Please share your responses to the unit 7 questions here.
Unit 7 Challenges.
- Which of the four challenge categories have been or would be the most challenging for your city, and why? Which sub-aspect(s) within the category would be the primary challenge(s)?
Technical challenges seem to be the greatest problem, as more manufacturers bring products to market there is an inevitability about the diversification of approaches that will be taken. This is one reason we have not rushed headlong into providing charge points in Rotherham as the increasing differentiation of technologies has already led to a position where some vehicles currently available need dedicated charge infrastructure. Making a decision on providing public charging infrastructure at a premature stage could have led to wasting public money.
It seems impossible to rely on manufacturers to converge their technologies, so it would appear to be an intractable problem until the EU imposes a standard. This would not be retrospective and would inevitably disadvantage someone who had not purchased a conforming vehicle.
- Based on your choice from the previous question, can you think of any solutions or steps that your city could take to address the challenge?
It is clear that infrastructure investment must at the very least contain the flexibility for future modification to minimise potential costs. Future-proofing of investment is probably the best route to follow. Many of the reasons for investing in public charge infrastructure revolve around vehicle range anxiety. A look at the history of electric vehicles shows that range has doubled in a century (including a period of 60 years without any R&D work at all). It would not be unreasonable to expect modern technological advances to double range again in the next 10 years, thus reducing the need for public charge points. The best approach may be to invest in convincing people that home charging will suffice for almost all their journeys (UK government statistics suggest 93% of all trips). Getting people to have faith in the technology and learn to use it may be all that is needed. When demand increases the private sector will not be slow to take up the opportunities that the market presents. With this in mind Rotherham will probably continue to provide a small number of fast chargers whilst encouraging developers to provide household and workplace chargers at new developments. These would need to be specified to allow maximum versatility.
- Which of the four challenge categories have been or would be the most challenging for your city, and why? Which sub-aspect(s) within the category would be the primary challenge(s)? (Feel free to choose more than one category.)
- Based on your choice from the previous question, can you think of any solutions or steps that your city could take to address the challenge? (You may find it useful to go back through units 2 - 6 for inspiration.)
The following covers an overview of some of the challenges we have considered in Sunderland and how they have been solved. In most cases these situations can be applied to Cities of varying size across Europe.
The technology around electric cars and infrastructure is constantly changing and evolving, particularly with many new models of EV’s appearing on the market. A major challenge is to ensure that both EV car manufacturers and Charging Post manufacturers work together to ensure both products are compatible.
It is vital that when selecting the specification of the charging post that future proofing is considered, to ensure the posts are accessible to the majority of potential end users (the EV driver) and that the posts can easily be upgraded / updated if required.
Another key technical challenge is determining whether a suitable power source is nearby, and has sufficient capacity to meet electricity supply demands for recharging EV’s.
It is important to undertake site visits to agree locations for EV parking bays and charging equipment. Consulting with the energy distribution network operator will help determine the location and suitability of electrical supplies and more importantly establish costs.
Political and Legal Challenges:
Both these challenges are important as both can bring about unnecessary delays to programming and arranging installation works. From a legal perspective consideration needs to be given to land ownership and obtaining permission to undertake infrastructure works.
Any political challenges should be addressed at an early stage while proposals are being developed. This can be resolved through consultation with stakeholders which in most cases will be necessary to secure the budget to fund the installation of the EV infrastructure.
Economics and Finance:
A number of the Local or Municipal authorities in the UK have taken the decision to install infrastructure first (chicken and egg approach) to make locations more attractive and encourage the take up of EV’s. This has only been possible through the use of public money in the form of grants and support from central government. This situation is not financially attractive and will take time before installation costs are recovered.
The private sector needs to take a greater role in the development and installation of EV infrastructure. In public car parks income can be generated from parking charges and use of the posts on a pay as you go basis. This is a way of obtaining revenue to cover maintenance costs of the posts, but needs careful management to avoid chasing away EV drivers from using the posts.
Restrictions in Urban Planning and Development:
It is important to ensure that planning policy includes provision for the inclusion of EV charging facilities within new developments. This can be linked to the economic and financial case for increasing the role of the private sector.
Some flexibility should be included to allow for the right amount of installations depending on the location and proposed land or property use, i.e. residential or commercial premises.
Paul from Sunderland
The challenges we face are most of all political: we have a national energy agreement with the next topics:
- energy production entirely climate neutral in 2050
- final energy use 1,5 % less yearly
- final energy use 100 PetaJoules less in 2020
- renewable energy 14 % in 2020 and 16 % in 2023
- at least 15,000 jobs
Earlier ambitions were higher.
Our municipality has a new council that seems not really interested in green ambitions, so I am afraid the stimulating position our municipality had in green energy and EV will fade away.
It will be hard to approach the council on this subject as it seems interested in other items, not in EV. This is more than a pity, but I see no way to influence their agendas.
On a higher political level our region is working on a manner to stimulate the installation of charging units, but at this moment it is to early to get into details.