the talk of compromises, Electric Vehicles are just… better. They are quieter, smoother, faster, better to drive and cheaper to run. My total cost of ownership for my Tesla X is much less than that of my old Discovery.

I wouldn’t go back. I will never buy another fossil car.

2. The current range is fine, but more would be better

My Tesla does about 200 miles at fast motorway speeds, the Ioniq does an impressive 120 miles of local traffic. For big-milers like me, this is perfectly acceptable, especially when you consider we automatically plug in every night so the tanks are full every morning. Once I got used to it, after a couple of weeks, I stopped “thinking” about range on a day-to-day basis. However, for mass adoption, the ranges really need to be doubled, and when that happens there’ll be no thinking at all.

What is true is that on longer journeys you need to plan a bit. To be honest, after 3 hours driving I usually need to stop before the Tesla does and the Superchargers mean that the car is ready to go before I am.

On the other side of the coin, we don’t take the Ioniq on any long-distance trips because the charging is too slow and unreliable. If you can’t see in advance whether a crucial en-route charger is working, and even available, how can you confidently make a trip outside of the range of your car? This visibility piece is easily far more important than putting in more chargers. Though, it would help if the current crop of council chargers actually worked.

3. Current EVs are V1.0, but so was the iPhone

The Tesla and Ioniq are clearly version 1 cars and need to be seen that way. The Tesla rattles and shakes continuously (it’s definitely American not German), has been in the shop already and periodically just… turns off.

The Ioniq is built really well but has a mind of its own when charging and autonomously drives like a puppy sniffing out a new pavement.

But, the early iPhone had the same issues. It had a battery life of 5 minutes and the screen cracked if someone in the same room sneezed! These objects need to be seen through a different lens. They are better than what we have now but not as good as they eventually will be.

If I had to do 500 miles in one hit, then my old BMW would be faster and most probably more comfortable – they are on the 7th version of that car so they should be really good at it. The first version of the Tesla can’t match that level of finesse, but it’s a better car and worth buying now for what it does.

4. Pundits and policy-makers don’t understand EVs

I’m continually astonished about how little EV experience most pundits and policy-makers have, how few of them have actually driven an EV and needed to charge it up, and yet they are still making big, long term investment decisions. Funnily enough, this ends up with a series of really poor decisions that become painfully obvious when you own an EV.

The most obvious error is the “common knowledge” that removable cables are how mainstream users will charge their cars, hence the vast majority of public chargers require a driver to use their own cables. You only have to try this once on a cold, wet evening as your huge coiled cable scrapes all the filth out of the gutter and deposits it on your trousers, to realise that this assumption is ridiculous. Yet councils are still installing these devices and then wondering why nobody uses them.

5. EVs make drivers “get” the environment

EV ownership makes you see the whole EV space in a different way. It’s most probably the first and biggest environmental investment you make and it really turns you onto the subject.

My house is gabled which is no good for solar panels, and it’s not windy enough for fans, so like 99% of everyone else I had not really spent anything on being better environmentally. Sure, we recycled what we could and insulated the house, but nothing significant. Now we see the world very differently.

The EV made me look hard at the electricity bill – for the first time ever – as we needed a new account to manage the charging. The options, to be honest, were really limited but what lept out was how cheap renewable energy was, and how aligned it was to what we needed (Thank you Bulb – top job). It then became infectious to the point where I now understand electricity pricing peaks. I’m having a residential battery installed, solar panels fitted, and I’m changing the way I travel. I’ve even changed the way that my company delivers services and we now deliver more on the EV subject than anything else.

So, should YOU buy one?

Yes – stop making excuses, there is an EV that fits your needs. If you buy another fossil-burning car, you’ll have made the wrong choice.

Getting an EV will allow you to run a better car while actually making a real and measurable difference to the environment… which will make you a better person and you’ll feel better for it.

That’s a pretty good thing.

 

Article originally published on 08/05/2019 by Ben Allan via LinkedIn.

EV Adoption – Why the Answer is in French Cheese

The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) deal that went live in February may well turn out to be one of the biggest drivers of EV adoption – if you believe in the two following assumptions:

  1. EV adoption is primarily restrained by supply, not demand – I suggest that you spend 5 minutes with any Nissan Leaf salesman and you’ll be on-board with this.
  2.  EV supply will be dominated by Asian suppliers – I suggest that you spend 5 mins looking at current Japanese and Chinese production numbers and you’ll be on board with this also.

So, anything that fundamentally improves the supply of the EVs will dramatically increase adoption.

What the EPA does is balance Japan’s love of French cheese with our love of Japanese cars by removing the Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ) from both (along with other products and services). A TRQ is the standard ratcheting system that the World Trade Organisation (WTO) uses to enable open trading between countries.
Crucially, its mechanism favours the exporting of high margin products – and as most EVs are low margin they are not encouraged. With the TRQ effectively gone, Japan will be encouraged to export as many EVs as it can build. We will buy them whenever we want, and adoption will surge as supply rises to match widespread demand.

This should mean that everything is fine, right? Well, it would be if it weren’t for two key challenges:

  1. The TRQs on cars will be tapered over 7 years, so the impact is buffered.
  2. Brexit. Assuming Brexit goes through, HM Government will have the unenviable choice of either trying to mirror the EPA, improving our environment but damaging our EV industry, OR putting back-up the trade barriers thereby protecting the UK’s EV industry, but slowing down EV adoption and guaranteeing additional investment requirements.

 

Article originally published on 04/03/2019 by Ben Allan via LinkedIn.