Businesses setting out to electrify their depot-based vehicle fleets can now put their plans in the fast lane, thanks to an industry-first tool developed by UK Power Networks.
In a first for the industry, UK Power Networks has launched a new tool as part of the world’s largest electric fleet trial, revolutionising the process of going electric for businesses across the UK.
Optimise Prime is an innovation project helping find practical solutions to overcome the challenges fleet operators face when going electric. Royal Mail, Centrica and Uber now have over 6,000 Electric Vehicles (EVs) taking part in the project, in partnership with UK Power Networks and Hitachi.
As part of the project, UK Power Networks has developed a ‘site planning tool’ making it quicker and easier for fleets to make the switch to EVs. A simple online system, it has been designed for any fleet manager to assess how to go electric at the lowest cost.
Electrifying a fleet is a complex process. Managers must consider what vehicles are needed on which routes, when they are needed and where there is space to charge. By inputting information such as vehicle schedules, mileage and site energy profiles, the tool easily compares different scenarios to understand the impact of going electric and the benefits of using smart charging.
The tool also checks if a site needs an electricity connection upgrade, or if a fleet can operate on the existing connection. As a result, distribution network operators have a better understanding of customers’ needs, reducing the need for costly, time-consuming upgrades and ultimately accelerating the uptake of electric vehicles in the transition to net zero.
Ian Cameron, Head of Customer Services and Innovation at UK Power Networks, says: “Most fleet managers have a busy operation to run, so we want to make sure switching to EVs is just as easy and cost effective as buying any car or van. The Site Planning Tool has transformed this process for businesses across the country. Helping fleet managers understand exactly what it will look like to run an electric fleet, what is involved and the cost saving benefits of smart charging is a vital step to helping businesses go electric.”
Michael Wilmshurst, Fleet Business Development Manager at Novuna Vehicle Solutions comments: “UK Power Networks’ tool is straightforward to follow and supported with some good literature. In particular, the scenario results were really interesting and I particularly liked the interactive graphs, which helps me to work out different scenarios on the optimum charging strategy to discuss with my commercial fleet clients, as they transition to electric vehicles.”