SCALE Project – Report on city needs & challenges in integrated planning for smart charging and V2X services

This report summarises the research conducted to assess city and regional needs and challenges in integrated planning for smart charging and Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) / Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) services. The research methodology involved collecting data from 37 survey respondents and conducting 17 interviews with a total of 19 interviewees, comprising stakeholders such as city and regional electromobility decision-makers and planners, Distribution System Operators (DSOs), and Transmission System Operators (TSOs). Additionally, the report draws upon relevant city needs and challenges identified through desktop research from academic and professional sources, as well as practical case studies.

The findings reveal that both cities and regions, as well as DSOs and TSOs, lack information and guidance on integrating V2G/V2X and smart charging into planning strategies, public space, related tender procedures, the grid, and hardware and software requirements to enable the next step of advanced EV charging infrastructure. There is a clear need for validated knowledge as well as for concrete examples and best practices to support integrated planning of e-mobility and energy systems and detailed requirements for smart charging in different cities and regions.

Key needs and challenges of cities and regions identified include:

  1. Charging infrastructure deployment and strategy: Cities and regions generally have a strategy and vision for the deployment of public and semi-public charging networks on their territories. However, these generally do not always sufficiently forecast their impact on the grid. Few solutions, initiatives and pilots linked to smart charging or V2G are presented in these strategies as these are perceived as solutions for the future. Most cities and regions are focused on scaling up the deployment of market-ready charging infrastructure.
  2. Smart charging and V2G: The deployment of smart charging technologies is critical for managing the impact of EVs on the power grid. However, many European cities and regions found it difficult to bring all the stakeholders required (private operators including CPOs, manufacturers, DSOs and TSOs, other levels of governance including region and national government, etc) to the table to cooperate seamlessly together.
  3. Governance and regulation: European cities and regions governance and regulatory frameworks vary according to their maturity phase and national contexts. In some countries, like the Netherlands, there are strong national and regional initiatives to support municipalities, whilst in other countries, like Belgium or Spain, these frameworks are defined at a much more localised level. The establishment of clear and open standards for charging infrastructure and collaboration between stakeholders is highly dependent on these national contexts, however the importance of supporting interoperable, standardized, and open networks that facilitate EV users’ charging experience is widely recognised by cities and regions.
  4. Grid constraints and energy management: Many cities and regions who already have a scaling up or mature charging network are already facing the impact of EV charging. They are starting to develop strategies to shave the peak demand with or without incentives to charge at off-peak hours (e.g., night) and to test in localised streets or neighbourhoods of smart charging, V2G technologies, and energy storage systems. Their awareness of the issue is high, but just some cities have smart charging technologies adopted on large scale.
  5. Public and private sector involvement: The integration of the private sector in the public charging infrastructure varies from European contexts. Some cities, like Barcelona and Madrid, have kept the implementation, operation, maintenance and financing of the infrastructure public, while others like In Stockholm and Oslo have turned to the private or partly private. However, they recognize that the deployment of smart charging and V2G/V2X services does require collaboration between the whole ecosystem. So between public and private sectors, involving EV manufacturers, charging infrastructure providers, utilities, and other stakeholders. Every part of the chain must be present. There is a chicken-egg problem here: parts in chain wait for each other, especially when it comes to V2G.
  6. From the DSO and TSOs perspective: The research highlights the critical role of grid operators in the successful deployment of EVs, smart charging, and V2X services, as they are responsible for various aspects of e-mobility, including grid development and charger connections. Many did smart charging and V2G pilots, but hardly any have scaled those up. So overall there is not much experience there. Prognoses and grid impact analysis is identified as a guess game for some, while others are confident about their prognoses and grid impact assessment. Addressing the challenges faced by grid operators requires collaboration, policy and regulation alignment, and stakeholder engagement. Conservativeness and being highly regulated is regarded by grid operators as a challenge for keeping up the pace in all the work needed.
  7. Front running cities and regions in smart charging and/or V2G must make decisions about the future of the electricity grid in an increasingly complex environment. Faster exchange of information coming from different sources from different stakeholders (cities, electricity network operators, regions) is considered necessary to keep the quality of decisions at the right level. And to set the right priorities. A digital environment (tool) in which stakeholders can quickly and efficiently work on integrated planning, with regard to the electricity grid, is already being used by a few and is considered necessary by all e-mobility front runners in the research.


The report concludes with these recommendations to the European Commission and European cities:

  1. Accelerate and scale up the dissemination of knowledge about smart charging and V2G/V2X services, including the establishment of an online knowledge centre.
  2. Synchronise between cities and assess available digital tooling for providing a scalable European Integrated EV Mobility and Energy Planning Tool.
  3. Solve the chicken-egg problem for smart charging and V2G, for hardware and software, with the policy 'super' power of the EU to develop:
    1. smart charging requirements at European level for public and semi-public charging stations.
    2. requirements for EV models to be V2G ready, starting with high end models.
  4. Incentivize publicly accessible charging infrastructure on private land, with smart charging requirements as an additional condition.
  5. Implement stricter energy efficiency policies for electric vehicles to reduce the pressure on the local electricity grid (and meanwhile conserve raw materials for EVs, including critical minerals).

Document Details and Download

Website Source or DOI Link
Date published
28 March 2023
Publisher (Company, Organisation)
City of Utrecht
Research Project Title
Funding Reference for Project (if applicable)
GA 101056874

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