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Charge Collective

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.

Project-on-a-Page summary

Project data

Start date: 01/08/2020
End date: 30/04/2020
Budget: £843,640

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 not be a significant increase in the investment in the number of chargepoints. To deliver a roll out of charging infrastructure at this scale, we’ll need to work really closely with Local Authorities and chargepoint 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 market, co-ordination, 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 chargepoint developers.

We are engaging with and coordinating Local Authorities and EV stakeholders to the plan the roll-out of community EV chargepoints, with the intention of delivering community charging at the lowest possible network cost. We aim to optimise the location of the chargepoints, 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 chargepoints 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, policy makers 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 chargepoint 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.

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.

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 to cost-effectively enable chargepoint investment.  These will include:

  • A process for engaging and coordinating with Local Auhtorites, chargepoint investors and other EV stakeholders to plan the roll out of EV chargepoints;
  • A framework to decide where chargepoints 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 chargepoint 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. analysis charging patterns and engaging with customers.

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