Preparing our Towns and Cities for an Electric Vehicle Future

The UK Government recently announced a ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040. Whilst the use of Electric Vehicles and associated infrastructure and technology is no doubt growing, the announcement has accelerated the need for a real investigation into how our towns and cities can truly support Electric Vehicles, and what needs to be done to create a sustainable transport network that also embraces Smart Grid technology.

A key element of this this will be obtaining a comprehensive understanding of the as-built environment. Urban landscapes are complex places, not just physically but socially as well, and EV roll out strategies need to consider both aspects from the very beginning. In addition, we know the costs involved with upgrading energy infrastructure can be vast, so identifying the opportunities for alternative energy generation and energy sharing technologies need to be considered essential.

But where do we start? Innovative exploitation of Open Data and Digital Mapping can deliver a wide range of insights to inform and facilitate the strategy building process. At Energeo we are utilising these products, alongside in-house machine learning and automation techniques, to identify sustainable energy generation opportunities, understand Smart Grid technology potential, and even assess the road network itself for its energy generating capacity. We’re also identifying potential customers or beneficiaries of excess energy exported from the EV network.

A recent feasibility study on behalf of Bournemouth Borough Council, investigating transport network potential to generate energy, has yielded excellent results. “Solar roadways is a technology that was identified as having significant potential to generate income, support EV roll out and help achieve Bournemouth’s ambition to be a green economy leader” said David Lawrence, Energy Engineer at Bournemouth. “However, for an energy generating transport network to be a realistic concept, rather than a vision, a cost effective way to demonstrate feasibility was needed - especially when the risk involved with a new technology that is capital intensive is considered. Without the geospatially driven analysis, establishing feasibility would have been almost impossible due to the expansive nature of highways and the amount of data that would have to be assessed and gathered”.

EV’s are set to become a staple of our urban landscapes much quicker than many imagined and had prepared for. However, there are huge opportunities for both the Authorities and commercial organisations to ensure a successful and sustainable roll out.

Ian Dee, CEO - Energeo Ltd, 4th August 2017