Urban Foresight has been commissioned to provide expert advice on business models for innovative new electric vehicle filling stations in North East England.

The project follows a successful bid to the Office for Low Emission Vehicles Go Ultra Low City Scheme, which secured £1.5million to establish electric vehicle filling stations. Combined with UKCRIC funding allocated to Newcastle University, and a further application for ERDF funding, the full programme will see the establishment of two ultra-low filling stations in the cities of Newcastle and Sunderland, and a series of rapid charging clusters across the wider region.

Urban Foresight was commissioned by the North East Combined Authority (NECA), which represents seven local government authorities in the region of North East England. The contract was awarded through a competitive process and will include analysis of suitable business models, covering the design, build, operation, ownership and disposal of the assets.

The study will consider the value for money offered by different business models and how operating contracts should be set-up to facilitate sustainable operation and encourage future investment. This includes guidance on compliance with State Aid and the use of European Structural and Investment Funds. It will also assess the impact of different business models on stimulating uptake and demand for electric vehicles amongst individuals and private businesses across North East England.

As part of this work, Urban Foresight will also advise on the potential to design the filling stations to accommodate innovative technologies such as energy storage, renewables and bi-directional charging. This will support Newcastle University’s research on electric vehicles and energy networks, with plans to connect a filling station in Newcastle to a smart grid demonstrator at the city’s Science Central site.

Urban Foresight’s Project Director Rachel Beeton said: “We are delighted to be working with NECA on this innovative project. It is particularly pleasing to bring expertise developed on EV and smart city infrastructure projects around the world to a project in our home region. With one of the filling stations planned to be located beside our HQ office in Newcastle, it will be particular thrill to see our work support this exciting new development.”