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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.

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.

BookingBug Selected to Power Appointment Booking for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office

European Court of Justice ruling: What it means for field teams & what you need to do