14 September 2023
A research study for the Commission for Climate Change (CCC)

A team from SYSTRA led by @Jordan Di Trapani and Erik Nielsen was commissioned in 2023 by the independent statutory body the Climate Change Committee (CCC) to undertake research on the differences between ‘typical’ and ‘peak’ demand for electric vehicle charging on the strategic road network (SRN) across England and Scotland. The research assessed the impact of these differences on the required levels of charging infrastructure forecast to meet demand through to 2050.

The work involved in-depth analysis of traffic flow data on along 29 English and Scottish strategic routes selected to represent a variety of journey destinations and lengths across the SRN and include existing charge point usage data. The team used the CCC’s modelling tool ‘En Route Charging Optimisation’ (ERCO), which SYSTRA had previously helped to develop, to model and determine the optimal charging network across five demand scenarios and three optimisation scenarios. Results have also been visualised through interactive appendices to accompany the report, developed by our Data Science team.

Traffic flow data and charging data for 2022 were compared for each of the routes, the peak days were selected as the top 5% days in each year. Our analysis found that there are substantial peaks in both traffic flows and charging demand above typical levels, but they do not necessarily occur on the same day. Both sets of peaks are however focused on weekends.

The research concluded that the current charging network plan which is designed to cater for typical levels of demand will not be sufficient to meet demand peaks. To achieve acceptable wait times and enable drivers to charge reliably at peak times, the network will need an additional 18% capacity relative to a typical day by 2035.

Crucially, optimising the en route charging network to meet peak demand could result in carbon savings of 1.1m kg by 2035 and 2m kg by 2050.

As more EVs enter the fleet significant charging infrastructure investment will be required to meet demands for en route charging, ensuring people are confident using their EV for longer journeys and ensuring EV uptake continues. The report also provides projections on the anticipated capital costs required and suggests that significant public investment will be required to meet charging demands whilst working with the private sector.

The report was submitted by the CCC as evidence to the House of Lords Environment and Climate Change Committee inquiry into the EV transition to meet the deadline on 15th September 2023.

The CCC was established under the Climate Change Act 2008. Its purpose is to advise the UK and devolved governments on emissions targets and to report to Parliament on progress made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing for and adapting to the impacts of climate change.

Read the full report, including key findings and the recommended actions required

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