Ford develops algorithm to suggest charging-point locations

Ford uses real-world driving data to calculate most convenient potential sites

Ford Tourneo PHEV

Data scientists at Ford have developed an algorithm to suggest the most convenient potential locations for new electric-car charging points.

The algorithm is based on over a million kilometres of real-world driving data, gathered as part of the Ford City Data Solutions Report, which was presented in December 2018.

The project saw 160 vans operating in the Greater London area fitted with a device to record journey data over an eight-month period. Over 15,000 days of vehicle use were recorded, generating more than 500 million points of data.

This was then analysed by the Ford Global Data Insight & Analytics team, in order to work out where charging-points would be most useful to fleet operators. The aim was to find points where vehicles were stopping in the course of routine movements, in order to eliminate the need for making separate journeys to recharge.

Ford's project lead for city data solutions, John Scott, said: “Electrification changes the way we drive – and refuel – our vehicles. We realise that charging time and behaviour are fundamentally different for electric vehicles compared with traditional models, where refilling with petrol or diesel may take only five minutes.

“In locating these additional charging points, we’ve attempted to take into account regular driving and stopping patterns so that topping up slots into drivers’ regular day-to-day activities.”

Transit plug-in hybrid trial

A separate trial analysed the operation of 20 Ford Transit Custom PHEV plug-in hybrid vans, finding that they operated in pure-electric mode for 35% of their time on the road. This proportion increased to 45% for Greater London and 68% for central London.

Over 80,000 kilometres of operation, the Transit PHEVs did not use public charging points, instead charging up at depots or home locations.

Ford electrifies

Ford recently announced the introduction of electrification across its range, including mild-hybrid versions of the Fiesta and Focus hatchbacks, a new Kuga SUV with the choice of mild-hybrid, full-hybrid or plug-in-hybrid powertrains, a plug-in-hybrid Tourneo Custom minibus and a forthcoming pure-electric version of its iconic Transit van.

A revised version of the Ford Mondeo Hybrid, now available in estate form for the first time, has also been introduced for 2019.