Logistics giant UPS is to expand the number of electric delivery trucks it operates in London from 50 to 70, following an investment of £3 million in smart charging infrastructure, due to be delivered by UK Power Networks.
The project, which is being funded by Innovate UK, will incorporate battery energy storage at UPS’ depot in Kentish Town, north London, aimed at ensuring that vehicle charging does not put too much strain on the local power grid during peak times.
The vehicles will be charged directly from the network outside of peak times, and the battery will step in to charge the vehicles when demand for electricity in the local area is high.
According to UK Power Networks, as many as 150 electric vehicles could operate from the depot as a result of the upgrade to the charging system.
Commenting on the project, Tobi Babalola, of the UK Power Networks Innovation Team, said: “This project is going to lead the way for improving London’s air quality by helping to get more low emission vehicles onto our roads at lower cost. It will deliver insights that will inform the entire electricity industry at a key moment for electric vehicle technology.
“Electric vehicles are likely to have a significant impact on the way that people consume energy, which is why it’s so important that we embrace the latest technology to maximise the efficiency of our energy network.â€?
Peter Harris, director of sustainability, UPS Europe, said: “UPS has a long heritage of deploying more sustainable alternative fuels and advanced technology – reducing its carbon footprint and progressing its green strategy.
“Electric vehicles are a major component within our alternative fuel fleet and this partnership with UK Power Networks has the potential to transform the way we charge our electric vehicles in London. If successful, it will almost certainly be a key enabler for UPS to electrify its other fleets in the UK and beyond.â€?
Mr Harris was among the speakers at the LowCVP conference in London last week, and detailed some of the work carried out by UPS to reduce its vehicle emissions across its fleet (see airqualitynews.com story).