Britain's biggest electricity distributor has become the first of London's utility networks to put Electric Vehicles (EVs) on the capital's roads, as part of its operational fleet. For more information see the IDTechEx report on Electric Trucks and Delivery Vans 2018-2028.
UK Power Networks is trialling eight electric Renault Kangoo vans in its fleet to help improve air quality for future generations and further reduce its carbon footprint, already down by 16.7% since 2015.
Engineers made their first journey in the new EVs to Archbishop Sumner School in Kennington, central London, an area that will be covered by the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) when it is introduced in 2019.
Headteacher Ursula Ovenden, said: "We are very concerned about air quality, which seems to be affecting children's health and we have more children now with asthma than we have ever had. We encourage children to cycle or walk to school to try to reduce the number of cars, but having more electric vehicles, like the ones UK Power Networks are introducing, should help reduce the pollution going into the air."
Eight-year-old Edward, a pupil at the school, said: "We sat inside the electric vans and met the engineers. I think electric cars are going to be extremely useful in the future. They don't release any fossil fuels and keep our air clean."
UK Power Networks, which is a member of the Mayor of London's EV Infrastructure Taskforce, is gearing up to connect an estimated 4.1 million EVs to its networks across London, the South East and East of England by 2030. Nearly a third of EVs already sold in the UK connect onto UK Power Networks' system and the network operator has been at the forefront of pioneering smart grid technology that is enabling decarbonisation of transport in buses, taxis, on-street, home and fleet operations.
Patrick Clarke, UK Power Networks director of network operations, said: "We are leading the development of a smart, flexible grid to support EVs, improve air quality and reduce our carbon footprint. Piloting EVs in our fleet and introducing EVs to the company car list is improving the environment for communities now and investing in the health of future generations. We are committed to being the most environmentally responsible and lowest cost electricity network operator. EVs will help further reduce our carbon footprint and boost air quality, which is especially important in areas where children live and play, near busy main roads."
Twenty-seven charge points are being installed across 14 of the company's offices and depots and the electricity network plans to power the charge points with on-site solar generation at six of the locations.
Keith Whitney, an electricity substation inspector in south London, will be driving one of the new electric vans. He said: "I'm glad the company is doing this because they will save a lot of money and reduce air pollution in the long term. I live on a main road and if most traffic was EV we wouldn't get any noise or particulate pollution. Children are more susceptible as nitrous oxide hangs lower in the air."
Engineers will use the electric vans from depots in Brixton, Camden, Canning Town and Falconwood, to help keep the electricity network running for homes, businesses, schools, hospitals and EV charge points across London.
The network operator has also announced that it is introducing the first fully electric car to its company car list. The addition of the Renault Zoe will give staff the active choice to switch to EVs.
A video about the new EVs will be available from Thursday Oct 4: https://youtu.be/HZtwYTWS4Kk
UK Power Networks' electric vans fact file:
75-170 mile range, weather dependent
6hr charging time
11kW dual outlet charge points
83-tonnes CO2 saved *
£21,545 fuel costs *
£6,470 road tax *
£57,750 annual penalty charge if used in the ULEZ zone daily (from 1 April 2019) *
278,933 miles driven *
* estimated savings / figures for five new EV vans over five years
For further information please contact the UK Power Networks press office on 0330 159 1712.
Photo caption 1: Driving down air pollution for future generations. Ursula Ovenden, headteacher of Archbishop Sumner School, in London, and pupils Tyrese, 10, Makosama, nine, Jiovani, nine, Angel seven, Isobel, 11 and Edward, eight inspect UK Power Networks' electric vans.
Photo caption 2: UK Power Networks' director of network operations, Patrick Clarke, with the company's new electric vans at a school in London's Ultra Low Emission Zone.
Photo caption 3: One of UK Power Networks' new fully electric fleet vehicles.
Photo caption 4: Leading the charge against air pollution in London. A van on the road in Battersea.
Photo caption 5: UK Power Networks puts its fleet and company car users in the driving seat of the changes.
1. UK Power Networks is the country's biggest electricity distributor, making sure the lights stay on for more than eight million homes and businesses across London, the South East and the East of England.
Network operators aren't the same as energy suppliers; network operators manage local power lines and substations, while energy suppliers sell the electricity that runs through the power lines.
UK Power Networks continues to be listed in the Sunday Times' Top 25 Best Big Companies to Work For, and made industry history by becoming first company to win Utility of the Year two years running (2015 and 2016, also 2012).
The company invests more than £600 million in its electricity networks every year, offers extra help to vulnerable customers at times of need, and is undertaking trials to ensure that electricity networks support the transition to a low carbon future. It also moves cables and connects new electricity supplies. If you have a power cut ring 105, see www.ukpowernetworks.co.uk or tweet us @UKPowerNetworks
2. UK Power Networks and smart charging solutions. UK Power Networks is a leader in innovative research solutions to enable EVs to connect to the electricity network intelligently and cost-effectively. The work includes:
- Active Response: UK Power Networks is investigating how to automatically reconfigure the electricity network to move spare capacity to where demand is, such as to residential areas in the evening, when people are charging vehicles at home and to commercial areas when vehicles are charging during the day.
- Vehicle to Grid: there are four V2G projects UK Power Networks is taking part in: Bus2Grid, to turn a 30-bus garage into a V2G bus garage; e4Future, a trial on 1,000 V2G fleet vehicles; Beating Home, a domestic V2G trial; and V2Street, a trial on public charging networks aimed at supporting the 60-70% of Londoners without off-street charging.
- Smart Car: Developing the systems architecture (such as technology, assets, information flows, standards, business functions and commercial arrangements) which is required to facilitate a smart EV charging market for residential customers
- Recharge the Future: Market-leading EV load forecast
- UPS's Camden depot electrification: Behind the meter smart solutions including smart charging to intelligently charge vehicles and locally installed battery to smartly manage available capacity and increase EVs operating from one of central London's biggest freight depots.
- EV guide. UK Power Networks published an EV guide to help local authorities meet growing demand for on-street charge points for electric vehicles.
- Black Cab Green: establishing what investment is needed in London's electricity charging network to prepare for a future when all black cab and minicab drivers switch to zero-emission vehicles.
- Waterloo Bus Garage: UK Power Networks is powering the first fully electric bus garage which is operating 51 electric buses in the heart of London.
3. The electric vans will also deliver an estimated 15% cost saving over the life of the vehicle in fuel, ultra-low emission zone charges, congestion charge savings and government grants.
Source and top image: UK Power Networks