Setting electric vehicle charging fit for future; BEAMA’S Jeremy Yapp shares their document that explains how

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BRITAIN is on the cusp of a rapid expansion of public electric vehicle charging infrastructure that will support a switch from traditional petrol and diesel cars, and steps are being taken to make this possible.

Last summer, the London Mayor’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Taskforce published its delivery plan for London’s mid-decade public electric vehicle charging infrastructure needs.

The plan identified eight ‘enablers’ to help unlock the potential for meeting projected needs; one was to publish guidance on future-proofing public electric vehicle charging infrastructure to encourage investors, and this task was given to task force member BEAMA.

BEAMA is the UK trade association for manufacturers and providers of energy infrastructure technologies and systems, representing more than 200 companies, from start-ups and SMEs to large multinationals.

The result was ‘Best Practice for Future Proofing Electric Vehicle Infrastructure’, which provides guidance on how the vital upgrade of the infrastructure can provide long-term value.

Jeremy Yapp, Head of Flexible Energy Systems at BEAMA, sat down with ICON to tell about the report in more detail.

“The document is actually a description of best practice rather than formal guidance or a series of specific steps to follow”, Mr Yapp said.

“Investing in public electric vehicle charging infrastructure is complex: approaches that work well in one area may not work at all elsewhere.”

The report identifies key principles that manufacturers, planners, asset owners, installers and operators should consider at every stage of the asset’s life.

The intent is to avoid stranded or under-utilised assets and to maximise the value of what is procured and installed.

These principles fall into three broad categories:

  • resilience, including adaptability and product interoperability;
  • suitability, including planning, placement and installation;
  • connectivity, including smart charging and data security.

Mr Yapp continued: “If decision-makers are focused on maximising the value and longevity of the asset, there will be less waste, less risk and ultimately less cost.

“This will make for a more efficient infrastructure roll-out, with a better consumer experience and more market and consumer confidence in the emerging devices and services.”

In addition to these principles, the document makes four key recommendations for achieving resilient smart charge point design:

  • Charge points should follow technical requirements and specifications that allow it to be reliably operated in smart mode.
  • Smart charge points must be interoperable with a range of systems and able to respond to signals from a charge point operator (reflecting local DSO constraints), aggregator, energy supplier or other intermediate party. Electric vehicles can offer flexibility to the grid but this approach is only possible with sufficient smart-capable infrastructure.
  • Technical requirements and functionality should increase consumer acceptance and confidence in the product. The technology should be adaptable to expected and unexpected changes in use.
  • Design should support longer-term development of smart integrated operations, such as being able to upgrade or repair charge points without a site visit.

One of the central concepts of the report is future-proofing, which involves installing infrastructure that is ready for regulatory change as well as market and technological changes.

Mr Yapp illustrated the term further: “‘Future-ready’ implies smart capability and a confidence that the infrastructure will continue to meet expected future needs, or that it can be upgraded or adapted to do so cost-effectively.

“Future proofing is about getting the best out of investment, including maximising the value of assets.

“Nearly every page of this report contains an example or an idea that suggests this is best achieved by a collaborative approach, so that’s the most important thing that industry can do.

“Future-proof infrastructure will be resilient by virtue of being adaptable to changing needs and being interoperable with other parts of the charging system.

“It will be planned, deployed, installed and operated in ways that enable it to serve multiple users effectively and efficiently.

“And, where necessary, it will be part of a smart system the contributes to the flexibility and resilience of the electricity grid and manages consumer data in a way that improves the customer experience of charging – and thus improves public confidence in the electrification of road transport.”

‘Best Practice for Future Proofing Electric Vehicle Infrastructure’ can be read here