Fleet electrification 101 – Accelerating innovation and collaboration

- Blog

2020 was an exciting year for fleet operators and the electric vehicle (EV) market, with the government shifting the combustion vehicle sale ban from 2035 to 2030 giving organisations a tighter deadline to achieve fleet electrification.

Moving on to more good news… ElectricDrives reported on an electric van sales rise of an impressive 64.4% in 2020 in the UK and according to EV-Volumes, plug-in vehicle sales reached over 3.2 million in 2020 internationally – what a year!

With the progression of the EV market, the Innovation Gateway sought to develop a long-term programme (working group) of collaborative sessions to facilitate knowledge exchange and accelerate innovation adoption between large UK organisations, including NatWest, Tesco, Nottingham City Council, University of Birmingham, amongst offers. 

Without a doubt, the Partners have cause to celebrate – but to also fasten their seatbelts – having been given the drive to adopt new and exciting technologies, as well as collaborate with their peers in the EV working group.

Already, the working group has seen a great shift in the Partners’ EV plans, with Tesco joining NatWest in the EV100 campaign in September 2020 and having the aim to reach fleet electrification by 2028. Furthermore, Nottingham City Council have shed light on their EV plans within the public sector, demonstrating great leadership on adopting emerging and innovative technologies like vehicle to grid, solar and battery storage.

The road so far

On the 12th January, the Partners came together - via Zoom, needless to say - to kick start 2021 with an all-important discussion around EV infrastructure and how this relates to the grid, as well as discussions around future-proofing sites.

In this session, the Partners were joined by industry experts from Cenex, BEAMA and UK Power Networks to share their expertise and insights on EV charging infrastructure, including:

  • Charging infrastructure, infrastructure requirements and management software - presented by Chris Rimmer, Infrastructure Lead at Cenex
  • Future proofing public charging – presented by Jeremy Yapp, Head of Energy Flexible Systems at BEAMA
  • EV charging infrastructure and its connection to the grid, as well as insights on Optimise Prime, the world’s largest trial of commercial EVs – presented by Florentine Roy, Innovation Engineer at UK Power Networks

The outcome of these working sessions presents an opportunity for the Partners to have further discussions with these expert speakers, as well as collaborate with others  in the EV working group on current and future challenges.

One of the many challenges frequently faced by organisations currently is that, as they grow and are looking to procure more EVs, issues around grid capacity will likely surface. As a result, organisations may need to upgrade their infrastructure to cope with the increased demand, and therefore require the right support to seek the best solution.

Ultimately, having a network of like-minded organisations to work in partnership with poses a great opportunity for leadership, development and support on their journey to a more sustainable future. 

What else is happening at the Innovation Gateway

With a greater recognition of the climate and sustainability in the Partnership, the Innovation Gateway holds another working group stream on Net Zero for the Partners to discuss relevant topics, such as Scope 3, offsetting and insetting, and Net Zero buildings. The Partners’ last working session was focused entirely on science-based targets as we were joined by expert speaker Lea Fink (European Regional Lead) from CDP and the SBTi, and keynote speaker Martin Gettings, Group Director Sustainability at Canary Wharf Group.

Please get in touch if you have any comments, insights and experience with EV infrastructure and Net Zero, or are an innovator with a solution that could be of benefit to our Partners. 

By Alie KingResearch and Collaboration Officer


Special thanks to our expert speakers: 

  • Chris Rimmer (Infrastructure Strategy lead, Cenex) - Chris leads Cenex’s infrastructure strategy work and has a background in the utility sector. Chris also supports government, local authorities, companies and individuals with the information and insight they need to switch to EVs. Some of the EV projects Cenex are working on include ZEFER, Sciurus and SEEV4-City.
  • Jeremy Yapp (Head of Flexible Energy Systems, BEAMA) - Jeremy has worked for some years in the Australian Parliament and then in several energy and environment policy areas in the UK Civil Service. For BEAMA he represents the supply chain of smart metering, energy data, IoT, distributed energy storage and EV infrastructure.
  • Florentine Roy (Innovation Engineer, UK Power Networks) - Florentine is a key member of Optimise Prime, which is the world’s largest trial of commercial EVs. This project looks to understand and reduce the impact of commercial fleet electrification on distribution networks, and to minimise the impact on electricity bills. Florentine is also leading the development of technical and commercial solutions on the distribution network operator side and is project manager of the White Van Plan innovation project.