Electric Vehicle Fast Charging Needs in Cities and along Corridors


Fast charging is seen as a means to facilitate long-distance driving for electric vehicles (EVs). As a result, roll-out planning generally takes a corridor approach. However, with higher penetration of electric vehicles in urban areas, cities contemplate whether inner-city fast chargers can be an alternative for the growing amount of slow public chargers. For this purpose, more knowledge is required in motives and preferences of users and actual usage patterns of fast chargers. Similarly, with increasing charging speeds of fast chargers and different modes (taxi, car sharing) also switching to electric vehicles, the effect of charging speed should be evaluated as well as preferences amongst different user groups. This research investigates the different intentions and motivations of EV drivers at fast charging stations to see how charging behaviour at such stations differs using both data analysis from charging stations as a survey among EV drivers. Additionally, it estimates the willingness of EV drivers to use fast charging as a substitute for on-street home charging given higher charging speeds. The paper concludes that limited charging speeds imply that EV drivers prefer parking and charging over fast charging but this could change if battery developments allow higher charging speeds.

Fast charging has mainly been considered as a means to accommodate long-distance driving for electric vehicles. Many roll-out strategies, therefore, focus on a corridor approach. However, with increasing fast charging rates (from 50 kw to 350 kw), the time needed for fast charging approaches fossil fuel refuelling times. Such rates may possibly reduce the need for slow (level 2) charging stations especially in urban areas. These slower charging stations have a significant impact on public space and their business case is difficult due to lower charging speeds and, therefore, lower charge volumes. This provides a need for a better understanding under which circumstances fast charging may provide a realistic alternative to level 2 public charging. Additionally, modalities such as taxis and car sharing are also switching to electric vehicles. They will make use of the same fast charging infrastructure. Such modalities have different usage patterns and also, therefore, different needs for fast charging.

Policy makers and charging point operators are struggling with the roll-out of fast charging stations as they are unaware of the intentions of those using fast charging infrastructure. Usage patterns of fast charging stations and level 2 charging stations differ, suggesting different intentions of electric vehicle (EV) drivers for recharging. For slow level 2 charging infrastructures, the intentions can be derived from charging patterns, such as the time of day and location, but for fast charging, this is more ambivalent as variation is low. Analysis of level 2 charging behaviour shows the spatial World Electric Vehicle Journal 2019, 10, 45; doi:10.3390/wevj10020045 www.mdpi.com/journal/wevj World Electric Vehicle Journal 2019, 10, 45 2 of 13 heterogeneity is relevant. Although various articles have looked into fast charging patterns, so far a systematic evaluation of the differences in intentions of EV drivers between fast charging in the city and along corridors is missing. Such information is crucial for an efficient roll-out strategy to be able to make decisions about the speed and dimension of both level 2 and fast charging installations.

Reference Wolbertus, R., & Van den Hoed, R. (2019). Electric Vehicle Fast Charging Needs in Cities and along Corridors. World Electric Vehicle Journal, 10(2), Article 45. https://doi.org/10.3390/wevj10020045
1 June 2019

Publication date

Jun 2019


Robert Van den Hoed


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