The alarming growth of urban population of 68% in the year 2050 (Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations (UN DESA, 2015), and rapid development in the fields of technology against the conventional mobility solutions have increased the urgency in the development of innovative mobility solutions. ‘Urban mobility’ is gaining significant importance in planning a smart city that delivers effectual and unbiased urban mobility problems around the world. 


Roadmap for growing charging infrastructure 

Germany alongside combating climate change is also the front runner towards being the market leaders for Electric vehicle technology. Most EV drivers charge their cars at homes or at offices, the necessity to provide public charging stations will boost the growth of the EVs. Germany’s plan of targeting one million charging stations in the year 2030 as opposed to 21000 charging stations in 2019 ( Road Traffic Technology). As a part of the 2.5 Billion Euros being dedicated for the production of the battery cell production and charging infrastructure alongside  the large players such as car manufacturers, oil majors and utilities. Cities like Munich, Berlin and Hamburg contribute to about 20% of the charging stations across Germany.  

The plan to strengthen the growth of electric vehicles (EVs) alongside providing subsidies to reduce the overall cost of the EVs, the government has now proposed introducing the requirement for all gas stations to provide charging stations for EVs. There is growing demand to provide charging stations with the increase in the new registration of the EVs (Reuters, 2020). 

Sustainable growth or Optimism? 

The plan towards transformation involves various variants to arrive at the definite solution. However the larger question still stands at “Whether the sales of the cars are required to develop adequate infrastructure or adequate infrastructure predicting the future growth of Electric cars” The soaring rise in the number of the electric vehicles in Germany is marking the long term zero-emission mobility plan. In September 2020, 21188 cars were registered as compared to August 2020 which is 16,076 (Federal Motor Transportation). This key growth suggests exponential growth but also requires a sustainable network installation of adequate intelligent charging infrastructure to ensure that electric vehicles can be charged anywhere.In order to plan installation of the charging stations and to ensure access to every citizen, an elaborate planning is required. On the other hand, to push for e-mobility, consumer-friendly business models are required. 

Having talked about elaborate planning phases, there are various methodologies and mediums one can follow. However, keeping in mind the various actors in play, various data sources and sets; capturing, visualising and analysing such data sets on Geo- Information Systems (GIS) is not only reliable but also cost and time effective. Before discussing more on GIS, it is essential to  identify the key players involved in such elaborate planning.  

Active stakeholders 

Providing optimal infrastructure for charging stations and relevant utilities for EVs requires an amalgamation of all the active stakeholder group. However identifying the key players and the subsets is a crucial step. The stakeholder map can vary as according different ideologies, however the perspective of developing a stakeholder map, in order to target the optimisation in cost and space, the following is developed: 

Fig-1: Stakeholder map developed with the perspective of optimization of cost and space. 

The diverse stakeholders required to have access to a variety of integrated data sets which enables the Smart City planners to make an informed decision about positioning the charging infrastructure. While one set of such digital data which deals with Road and associated features is being developed using Geo Information Systems the other set so called HD Maps play an important role to determine the movement of autonomous vehicles. We then also need a new set of maps, purposefully built for robotic systems as well. 

A combination of such databases is utilised to analyse various futuristic mobility scenarios and make data driven decision making for cities. 

Relevant Data Sets  

The datasets from diverse sources are often in multiple data file formats. GIS offers various possibilities to, capture (digitize), store, edit spatial and non-spatial data. GIS further is a powerful tool to analyze diverse information, provide output, and present this output on maps with various visualization possibilities. 

Visualizing, output of queries to make informed decisions in one medium is a complex task which GIS can perform with ease. The functionalities of Geo Information Systems (GIS), includes also multi-criteria analysis where aa lot of conflicting interests and solutions are to be considered. To design an optimal working system (such as determining location of the charging stations, type of the charging station, number of the charging stations, etc often involves such analysis).  

In sich analysis all relevant datasets can be divided into various clusters under criterias that define the outcome of analysing such data sets.  

Criteria Analysis 

In this section, criterias categorised under Spatial, Technological and Business Model point of view are mentioned. 

  1. Spatial Criteria:In order to plan the optimal position of the electric charging station, the data sets from: 
  • Population density 
  • Roads 
  • Transportation centres (Bus Stations, Train stations) 
  • Green areas, parks 
  • Existing charging stations 
  • Rest stops and Petrol Stations 
  • Utilities companies 

 2. Technological criteriaIn order to plan the optimal technology of the electric charging station, the data sets from: 

  • Electricity grid of the city 
  • Electricity demand of the city 
  • Low energy districts 
  • Provision for charging connectors (Normal or Rapid charging type) 
  •  Energy supply network 

3. Business ModelIn order to plan the sustainable business model of the electric charging station, the data sets from: 

  • Land ownership 
  • Cost of electricity/unit in the particular district 
  • Sales or distribution of the Electric cars 
  • Charging time based on the type of connectors (Rapid or Normal) 
  • Companies/ Housing initiatives for green energy 
  • Location of rental cars (Electric vehicles)

Availability of data 

The data sets required to develop holistic understanding to determine the parameters to develop a sustainable network of charging stations is often not available under a single department and it involves active participation in securing such data. There are various departments involved in municipality to capture, maintain, store and distribute the geospatial data.   

The data further is in various formats and it has to be compiled into one system for the various stakeholders to access meaningful information from such datasets. The role of GIS is highly effective with time, effort and usefulness. Below are mentioned data sets with relevant departments that develop such data sets that we think is highly relevant in developing a sustainable charging station network.   

Role of GIS: 

The transformative future from conventional car technologies to EV technology and Level 3 automation making the true innovation towards combating climate change. This provides ample opportunities for industries around the companies like Car manufacturers, Energy providers etc to develop innovative products, technologies and business models.  

The role of GIS companies can be drawn to analysing connections to various data sets from diverse stakeholders such as Transportation sectors, Energy Providers, Utilities (Charging station, energy suppliers) etc to visualising the optimal position for providing infrastructure. The workflow in GIS helps determine the results, based on the feasibility studies of overlapping multiple datasets (Like stated in the previous section of the article). 

Result of analysis or Outcome  

The outcome of such analysis can determine the following results: 

  • Optimal position for the charging station 
  • Alternate position for the charging station 
  • Distance between the charging stations  
  • The type of charging connectors (Rapid, fast and normal) 
  • Ideal utility partners (Energy,equipment,etc) 
  • Grid or network of charging stations 

Role of InSell GmbH 

In order to achieve the targets set to develop a sustainable EV charging station network, the role of GIS is proved crucial. InSell stands at three distinctive roles in creating the ideal sustainable network like described below: