In 2016, the sale of electric vehicles in Belgium increased by almost 50 percent. The European Union expects that electric vehicles can be mass produced by 2020 and a breakthrough will follow shortly after. Will we all drive electric by 2025? What does this imply for our future? Together with 9 international partners, IMOB simulated a mass transition to electric vehicles and conducted research on its impact on the transportation and electricity distribution network within the European project DATA SIM. Will the street lights for example go out because of an energy shortage, when too many vehicles are charged at the same time? Which time of the day is recommended to charge the battery?
Advanced data collection
Until now, most transportation researches were based on the input of participants: road users kept a diary, noted their trips and filled in questionnaires. For the first time, different science domains (datamining, database management, complex systems, transportation, energy and computer sciences) were brought together to develop solutions within a project having ‘transportation’ as primary goal. GSM and GPS traces were used to collect real-time registered time-space information. This approach assured more accurate data and thus a more accurate research result.
Tracing weak points in electricity distribution network
Researchers mapped the transportation behaviour of Belgians. Where do you go to and which distance do they cover? Where do they charge their batteries? In which areas increases the need of energy and thus the risk of a possible energy shortage? With such insights, we offer policy makers useful information to strengthen the network in certain areas and to redesign existing charging points.
Smarter electricity grids
A fluctuating electricity production is one of the main challenges for renewable energy. Within DATA SIM, IMOB and its consortium partners examined how energy surpluses, generated in peak periods, can be stored in the batteries and – if necessary – can be traced back to the network.
The DATA SIM project received an ‘excellent’ rating, which was awarded by a jury of experts during the final review meeting in Pisa on October 11, 2014.