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UKPN launches Charge Challenge to find EV ‘hotspots’ of the future

The DNO is forecasting a 10-fold increase in the uptake of EVs over the next decade.

The DNO is forecasting a 10-fold increase in the uptake of EVs over the next decade.

UK Power Networks (UKPN) has called on both those in the electric vehicle industry and those outside of it to predict when and where the next generation of chargers should be.

It has launched the ‘Charge Challenge’, calling on people to identify charging ‘hotspots’ by using the network operators' Distribution Future Energy Scenarios (DFES) data along with other open data sources.

This work is generally undertaken by the Distribution Network Operator’s (DNO) in-house data team, to allow the company to best plan for the future. But now it is calling for a more collaborative approach, following the launch of its Open Data page in March, as it pushes for more data sharing.

Ian Cameron, head of customer services and innovation at UKPN, said: “We are determined to push boundaries and create a culture of open innovation and data sharing to facilitate the net zero revolution.

“We’re launching this challenge because to be truly innovative we can’t do this alone – we want to co-create this open data sharing environment with interested parties from across the board to come forward and help us lead the charge.”

Those interested in taking part must submit, by 20 July, a report that outlines how they processed the data and their predictions for where EV chargers will most be needed.

UKPN will then judge these on the methodology used, which other data sources were tapped into, and the validity and creativity of the report.

The DNO is forecasting a 10-fold increase in the uptake of EVs over the next decade, which would bring the number of vehicles on roads in London, the South and the South East to 3.6 million.

With such a surge, the number of EV chargers will need to increase dramatically and will require DNO’s to invest strategically.

Such predictions are reinforced by a report produced by energy market consultancy Delta-EE this week, suggesting the EV charger market is set to see a 29% year-on-year increase in sales through to 2030.

The sale of EVs has been one of the least affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the strength of the sector. Battery electric vehicles (BEV) outsold all fuel types except petrol cars in April 2020 as the new car market saw sales plummet -97.3%. This meant that for the first time, BEVs outside an internal combustion engine vehicle category scooped 32% of the market.

The winner of UKPN’s Charge Challenge will receive a free iPad Air, along with the opportunity to work with the company’s data team in the future as it develops EV charger methodology.

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