The Geospatial Commission has published a report, 'Getting to the Point - Accelerating EV chargepoint rollout through geospatial data', setting out how the use of location data plays a significant role in the rolling out of electronic vehicle (EV) charging points.

Background

The Geospatial Commission is an independent expert body which advises the UK government on its geospatial strategy based on economic, social and environmental opportunities linked to location data.

The Commission set out its strategy vision in 2020 for the next five years ‘Unlocking the power of location’ which contained a programme containing four key missions: (1) promoting and safeguarding the use of location data, (2) improving access to better location data (3) enhancing capabilities, skills and awareness and (4) enabling innovation.

Most recently, it launched a consultation to explore how location data can be used across the whole economy amidst an evolving technological landscape which is seeing the expansion of cloud computing, AI and machine learning. The consultation closed on 16 December 2022 with the response to be published in due course.

Decarbonisation of the transport sector

The UK government announced that it will end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, with all new cars and vans being fully zero emission at the tailpipe from 2035. This is against the backdrop of the UK’s commitment to achieving net zero by 2050.

As a result there has been a surge in EVs, with more than 590,000 battery-powered electric cars and over 28,000 new registrations in the UK to the end of October 2022. However, in order to ensure a smooth transition to EVs, a well-structured and organised chargepoint network will be required, not just to handle the mass uptake of EVs but also to create consumer confidence in those who have not yet made the switch.

The government estimates that there will need to be at least 300,000 chargepoints by 2030 in order to meet demand. However, it is not just a case of rolling out the required amount, but more about the strategy and planning behind the deployment of insfrastructure. Location data may therefore be the key to accelerating the transformation of the UK transport sector.  

The report

The report highlights four challenges associated with the rollout of EV chargepoints and sets out how location data can help to overcome these:


ChallengeHow location data can help
1Modelling future demandUsing location data such as citizen behaviours, travel patterns has the potential to provide planners with evidence to ensure they can specifically target the installation of chargepoints, right down to street-level. This will enable the right number and type of chargepoints to be installed in the right locations at the outset, rather than making adjustments later down the line.
2Finding suitable sitesLocation data can speed up site selection by understanding energy capacity, physical site constraints, hazards and opportunities on the kerbside.
3Creating a seamless consumer experienceInnovative location data (such as opening up chargepoint data) use can create a seamless charging experience that can give drivers the confidence to switch to an EV. For example, interoperable and real-time data will give consumers the option to choose chargepoints based on availability and amenity requirements.
The Geospatial Commission uses Transport for London’s Open Data approach as an example and will track it to inform the development of products and services for consumers.
4Tracking rolloutSpatially-informed metrics can support central government and local authorities to track where rollout is meeting demand for public chargepoints. This will take into account the different needs of different areas across the UK and will ensure that the EV chargepoint network is effective for the whole country.


The key action points for the Geospatial Commission going forward are to:

  • Launch a feasibility study on how to expand access to demand modelling, to provide planners with data-driven evidence to identify how many and what types of charging points need to go where and when.
  • Explore creating a geospatial dataset for off-street parking to help planners identify suitable sites for charging stations and avoid wasted effort.
  • Help the government to make charging station data more findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR) and track how market innovators are using data to create new services that improve the consumer experience.

Read the report in full for more detail here.

If you'd like to discuss the use of location data and/or the rollout of EV chargepoint infrastructure more generally, please contact Lucy Pegler or another member of our Low Carbon Transport team

This article was written by Marija Nonkovic.