At the final ASSURED conference we discussed with various actors from the e-mobility field the vision of interoperable and shared charging infrastructure that can be used by various sectors and fleet operators.
Anticipating the wider electrification of vehicles in the coming years and, correspondingly, a heavier burden on the grid, it is considered indispensable to utilise existing and yet to be installed charging infrastructure in the most effective way. Effectiveness needs to be understood both from a financial dimension so to lower the upfront investment costs and Total Costs of Ownership (TCO) but also from a space dimension. As we will witness an increasing electrification not only of cars and buses but also of logistics vans, freight trucks and utility vehicles in the near future, corresponding charging infrastructure will be needed, also in public spaces, so to ensure viable fleet operations. As there are already many conflicts for space in the public realm, charging infrastructure and necessary electrical equipment should be as little intrusive and space-demanding as possible.
At the final ASSURED conference, we discussed with various actors from the field the vision of interoperable and shared charging infrastructure that can be used by various sectors and fleet operators.
As it was demonstrated already within the ELIPTIC, the multi-purpose use of infrastructure poses an interesting business case especially for public transport operators as the grids are usually over-dimensioned and energy surpluses exist. Against the background of the expected larger uptake of electromobility in the coming years, these grids are valuable assets that public transport operators can use to also become energy providers for non-rail-bound electric vehicles. See here:
In ASSURED we have now taken the next step towards maximising the utilization of public transport resources and infrastructures by assessing how to best prepare for the charging of other heavy-duty and fleet vehicles and what operational models could look like. The business model requires the sound and informed planning of charging infrastructure and makes it necessary to closely cooperate across a wide variety of actors. This comprised inputs from city authorities, regional public transport authorities, grid & public transport operators as well as the freight & trucking industry.
Our key take-aways from the session are:
• A favouring regulatory framework to improve synergies among actors (grid/DSO, bus & other fleet operators) in terms of energy supply and exchange is an absolute essential. Whenever charging infrastructure is subsidized, the use by additional users should be granted
• Currently, (public transport) fleet operators are focused on ensuring the reliable and safe operation of their service. As battery capacities and charging powers are increasingly rising and chargers will be needed to a lesser extent in the future, operators will be more open to the idea of sharing their charging infrastructure with other users.
• How to grant fair and just access to the grid will pose a major challenge for grid operators and decision-makers. Local and regional authorities already need to assess existing grid capacities, forecast future grid needs and anticipate that some services might need at certain times prioritised access to the grid (e.g. public transport & other key public infrastructures)
• In the identification and planning of new charging stations a close collaboration of grid and bus operator but also public authorities is beneficial to find the most cost-effective location in the grid while at the same time ensuring as little intrusion into the public realm and even allow for synergies with other fleet operators.
• What type of charging infrastructure will be needed in the future for heavy-duty trucks and utility vehicles yet remains to be seen. However, even if charging solutions will differ to the ones used for public transport (e.g. panto-up, panto-down, plug), other electrical equipment & grid infrastructure can be utilised by other fleet operators.
More details on this business case and further results from the ASSURED project will be shared soon. Stay tuned!
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