Increased adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is a priority of California’s decarbonization strategy, as transportation is one of the largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions. To accelerate the adoption of EVs, hundreds of thousands of publicly available curbside EV charging stations are essential. But where should these charging stations be built, and how quickly and cost effectively can the EV infrastructure be scaled?
Arup collaborated with the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) and three leading energy utility companies to assess the curbside EV charging infrastructure landscape in Southern California. Already a fixture on some public right-of-ways, a greater network of curbside EV chargers would be able to provide much needed charging opportunities for those that do not have access to at-home charging, particularly residents of multi-unit dwellings and commercial fleet vehicles.
Over the span of a year, Arup reviewed the experiences that utility companies, municipalities, and agencies faced when deploying public curbside EV charging infrastructure and translated that experience into opportunities for faster, more cost-effective, and equitable deployment. Arup was then able to develop a geospatial site suitability software, Charge4All, which will ultimately streamline the deployment of public charging points.
5million EVs expected in California by 2030
94,000EV chargersneeded in Los Angeles by 2045
20+data setswith 45+ GB of data
Establishing a knowledge framework
Arup conducted interviews and group discussions with Burbank Water and Power, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, Southern California Edison, and various City of Los Angeles departments and other important stakeholders to identify challenges and opportunities. The interviews covered topics such as maintenance and operations, community engagement, and funding. Using the findings collected during these interviews, Arup outlined key challenges, including governance, reliable and cost-effective site selection criteria and data analysis, installation and maintenance, and lack of community engagement. Arup also distilled solutions, including in the areas of cross-departmental coordination, knowledge sharing, and the ability to leverage public and private data.
The knowledge is now, and the time has come to accelerate public charging to serve the full breadth and need of our communities. ”Cole Roberts Principal
Using GIS to determine site suitability
A major challenge in deploying public EV charging is where to physically build out the network. Due to a lack of centralized accessible data and inconsistent criteria, site selection has traditionally been done on an ad hoc case-by-case basis and is often supported by in-field inspection, making deployment difficult to scale.
To address this barrier, the Charge4All project team created a GIS web-based solution that streamlines the process by synthesizing geospatial data and enabling in-office evaluations. The tool also accelerates the filtering of sites, leading to a reduced need for site visits and time-consuming data and analysis.
The tool uses geospatial data to determine a site’s suitability for EV charging, displayed in a digital dashboard. A high-level analysis helps early-stage priority distribution for those trying to identify suitability on a regional scale. Based on the stakeholder’s goals, various overlays can be considered, including dense areas of multi-unit dwellings, equity, vehicle miles travelled (VMT), and more.
Another level of analysis takes a more detailed look at the curb level conditions to explore on-the-ground suitability. Some of the many criteria used includes curb limitations, proximity to electrical infrastructure, road types, and proximity to places of interest.
Our collaboration with the Los Angeles CleanTech Incubator reflected a joint interest to more equitably and effectively deploy curb side charging infrastructure. The result of our research partnership will benefit diverse communities throughout Southern California and improve the decision-making process. ”Katherine A. Perez LA Cities Leader
Ensuring equitable outcomes
Arup provided a strategy that would extend the benefits of EV charging infrastructure to all communities, including low-income and disadvantaged neighborhoods. The strategy supports multifamily dwellings where residents may not have a garage or a place to install charging stations, with the aim of developing infrastructure to enable more EV ownership across diverse demographics. The strategy also encourages early and effective community participation and ongoing communication to address concerns that EV charging infrastructure will lead to a loss of general parking spaces in communities.
Ultimately, a higher adoption of EVs also leads to better air quality. This benefit will mitigate the health effects faced by many communities that disproportionately suffer from poor air quality as a result of particulate emissions from cars and trucks.
The Charge4All site suitability tool helps streamline what traditionally has been a time-consuming process in determining site selection. With a convergence of data in one dashboard, our clients can better make informed decisions aided by a digital format that reduces the need to go on site. This is tremendously useful as Los Angeles is experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic. ”Sam Lustado Senior GIS Analyst
The Arup Journal 2022 Issue 1
Learn more about our work on Charge4All, MX3D Bridge in Amsterdam, our Great Barrier Reef Islands decarbonisation study, the Keyn Glass regenerative land management approach, The Ridge in Cape Town and M+ Hong Kong’s iconic new museum of visual culture.Download