7 February 2024

Optimile joins forces with top London university for research around electric charging stations

In a pioneering collaboration, Optimile, the Ghent-based scale-up specialising in electric charging and mobility-as-a-service and also parent company of Mobiflow, has joined forces with the renowned Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) at University College London (UCL). In the past year 2023, they conducted joint research to gain deeper insight into the use of electric charging stations in Belgium.

Unique insight into charging station usage

Optimile, with a solid market share in charging cards and charging station management software, has unique data on charging station usage in Belgium. Andras Gelanyi of UCL and lead author of the study, stresses, “These data give us a unique insight into how charging stations are used.”

Research question and usage patterns

The core question of the research was whether it is possible to characterise charging stations in Belgium based on their usage patterns. Once these patterns were identified, they were linked to spatial elements such as distance from other poles, use of space and the presence of nearby attractions. A machine learning application was then developed to predict how a new charging station at each possible location in Belgium was likely to be used.

International collaboration and future applications

Dr Maarten Vanhoof, founder of Craftzing Data, facilitated this international collaboration. He emphasises the strategic importance of the insights derived from the research: “The strategic importance of this kind of insight cannot be underestimated. I see opportunities for a wide range of stakeholders, including consumers, city planners, policy makers, fleet managers of large companies and market providers.” However, Vanhoof points out that this research is only a first step, but shows the potential for new applications of societal benefit.

Optimile’s commitment to improved mobility

Benoît Criel, CEO of Optimile, is excited about the collaboration and the results: “We have long realised that our data can be of great social benefit. With this collaboration, we are taking a first step towards better mapping the possibilities, for ourselves, as a knowledge company, for our customers and for the wider society. As Optimile, our objective remains to improve mobility in Belgium. With this collaboration, we are taking a nice step in the right direction.”

With this innovative collaboration between Optimile and London’s top university, the first steps have been taken towards smarter and more efficient use of electric charging stations in Belgium. The results predict a promising future for the development of mobility and sustainability.

Optimile aims to collaborate once or twice a year on similar projects with universities that are of interest to both Optimile itself and the academic parties involved. These collaborations provide valuable opportunities for knowledge exchange, innovation and developing new insights. In the future, Optimile is therefore keen to pursue such missions, with the aim of contributing permanently to the growth of both Optimile and the academic community. These strategic alliances are not only a source of mutual benefit, but also reinforce Optimile’s commitment to continuous progress and cooperation in relevant research and development.

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