Electric vehicles (EVs) have a significant role to play in securing a greener future on our roads, with the transport sector alone accounting for 17% of greenhouse gas emissions in Wales.

To tackle these emissions, the Welsh Government’s 2021 transport strategy, Llwybr Newydd (New Path), identifies an approach to reducing transport related emissions. Alongside increased public transport usage, walking, and cycling, the phasing out of petrol and diesel cars in favour of EVs is an integral part of the strategy. As of 2020, ownership of EVs in Wales was lower than the rest of the UK at only 0.17%. To promote widespread adoption of EV ownership, accessible, available, and standardised public charging infrastructure is crucial.  

Responding to Wales' charging needs

Predicting what type of charging is needed, how many chargers are necessary and where they should be located, involves a complex set of variables. Our team adapted our industry-leading model based on energy, transport and demographic data to develop bespoke charging behaviour scenarios for different EV users. Using these intelligent modelling processes, we were able to help inform the design of EV charging networks across Wales with a goal of delivering 30,000 fast charge points by 2030.

The Arup team has partnered with us through the development of the strategy from understanding the current starting point, modelling future requirements and designing outcomes that achieve the vision. Their multi-disciplinary team have impressed us along the way with their technical, planning, modelling and transport decarbonisation expertise.

David Fisher

Senior Manager Business Solutions – Economy, Skills and Natural Resources, Welsh Government

Shaping the vision for EV charging in Wales 

To help deliver on Llwybr Newydd, we were commissioned by the Welsh Government to develop its ‘Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy’ and ‘Action Plan’ – the set of actions required to implement the strategy. The Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy has been created to sit within the context of Llwybr Newydd as a specialist and priority topic area.  

Our most recent work for this sector is the creation of the Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure: Welsh National Standards. These standards are aimed at public organisations, providing a common framework that supports the delivery of safe, accessible, and reliable public charging. It was created in response to some of the targets and priorities set out in the EV charging strategy and action plan. 

A unified approach to the EV charging infrastructure 

The creation of these working standards makes Wales one of the first countries to explore a unified and standardised approach to EV charging infrastructure delivery at a national level. These standards aim to help the Welsh Government to achieve its 2025 target that all users of electric cars and vans in Wales should be confident that they can access the electric vehicle charging infrastructure when and where they need it. 

Our team was guided by engagement with a range of stakeholders including Welsh Government departments, Welsh local authorities, distribution network operators and disabled motoring groups. As a result, the recommendations in the document consider the needs of all stakeholders with an interest in the EV charging infrastructure. The aspects covered in the recommendations include: the initial site selection, streetscape design (road markings, lighting, and accessibility), the energy and connections process, the operation of infrastructure, and other additional guidance to include procurement methods and asset futureproofing.  

Providing charging access to all

Some of the recommendations note that the charging infrastructure should be accessible for all users. This means that parking space layout, height and positioning of charging equipment, along with the charging signage to assist users is appropriate for everyone, including those with physical disabilities or limited mobility. It also states that there should be equal access to charging infrastructure regardless of geographic distribution and that the user experience should be consistent. Users should encounter familiar charging interfaces, procedures, and reliability wherever in the country they are charging their vehicle.  

In addition, the guidance advises that infrastructure should be future-proofed, meaning features such as layout flexibility and future electrical capacity requirements are considered that will enable the network to adapt to future expansion and emerging technologies.  

Developing an inclusive strategy 

Our team of decarbonisation advisors, data scientists, transport planners, environmental consultants, user experience specialists and economists have worked closely with Welsh Government to create an inclusive and unique approach to EV charging in Wales. The guidance and strategy work that we have delivered will directly impact the uptake of EVs across Wales, helping achieve its net zero target.