While diesel and petrol cars are those still predominantly driving on the UK’s roads, things are beginning to change, particularly as the UK Government has recently declared that half of all new car models must be electric by 2028, ahead of a total ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol cars two years later in 2030.
This means that in just less than six years, an appropriate infrastructure must be established in order to ensure the capability of being able to deal with the rapid increase of new electric (EVs) is met. This is set to be a colossal task, especially as electric cars contributed to 16% of all new UK car registrations in March this year which was a 79% increase on the same time frame the year before.
In fact, a report released by SMMT and Public First revealed that at least 2.3 million public charging points will be needed to installed by 2030, highlighting how vital it is for businesses involved in the organisation and maintenance of the charging points to ensure that their infrastructure mirrors the growing demand while simultaneously developing and building on consumer trust.
The emerging challenge
A recent survey by Yotta of UK professionals involved in the, maintenance, installation, management supply of EV charging points reveals that more than half (58%) feel that their network will grow by 41% or more within the next decade. There is certainly a need to increase capacity, while organisations need to be mindful on the proportion of charging points that will be needed at locations like charging hubs, fuel stations, and privately-owned car parks and understand the parallel usage in order to make the most effective network decisions. Additional aspects to be taken into consideration further include the installation, relocation and upgrading or maintenance of assets in more advantageous locations like public spaces, as 29% of respondents identified in the survey.
As capacity is set to expand moving forward, network reliability will be key, along with the necessity to meet government initiates and policies as they come into play. It was found that only 47% of respondents have said that faults or issues with charging points are automatically being identified via remote device management software, with field inspectors generally being sent out to site to report back. Close to a third (31%) said that they manually schedule engineers through paper-based forms or reports, while less than half (49%) of devices and sites are monitored in real-time with the aid of technology.
Further to this, organisations typically also face challenges regarding management of the expanding network size, maintenance and repair costs, while ensuring there is a sufficient amount of engineering staff. Additionally, 25% of survey respondents acknowledged that any charge point downtime would cost over £90,000 a year. To ease the strain and avoid prolonged downtime, investment in robust asset management processes is vital.
Powering an EV infrastructure
Being able to rely on an expert trusted technology partner will assist EV charge point network providers and engineers to drive the UK towards an electric future on the roads. This could further look to involve asset lifecycle management, including the visibility of which assets are in place, their current condition and location, budgeting of assets, connecting technology and teams, and utilising data to make more informed decisions. Additionally, technology would also permit both reactive and proactive maintenance, simplifying processes and workflows and system updates.
In particular, EV charge point network providers can implement mobile applications to assign tasks quickly to network engineers while allowing updates to flexibly be received in the field. Automated workflows can also be generated and configured, saving both time and resources, while being sent to operational staff out in the field. Urgent appointments could be scheduled quickly, and data can be sent rapidly so rectifications needed to be made can happen swiftly. This all ensures a centralised management approach that removes the use of spreadsheets for data analytics and the scheduling of engineer tasks and outdated paper-based forms.
Futureproofing the network
Taking the approach of harnessing asset management effectively will assist EV charge point network providers in driving automation and operational efficiency while encouraging sustainability and growth, helping to improve both data visualisation and quality. Futureproofing of the network as market regulations and needs continue to evolve over the next few years will also be crucial, while flexibility will be needed to bring new charging points to certain locations quickly and effectively as the increase in users demand increases.
We are on the brink of the EV revolution while the Government’s looming ban of diesel and petrol cars is demonstrative of a main catalyst for EV charging point growth. The proper, relevant technology will enable further scalability of network provision while fostering improved management and upkeep of the entire network. With road users set to experience a major change in the market, this approach will certainly ensure the development of an infrastructure that drivers can count on while the well-established petrol and diesel vehicles step aside for the new.