Electric Vehicles

Charge Collective

Project Data

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Charge Collective is a collaborative project aiming to demonstrate how we can work together with local authorities to plan local, public charging networks in areas at risk of getting left behind in the transition to net zero carbon emissions.

What is the project about?

We need to be ready to support charging for millions of new electric vehicles (EVs) in the 2020s. To accommodate all these new EVs, there will need to be a significant increase in the investment in the number of charge points. To deliver a roll-out of charging infrastructure at this scale, we’ll need to work really closely with Local Authorities and charge point developers.

A lack of easily accessible charge points is one of the biggest challenges for people who might want to switch to an electric vehicle. Companies that invest in new charge points face barriers too because there can be high up-front investment costs combined with a set of market, policy and regulatory failures. This means that charge points aren’t as widespread as they could be in certain areas, therefore holding back the uptake of EVs.

Charge Collective aims to develop a network solution to this problem that cuts through the market, coordination, social and upfront connection cost challenges for on-street charging. This project will design and trial an intervention to enable investment in this area in a way that is fair to customers and addresses the high connection costs currently faced by charge point developers.

How we’re doing it

We are engaging and coordinating wit local authorities and EV stakeholders to the plan the roll-out of community EV charge points, with the intention of delivering community charging at the lowest possible network cost. We aim to optimise the location of the charge points, taking into account their benefits (such as facilitating EV uptake and improving air quality) and the associated network costs. We’re completing the project in three steps.

  • Step 1 will develop a framework to decide where charge points should be installed and the level of support payments required to reduce upfront connections costs and incentive investment – both of which will be locally determined. We will engage with investors, regulators, policymakers and communities to ensure the robustness of this framework and its outputs.
  • Step 2 will then design, road-test and evaluate a method for taking the outputs of this framework to tender the support payments to charge point investors.
  • Step 3 will investigate the opportunities for flexibility services from public charging infrastructure, with an opportunity to trial specific use cases if there is justification for them.

What makes it innovative

Overcoming barriers to EV charging infrastructure investment is a critical issue. This will be the first time that we’re working directly with Local Authorities to develop a robust framework for identifying where market, policy and regulatory issues are holding back the roll-out of EVs. It will also be the first time we’ve explored the potential for EV charging flexibility for public charge points. The research developed through the project will help us understand what the future of public charging flexibility might look like.

What we’re learning

The aim of Charge Collective is to develop a framework to overcome barriers to investment in public charging infrastructure by reducing network costs and facilitating the efficient provision of upfront support to investors. The project will explore how this can be done and deliver practical tools to help DNOs cost-effectively enable charge point investment. These will include:

  • A process for engaging and coordinating with Local authorities, charge point investors and other EV stakeholders to plan the roll out of EV charge points;
  • A framework to decide where charge points should be installed and the level of support payments required (both of which will be locally determined);
  • A method for taking the output of this framework and tendering support payments to charge point investors, aimed at reducing their upfront costs;
  • An assessment of the net benefits of this approach; and
  • An assessment of opportunities for flexibility services from public charging infrastructure, by commissioning a research study to explore this potential through, e.g. an analysis of charging patterns and engaging with customers.
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