General

Where is the best place to place charging stations for electric vehicles?

A charging bay for an electric vehicle.
  • Decisions on the best locations for charging facilities for electric vehicles (EVs) are complex, as they must consider travel flow and user demand, as well as the needs of power grids.
  • Most efforts are focused on one of these areas, but a new computer model is trying to find optimal compromises.
  • It shows how powerful charging stations can be without overloading the power grid.
  • The team behind it is in talks with government officials and energy companies about developing charging infrastructure for electric cars in the US state of North Carolina.

A new calculation model can help determine the optimal locations for locating charging facilities for electric vehicles.

The model can also show how powerful the charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) can be without overloading the local power grid.

“Ultimately, we think the model can be used to guide the development of EV charging infrastructure on multiple levels, from projects aimed at supporting local commuters to highway charging facilities,” said Leila Hajibabai, assistant professor in the division of industrial and systems engineering at North Carolina State University and corresponding author of a paper on the work in Computer Aided Civil Engineering and Infrastructure

Identifying the best locations for charging facilities is a complex process, as it must take into account travel flow and user demand, as well as the needs of the regional energy infrastructure. In other words, where will people be? use it† And can it be supported by the power grid?

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“We’ve developed a model that allows planners to optimize these decisions and serve the largest number of people without straining the energy system,” Hajibabai says.

While much work has gone into implementing charging facilities for EVs, the researchers found that most previous efforts have focused on placing these facilities based on what would work best for the power system, or what would work best from a transport position.

“Very little work has been done that addresses both,” Hajibabai says. “And those cases where both power and transportation systems were looked at didn’t take into account the decisions users make. Where do they want to charge their vehicles? What are their travel plans?

“The best location for a charging point from an electricity system point of view is often not the best location from a transport systems point of view. And the best location from the user’s point of view is often a third option. Our model looks at energy systems, transportation systems and user decision-making to find the best compromise.”

The power system component of the model takes into account the limitations of the power distribution network: the power supply, voltage, current, and so on. The transportation component of the overarching model takes into account the number of travelers, the routes they take while traveling, and how far their vehicles can go before they need to be charged† To account for user decision-making, the model attempts to identify locations that minimize travel time for users.

“People often don’t want to go out of their way to charge their vehicles, so our model takes that into account,” says Hajibabai.

The researchers are currently in talks with state and local government officials, as well as energy companies, to use the model to inform the development of EV charging infrastructure in North Carolina.