On Thursday April 28th, Icebreaker One held an Innovation Workshop as part of our partnership with the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV). The project aims to close the data gaps required to roll out thousands more electric vehicle charge points across the UK by working together with industry to identify the data infrastructure needed to roll out more charge points.

Throughout the 8-week long project, we co-developed and researched a priority use case, identified relevant stakeholders, key datasets, and began to understand the challenges stakeholders face in sharing data for the chosen use case. At the end of the project, we brought together key stakeholders in a one-day innovation workshop to highlight innovations and ways to solve the challenges identified in research.

The use case co-developed through this project faces the challenge that more than 30% of households in the UK cannot install at-home EV chargepoints. This highlights the importance of affordable, public, and nearby on-street charging which requires local authorities to deliver this infrastructure in a timely, efficient, equitable and cost-effective way. 

The innovation workshop was held online to ensure representation from across the United Kingdom, and had representatives from local authorities, chargepoint operators, distribution network operators, and stakeholders specialising in the electric vehicle sector. The workshop split into five different sessions, each exploring those stakeholders’ different points of view, potential challenges, and solutions for the use case. Each session had a briefing session delving into the research for each stakeholder, then a group breakout discussion to discuss challenges and solutions in a smaller group setting. 

Toward the end of the day, there was a voting process to prioritise all of the proposed solutions so far, the top 8 solutions included:

  1. Local authorities and the UK government need to target financial aid at lower revenue regions to allow equity in on-street charging access across the UK. 
  2. Local authorities need to incorporate strategic planning, such as multimodal planning and identifying on-street chargepoints in locations at the intersection of different transportation modes (trains, buses, taxis, car shares).
  3. Hold forums at the local and national level to promote collaboration and to allow for currently siloed stakeholders to convene to share and understand best practices.
  4. Promote proactive engagement between chargepoint operators, suppliers, distribution network operators, and local authorities. Such as having a model to which stakeholders can feed in desired chargepoint locations, constraints and capacities to allow stakeholders to check relevance then contact the appropriate stakeholders for tenders and contracts. 
  5. Develop a policy and strategy template kit to assist local authorities to plan for and develop chargepoint plans to avoid reinventing the wheel, and allow best practices to be collated. 
  6. Have one central place where distribution network operator data and other relevant electric vehicle data are available and accessible by all stakeholders. Often local authorities do not know the sources of data available, and one central place would make it easier. 
  7. Upskill local authorities with the technical skills to make use of and translate data as needed when developing on-street chargepoint plans. 
  8. The UK should require operators to be Open with their data to be easily accessible by local authorities. 

These proposed solutions are the culmination of the Icebreaking process, convening stakeholders to unpack a collaboratively agreed use case. This ensures the solutions are focussed on the real challenges stakeholders face in their work. By culminating in an innovation workshop, stakeholders are able to come together to collaborate and prioritise solutions to solve the challenge at hand. 

The research, insight, and solutions developed through the innovation workshop are now being incorporated into the future work of the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles and the Department of Transportation. 

Head of the Department for Transport’s Office of Zero Emission Vehicles, Natasha Robinson, said: “Data is at the heart of achieving our vision for electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, and is central to policy decision-making at all levels of Government. 

“To support local authority planning and help EV drivers navigate the charging landscape, Government will be regulating later in 2022 to open public EV chargepoint data. Our technical work to open this data is already underway, and we look forward to working with Icebreaker One to ensure that the data needed by the energy sector is made available to help EV drivers plan their journey and charge with ease.”

If you want to get in touch, you can contact us at icebreaking@ib1.org