Case study of our successful collaboration with ŠKODA AUTO. We determined the optimal distribution of charging stations in the factory using the power of AI, mathematical optimization and simulation fed by the real-world data.
The automotive industry is going electric. While our long-term partner ŠKODA AUTO started to produce fully electric Enyaqs and plug-in hybrids Superb and Octavia, the electric vehicles (EVs) are being adopted in the business fleets of companies around the world. ŠKODA AUTO's own business fleet must lead by example and we were asked to help with the smooth transition. In their large factory, ŠKODA AUTO is building hundreds of charging points and wants to distribute them efficiently. And that’s where we come in to model the charging demands and outline the optimal infrastructure.
Our team had a chance to analyze historical fleet mobility datasets to predict the future demand for EV charging in the Mladá Boleslav, Kvasiny and Vrchlabí factories. Moreover, we designed the optimization models to answer the questions of how many chargers to build and where to cover the expected demand for the minimal investment cost. The charging demand models were then used in the simulation to evaluate the candidate plans for the construction of the charging infrastructure.
Visual decision support tool
Our solution does not end with mathematical models that proved to be optimal in theory, we implemented the visual decision support tool to help the management understand the complexity of the underlying trade-offs in the placement of more than 500 charging points by 2021. The visual tool allows combining the expert knowledge of ŠKODA AUTO managers with the power of AI, mathematical optimization and simulation fed by the real-world data. Without our research input, it would be difficult to find the best solution for sizing and placement of the charging stations before their actual deployment resulting in extra costs for ŠKODA AUTO. This project once again proved the undeniable value of academic insight for innovative tech companies.
Project's impact on the CTU students
Our joint collaboration with ŠKODA AUTO has a great impact on our undergrad students as well as the work on this challenge motivated topics of several graduation projects. Moreover, it allowed master and bachelor students together with Ph.D. candidates from the Czech Technical University in Prague to undertake internships in the project and gain valuable experience during studies. We cannot wait for further collaboration with our industry colleagues!