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World's biggest commercial electric vehicle project announced in UK

01/12/2018

Funding approved for industry-led Optimise Prime project to test the end-to-end impacts of the rollout of commercial electric vehicles and develop innovative solutions to accelerate the EV transition

LONDON, 00:01 GMT, Friday 30th November: The world's biggest trial of commercial electric vehicles (EVs) has been given the green light by UK energy regulator Ofgem, bringing together leading power, technology, fleet and transport companies to test and implement the best approaches to the EV rollout for commercial enterprises.

With businesses buying 58% of all new vehicles in the UK, it will be commercial vehicles that determine the speed of the transition to low carbon transport.

This three-year innovation project will come up with practical ways of overcoming the up-front costs that are currently holding back many of the country's biggest commercial vehicle operators from making the switch to EVs.

Led by global data technology solutions provider Hitachi Vantara and electricity distributor UK Power Networks, the trial will see up to 3,000 electric vehicles from Centrica, Uber and a large UK depot-based parcel carrier take to the road, supported by distributor Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, Hitachi Europe and Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions.

The project will deliver an end-to-end overview of what the switch to EVs means for the cables and substations that deliver electricity to the community, for the businesses that need to invest in new infrastructure, and for the end users that need to power their vehicles. It is intentionally vehicle agnostic and includes depot, home, and on-the-road charging scenarios.

Using large, real-life datasets and Internet of Things technologies, the project will create a detailed picture of the demands of electric fleet and private hire vehicles. This will make it possible to develop solutions that cut the cost of owning and running electric vehicles, such as charging EVs outside the electricity network's peak times.

Electric vehicle technology has now reached a maturity where the vehicles themselves are ready for day-to-day and long-distance commercial use. However, moving the energy source for transport from combustion engines is not something the electricity grid was designed for, whether charging happens in concentrated locations - such as depots - or is widespread at employees' homes or in public places.

The UK's big commercial vehicle operators must overcome several obstacles before they adopt electric vehicles on a large scale - all the way from the up-front capital hurdle to managing charging times.

Network operators, meanwhile, need to get a better understanding of the impact of commercial EVs on the country's electricity grid. They are also looking to understand whether these vehicles can support the electricity network and help keep costs low for customers by discharging during peak times and recharging off-peak.

The project is also vital if the UK wants to meet its carbon reduction targets. The accelerated adoption of commercial EVs will save 2.7m tonnes of CO2, equivalent to London's entire bus fleet running for four years[1] or a full Boeing 747-400 travelling around the world 1,484 times[2]. The flexibility provided by the project will also free up enough capacity on the electricity network to supply a million homes[3].

Electric cars and vans must increase from 1.7% of new car sales today to 60% by 2030[4]. Around 3,000 electric vehicles will take to the roads in Greater London as part of project Optimise Prime to gather vital information that will help the UK to prepare for and speed up the transition to a greener and more efficient future.

The project will launch early 2019. Following a programme design and build phase, the first Optimise Prime vehicles will be on the road during the second half of 2019. The test area will include a range of urban, suburban and rural scenarios across the South East, South Central and East of England.

Shirley Rodrigues, the Deputy Mayor of Environment and Energy says: I welcome this ambitious project which will support the work of the Mayor's Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Taskforce and proves the wider roll out of electric fleets is both essential for cleaning up toxic air quality and vital to the good growth of our city. I'm pleased that trials begin early next year shortly before the 24 hour Ultra Low Emission Zone is introduced in April 2019 in central London.

To help the wider industry prepare, the largest cross-industry datasets on commercial EV charging and use will be shared openly.

18 million will be funded through partner contributions, and an additional 16.6 million will come from Ofgem via its Network Innovation Competition. Ofgem's funding will deliver total savings of more than 200 million - equivalent to 12 times the funded amount - in benefits to UK electricity customers.

Ends

Press contact:

Edelman for the Optimise Prime consortium

Marianne Fekene

Tel: +44 (0)7807093267

Email: OptimisePrime@edelman.com

Notes to editors:

Project roles:

The project will be led by Hitachi Vantara, which will design, build and operate the project's IoT platform called Lumada, and will oversee delivery across all project workstreams, supported by Hitachi Europe Ltd.

Hitachi Capital's Vehicle Solutions division will input into the project methodology and advise on the applicability of solutions to the wider commercial vehicle market.

UK Power Networks will support Hitachi in the management and governance of the project, providing engineering and connections related resources.

Centrica is both a fleet and a technology partner. Its home-based British Gas fleet will participate in the Project; while Centrica will provide charging solutions for the home-based fleets as well as demand response services from its Centrica Business So
LINK: http://www.hitachi.eu/en-gb/press/worlds-biggest-commercial-electric-v...
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