One of the first questions that springs to mind when considering making the switch to an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle, is ‘where can I charge it’? Despite many of the worries regarding the expense and range of electric vehicles having been put safely put to bed, there is still a concern that charge points aren’t as prevalent as petrol stations.
To address these worries, and to complement its commitment to releasing 16 fully electric vehicles within a global portfolio of 40 electrified vehicles by 2022, Ford has developed a smart algorithm based on more than one million kilometres of driving data – including where drivers actually stopped – to identify the best places to install new rapid charging points.
Ford fitted 160 connected vans with a plug-in device to record journey data, including where vehicles went, where they stopped and how long they stopped for. This generated more than 500 million data points from 15,000 days of vehicle use. By strategically placing new charging points, this will help drivers to top up their motors without having to make special trips outside of their usual routes. This will be of particular interest to delivery drivers and businesses with fleets.
John Scott of Ford Mobility commented: “Electrification changes the way we drive – and refuel – our vehicles. We realise that charging time and behaviour are fundamentally different for electric vehicles compared with traditional models, where refilling with petrol or diesel may take only five minutes. In locating these additional charging points, we’ve attempted to take into account regular driving and stopping patterns so that topping up slots into drivers’ regular day-to-day activities.”
Ford claims that its study could also be actioned in other cities besides London to help local authorities best plan for an electrified future – something that is clearly needed. According to a recent BBC article, more than a third of local authorities were found to have 10 or fewer locations where drivers can plug in their vehicles, with wide variation across the country.
At Johnsons, we welcome this new research – with more than 170,000 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles now registered, it is clear that an improved network of charging points is required.
Ford’s research is a step in the right direction – it is now up to local authorities to provide more charging points in order to support the zero-emissions driving they are actively championing. To find out more about our selection of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, click here.