Ecotricity: An Optimal Investment Decision for Electric Highway Expansion
Ecotricity Group Ltd., founded in 1995, had grown to be a major renewable energy utility service provider in the United Kingdom. In 2016, the company wanted to expand its "electric highway"-a network of charging stations for electric vehicles along major U.K. motorways. The expansion plans involved two chargers: Type A chargers, installed in public locations along the motorway, and Type B chargers, installed in suitable home garages owned by Ecotricity customers. To meet the projected traffic flow of electric vehicles in the future, the company needed to optimally expand the number of both types of charging points in each highway zone.
This case uses integer programming to determine the optimal number of Type A and Type B chargers that Ecotricity should install to expand its electric highway. The solution is obtained by using Microsoft Excel Solver and interpreting the results. The case also provides a platform for discussing optimal investment strategies, and for considering another topic not emphasized extensively in the case-how an operational strategy affects image building. Magesh Nagarajan is affiliated with Coventry University. Kanaka Balasubramanian is affiliated with Chetana's Institute of Management & Research. Jagannadha Tamvada is affiliated with University of Southampton.