- Siemens has released a tool that helps cities forecast infrastructure needs and potential infrastructure impacts as they adopt more electric vehicles (EVs).
- The eMobility calculator can tell cities how many chargers will be needed to accommodate growth in electric buses, electric vehicles in public fleets and privately-owned cars. The tool can also forecast the impact on parking and land use.
- The tool’s launch was accompanied by a new research report titled "Powering the Future of Urban Mobility," which discusses long-term sustainability planning for cities and says projecting future transportation modes is one of the most critical topics for cities to tackle.
Even with relatively slow growth in electric vehicles, the eMobility calculator makes clear that cities need to start making infrastructure preparations now. For example, Siemens says that Los Angeles would need to install up to 100 chargers a week through the year 2050 to account for an all-electric vehicle future. By adding more EVs and electrified public transport, the city could also reclaim 720,000 square feet of land.
Cities have set lofty electrification goals, but charging infrastructure remains a barrier to widespread adoption. A 2017 report from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that it would take 600,000 non-residential Level 2 charging plugs and 8,500 fast charging stations to support sales of 15 million plug-in cars.
A February report from the think tank Next 10 and Beacon Economics found that California will continue to grow to 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles by 2025, but installation of chargers lagged behind that pace. With less than 17,000 public charging outlets at the time of the report, California had the most public chargers, but one of the lowest ratios of chargers to vehicles purchased.
Infrastructure has been a “chicken-and-egg” problem for EV sales — more chargers will help convince potential EV purchasers to get past range anxiety, but utilities and companies are hesitant to spend money installing new chargers without a dedicated customer base. By getting a more accurate projection of infrastructure needs, the Siemens tool can help cities plan what investments will be necessary — and start making them early.