Planning for Electric Vehicles

Planning for Electric Vehicles


M Croucher, G Higgs, MVA Consultancy, UK


An introduction to recommendations provided to Transport for London and London Boroughs on a range of EV issues, including charging point requirements at new developments and key considerations for local EV strategy and public facing policies.


After an initial flurry of sales following the introduction of generous government subsidies in 2011, the uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) in the UK has seemingly stalled - or rather, gone flat. With similar outcomes evident across Europe.

As with any new technology there are no shortage of issues to overcome before it can be successfully integrated within a complex transport network, one that has already had to continually adapt to technologies, sometimes on medieval street patterns and with Victorian infrastructure.

But it would be premature to pen any obituaries for EVs just yet. They remain a technology with a great potential for addressing many of the challenges which lie ahead this century - including climate change, "peak oil" and international fuel security. As such they have attracted considerable backing from Governments around the world, while manufacturers have also bet big on the eventual take off of EVs.

London is amongst the frontrunners globally in its attempts to cultivate mass market usage of EVs, and last year successfully launched the rapidly expanding pan-London charging network - "Source". This paper introduces the findings and recommendations we have provided Transport for London (TfL) and London Boroughs on a range of EV issues over the course of the last two years.

The paper begins by summarising the findings of research that served as the evidence base for new EV parking standards within the Mayors London Plan. These standards have been adopted as the formal guidelines for the number of EV charge points (EVCP) to be provided within new developments across London.

The paper emphasises the need to interpret from an array of EV uptake forecasts, a series of place specific and credible scenarios: mindful of the motivations behind each forecast. This is followed by an assessment of how the demand for EV charge points might vary across different land use types. Residential charge points where vehicles are typically parked the longest are ideally suited for the charge periods required, and enable efficient off-peak charging, whilst charge points at retail outlets serve a different role in tackling range anxiety.

We then go onto to present the findings and recommendations we provided to London Boroughs, concerning the development of local EV strategies and public facing policies. As part of these studies we explored the implications of EV infrastructure strategies in terms of capital and operating costs, their impact on parking capacity and local parking revenues, and electricity costs - key concerns amongst sceptical decision makers in times of austerity.

As the roll out of EV infrastructure continues to gather pace, new mass market EV models are launched and the uptake of EVs picks up, it becomes all the more important for local authorities to be able to offer constructive support and a clear direction of travel for local EV policy.

A key area so far largely overlooked by national and local government policy has been how prospective EV buyers without off-street parking will access a charge point. A consideration made all the more relevant given many of the early EV hotspots are likely to be focused around urban centres where off-street parking is limited. Our paper concludes by discussing the key considerations in developing a credible local policy and planning environment to support future EV growth.

Research Study for TfL - EV recharging facilities at new developments (Jan-Sep 2010); The recommendations specified through this study informed the requirements adopted as statutory planning guidance in the new London Plan, and formed the evidence base for the London Plan Examination in Public process. We derived these standards by determining demand-based thresholds for electric vehicle usage for which different standards on provision would apply.

Ealing Electric Vehicles Strategy (Nov 2010-Aug 2011); The study began by assessing in an Ealing specific context the likely ranges of EV uptake, including an assessment of MOSAIC data and existing Hybrid vehicle ownership to identify pockets of likely 'early 'adopters'. 'Do Minimum', 'Do Something' and 'Do Maximum' scenarios were developed to assist the Borough in understanding the benefits, financial implications, technological and legal risks.

Ealing Electric Vehicle Policy (Apr 2010-Dec 2011); The aim was to develop a robust EV Policy for the Borough that would promote EV take up, and enshrine a fair and transparent process for EVCP installations. The Borough was amongst the first in London, and therefore internationally, to develop a comprehensive EV policy. In developing the policy, MVA have formulated solutions for many issues that had not previously been identified or tackled given the infancy of the technology.


Association for European Transport