Location intelligence can help companies plan their electric vehicle charging networks
January 20, 2023
A data-driven approach can provide deep insights into EV coverage and demand
Emissions-reduction mandates and legislation, tax incentives and corporate responsibility initiatives have helped encouraged large companies to adopt sustainability strategies. As more corporations set net-zero carbon targets and consumer awareness has increased, electric vehicles (EV) are also capturing more market share.
As EV adoption grows, retailers, gas stations, hotel operators, parking lot owners and others are adding charging stations and some companies are installing them for use by employees and clients. All of them want to leverage data and analytics to guide their strategy, take advantage of new federal EV mandates and develop cost-effective EV charging networks.
National support for EV charging
In 2022, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on proposed minimum standards and requirements for projects funded under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program. The proposed rule establishes the groundwork for states to build federally funded charging station projects across a national EV charging network. Federal and state governments have outlined specific U.S. highway segments that will serve as EV Alternative Fuel Corridors. These highways will provide EV drivers access to charging stations and give them the ability to drive long distances safely and efficiently.
How can companies leverage data to guide their strategy for charging stations in light of the proposed EV charging corridors? A data-driven approach using location intelligence can analyze and identify locations that would help strengthen NEVI's planned EV charging corridors. Using a combination of datasets including demographics, psychographics, mobile and electric vehicle data, Geographic Information System (GIS) analysts can understand what data points matter and where they converge to help companies optimize charging station coverage while minimizing footprint.
Three EV charging analysis strategies
EV charging location analysis is usually one of three types:
- Fleet (B2B and private network): An organization provides charging infrastructure for its vehicle fleet and employees. This charging network could include distribution center locations and areas along frequently traveled routes.
- Dedicated: A dedicated EV charging station strategy may include locations at gas stations or a facility dedicated to EV.
- Destination: This charging station strategy can include anywhere consumers congregate such as retail, office, parks and hospitals and can also utilize spaces at hotels, shopping centers and parking lots.
Dedicated and Destinations analyses use a consumer-led approach to examine where they live, work and play, along with which segments of the population are most likely to use the charging stations.
Key data points
Location analysis examines multiple data points to hone in on those that will help drive success, such as amenities, access, EV counts and demographics. For example, identifying why people stop off the highway can help companies configure which amenities to target when choosing charging sites and help build a charging network to benefit the most drivers. Analyzing utilization can help determine how many chargers to put in an area. If one charger is continually tied up for 30 minutes, that area may need more stations. For public-use chargers, it’s also useful to quantify the visibility of signage that will help determine how many customers are likely to find the site.
Identifying corridors that experience a high volume of vehicle traffic but have a low number of available chargers is another consideration. The ratio of vehicles per day to existing charging stations helps identify corridors that will have a greater need for chargers as more Americans switch to electronic vehicles. For Fleet EV analysis, it’s important to understand route optimization for last-mile delivery and proximity to customer base for ride sharing.
Suitability analysis allows EV charger providers to qualify, compare and rank sites based on how closely they meet the criteria they have set to measure success. Factors can include co-tenancy, volume of traffic—both EV and overall traffic—distance from major cities, distance between charging stations, access and visibility. These factors are indexed against existing charger locations and other potential sites under consideration to help clients prioritize their opportunities.
Market optimization helps to map opportunities for expansion with the goal of providing maximum coverage with the minimum footprint. Market optimization considers trade area urbanicity—the population density in an area—and selects the highest-scoring site suitability locations across EV corridors that do not cannibalize existing charging stations. As companies grow their charging network, they can rerun the market optimization to include new locations and competitors to minimalize trade-area overlap.
A wealth of data is available to help guide electric vehicle network strategies. Location intelligence can harness this data to maximize coverage while minimizing the number of facilities.
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