Unleashing the power of data for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure

This article shows how digital solutions can accelerate the deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. It outlines an action framework for unlocking the full potential of data sharing and digital collaboration across industries.

Published: 14 Jul 2023
Author: Thomas Deloison, Director, Transport & Mobility and Esther Perrin, Associate, Mobility Digitalization
Type: Insight

As the world moves toward widespread electric vehicle (EV) adoption, a key challenge lies ahead: deploying charging infrastructure rapidly and effectively. Solving this challenge will be essential to decarbonize transport, which has a higher reliance on fossil fuels than any other sector and accounts for a fifth of global carbon emissions. However, the companies and governments investing in charging infrastructure face significant hurdles, including high initial capital costs and difficulties related to infrastructure planning, permitting, grid connections and grid capacity development.

Data has the power to facilitate these processes: increased predictability and optimized planning and infrastructure management go a long way in easing investments and accelerating deployment. Last year, members of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) demonstrated that digital solutions based on data sharing could reduce carbon emissions from charging by 15% and unlock crucial grid capacity and capital efficiency gains.

Exceptional advances in data, analytics and connectivity are making digital solutions a potent tool to plan and manage transport, energy and infrastructure. Thanks to the deployment of sensors and the rise of connectivity,  businesses are collecting information faster than ever before, allowing for data flows between physical assets. Charging infrastructure operators, automotive companies, fleet operators, energy providers, building managers and governments collect insights on all aspects of electric vehicle charging infrastructure (EVCI), from planning and design to charging experiences at the station.

The real value of data lies in its aggregation. This will require breaking down siloes across industries and enabling digital collaboration. A digital action framework released by WBCSD, in collaboration with Arcadis, Fujitsu[1] and other member companies and partners, introduces a set of recommendations for companies and governments to realize the full potential of digital solutions and accelerate EVCI deployments:

  • Map proprietary data, knowledge gaps and digital capacity across the value chain to identify possible synergies. The highest value potential from digital solutions will lie at the nexus of infrastructure, consumer behavior insights, grid capacity and transport policy. For example, to ensure the deployment of charging stations where they will be most needed and at the right capacity level, it is crucial to plan investments within energy grid capacity, spatial constraints and local projected demand for EVs.
  • Develop internal data collection and storage capacity with due consideration for existing structures for data sharing. A variety of schemes allow actors to engage in data sharing or monetization. Yet, their use is limited by mismatched use of data standards and specification and process uncertainty. Companies must build a strong understanding of these structures internally by providing internal training and guidance, and invest in sound data collection, storage and analysis capacity.
  • Foster a policy environment that supports digital collaboration across sectors and industries. Digital policies must provide incentives and due diligence frameworks to guide data exchanges across industries and support the adoption of common standards and protocols. For instance, it will be crucial to integrate linkages with energy systems and infrastructure beyond roads in the rollout of the European mobility data space.

The WBCSD Transport & Mobility Pathway gathers companies to accelerate transport decarbonization and promote data sharing and digitalization as core solutions for the transition to sustainable mobility. Fifteen of our member companies are building a data-sharing coalition to bolster new digital solutions for the transition to zero-emission mobility.

The digital action framework is the result of combined efforts of Arcadis and Fujitsu, along with contributions from other WBCSD members, including Eaton, Enel, E-REDES, Microsoft, National Grid and Volkswagen and the partners EVBox and the Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership (GSEP).

It will be presented next week as part of the efforts to accelerate investments in zero-emission vehicles and charging infrastructure in emerging markets and developing economies during the ‘Supporting a Global Transition to Zero-Emission Vehicles’ joint Zero Emission Vehicles Transition Council (ZEV-TC)-WBCSD side event at the Clean Energy Ministerial in Goa, India.

For more information about the initiative, please contact Esther Perrin (perrin@wbcsd.org).

[1] Fujitsu Uvance

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