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In the future, the high demand for EV charging is something that will need to be addressed. Despite more and more EV charging stations becoming available every day, there are still a few areas that need to be addressed until access to charging stations becomes more widespread. Location, time, and duration are three areas that could use some thought.
That’s what some researchers from North Carolina State University have been researching, and they have developed a dynamic computational tool to help improve user access to electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. The ultimate goal is to make EVs more attractive while removing some of the charging problems drivers face.
“We already know that there is a need for EV charging networks that are flexible, in order to support the adoption of EVs,” says Leila Hajibabai, corresponding author of a paper on the work and an assistant professor in NC State’s Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. “That’s because there is tremendous variability in when and where people want to charge their vehicles, how much time they can spend at a charging station, how long it takes to charge their vehicles, and so on.
“The fundamental question we wanted to address with this work is: What is the best way to manage existing charging station infrastructure in order to best meet the demands of electric vehicle users?”
To provide a solution to that question, the researchers looked at it from a user perspective and focused on what important questions EV drivers have, like: How long will it take me to reach a charging station? What is the cost of using the charging station? How long might I have to wait to access a charging station? And what sort of fines are there if I stay at a charging station beyond the time limit?
Using a game theory framework to create a complex computational model, the researchers were able to develop a technique that accounts for all of these factors. The technique was able to do two things: First, it helps drivers locate the nearest charging station to meet their needs. Second, it assists the charging station operators to determine how long vehicles can spend at a charging station to allow for access to the next driver in line wanting to charge their EV.
“These outcomes are themselves dynamic — they evolve as additional data comes in about how users are making use of charging facilities,” Hajibabai says.
With this dynamic technique, a driver looking to charge their vehicle may find that the nearest available charging facility may change if there are no available spaces at the time. Also, the total amount of time users can spend at a charging station may change from day to day depending on how many people are using different charging facilities.
“There’s no clear real-world benchmark that we can use to assess the extent to which our technique would improve user access to charging facilities,” Hajibabai says. “But in simulations, the technique did improve user access. The simulations also suggest that flexibility in when charging station slots are available was a key predictor of which stations users would visit.
“A next step would be to work with existing charging station networks to pilot the technique and assess its performance in a real-world setting.”
Holds an electronic’s engineering degree and is working toward a second degree in IT/web development. Enjoy’s renewable energy topic’s and has a passion for the environment. Part time writer and web developer, full time husband and father.

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