Driving towards an all-electric future
The EV transition is gathering pace, and the question has turned from if to when uptake will reach a tipping point - current industry studies suggest that this is likely to occur between 2025 and 2035.
Our clients are seeing the transition of their fleet to EVs as an opportunity to develop their reputation and corporate social responsibility, support the reduction of vehicle running costs and meet their business sustainability targets. The UK EV and charging infrastructure market has strong government support with a new £400m fund, as well as £100m in extra funding to support the current grants for hybrid and electric.
Electric vehicle implementation has now become one of the core sustainability strategies for the majority of organisations. Whether businesses are switching to pure-electric, range-extended electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles, an important consideration is the development of both the electricity network and EV charging infrastructure to support their transition ambitions.
Businesses typically need to consider the use of on-street, off-street, en-route, depot, or destination charging infrastructure as part of any transition strategy. The development of charging infrastructure on site could be cost prohibitive if not considered early in the EV transition planning process.
In developing charging infrastructure at a site, understanding the projected EV load, existing connection capacity, energy costs and security, and phasing of the infrastructure investment are key considerations. This is essential, especially given that a fleet of 20 3.5 tonne electric vans can double the annual energy demand of an average small depot.
These challenges can be overcome through:
• Active network management to minimise network reinforcement
• Energy storage and on-site generation to reduce costs
• A staged infrastructure investment approach
• The change in capital and operational expenditure mix, and an appropriate funding mechanism
• Opportunities for income from the aggregation of assets – for example, V2G
• Long-term maintenance and asset management of the asset
The benefits of this multi-faceted approach is that businesses can build the infrastructure now and easily adjust their strategy as further innovation opportunities emerge, the EV and charging infrastructure market matures, and their business requirements change.
When working with our clients, we encourage taking a long-term approach to optimise and integrate charging infrastructure and ultimately deliver commercial, sustainability and fleet ambitions.
With the right EV Infrastructure strategy, commercial and public sector enterprises can gain competitive advantage, lock in value and achieve their low emission transport ambitions with close to zero-marginal cost.
Kieran Coughlan is business lead for electric vehicle infrastructure at UK Power Networks ServicesUK Power Networks Services