RECHARGE UK working group aims to speed up electrification of HGVs and fleets

A new group has laid out a set of objectives designed to help speed up the electrification of HGVs and commercial fleets.

The group, which is being run by RECHARGE UK – the EV arm of the REA (Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology), says it includes a wealth of expertise and unrivalled experience from across the sector.

Its aim is to inform policy makers and key stakeholder groups to raise awareness and confidence in the development of a UK-wide network of charging facilities to enable reliable and efficient operation of professional commercial services and road transport supply chains operators of all scales, however local or wide-ranging their duty requirements.

The inaugural meeting of the group was hosted by Royal Mail and offered an opportunity for members to set out the challenges and opportunities facing the industry. Stuart Murphy, Head of Fleet Transformation and Integration, gave a presentation to members.

The Department for Transport also updated members on the work it is doing in this space.

Key objectives of the group include:

  • Develop recommendations for policy and regulations to ensure that commercial vehicle charging and related facilities are developed and maintained as a critical national infrastructure, with appropriate prioritisation, standards of provision (availability / accessibility) and targets for capacity to enable ZEV mandate targets to be delivered;
  • To ensure that SME operations are not disadvantaged;
  • Develop financial incentives to encourage development of facilities for municipal and third party access by professional fleet operators to use charging facilities;
  • To develop a framework model for economics cost and benefits for commercial fleet migration to evaluate the investment case, using available insights from recent / current market trials and early adoptors’ experience. “Moving from Show Case to Business Case”;
  • In conjunction with associations representing professional drivers, logistics and public sector bodies, to develop standards for the design of charging facilities which provide safe, convenient and efficient operation of commercial vehicles;
  • Ensure that appropriate standards are specified or developed to enable the creation of digital platforms for the communication of suitable, available facilities.

The group is being chaired by Neil Durno, Truck & Commercial Fleet – New Business Manager at SWARCO Smart Charging.

He said: ‘’The electrification of commercial vehicle fleets provides us with a significant opportunity to reduce carbon and other related emissions, so I am delighted that we have received such a high level of interest from current and new REA members to form this working group.

‘’At a time when there is such great interest in the future of commercial road transport it is vital that we develop the energy and charging infrastructure systemically in order to provide charging networks which align to the needs of transport operators; eliminate the uncertainties of reliability and availability; so that chargers can be located and scheduled to provide fleet operators and their clients with the time critical delivery capabilities required.’’

Mr Durno confirmed that the group will be developing proposals for policy and guidance which will address the range of use cases across commercial van and truck fleets, with a focus on efficient investment, smart energy solutions to address peak grid connection requirements, as well as providing energy services which reduce carbon intensity, provide long-term energy price stability and support energy system flexibility.

Working group objectives have been established to influence the approach to a UK-wide network of suitable charging provision which avoids contention with the public charging networks.

Mr Durno added: ‘’Due to the size of the market, and ZEV mandate timescales, transitioning commercial van and HGV fleets is going to take the next 20 years. The successful outcome from the recommendations of the group will address ways to improve the business case for investment through higher utilisation and result in greater confidence and speed of transition over to battery electric vehicles for commercial fleet operators, whilst at the same time addressing the implications and opportunities for our energy system (generation and network) through a ‘whole system thinking’ approach.’’

Matthew Adams, Transport Policy Manager at the REA, added: ‘’This group promises to be hugely influential in thought leadership for this part of the EV sector. We learned a lot from Stuart who was able to shine light on the unique challenges the largest fleet in the UK have faced as they rapidly electrify and we will be taking those learnings in to our future meetings as we begin to discuss challenges and come up with solutions around building a business case, securing grid connections, reducing peak demand and ensuring that electrification of sites does not impact on deliveries while under construction. We look forward to working with DfT and Innovate UK going forward as we begin developing workstreams for the group.’’

Confirmed members of the group include: Tellegen; Veolia; Greenflux; Amber Recharge; Wallbox; Cenex; EY; Fujitsu; Innovate UK; Fuuse; Carpendale EV; Mintgreensus; Trojan Energy; Swarco.

Others who attended the inaugural meeting of the group included: Syselek; Field Dynamics; Royal Mail; and GRIDSERVE.

(Picture – RECHARGE UK)

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