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Preparing our fleet for an EV takeover At last week’s record-breaking Energy Event, some of the busiest people in the npower Village were our Electric Vehicle team. I say record-breaking […]

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By Geoff Curran

Preparing our fleet for an EV takeover

At last week’s record-breaking Energy Event, some of the busiest people in the npower Village were our Electric Vehicle team. I say record-breaking because we were delighted to welcome more visitors than ever before – so our EV guys were especially in demand. And it’s hardly surprising – the EV topic is hot!

People – and especially businesses looking to cut fuel costs – want to know how feasible running an EV really is. And when they see the figures, they are usually pretty impressed. For example, on a recent trial at npower, a Mercedes Vito E-Cell van was driven 352 miles from our head office in Swindon to a regional office in Sunderland, costing just £11.75 in electricity compared to £64.59 in a diesel-powered equivalent.

Of course, it had to stop off en route to recharge – and thankfully, we have charging points at many of our offices, including Worcester, Birmingham and Leeds.

The next stage for us in our own EV journey at npower is testing out the logistical and commercial issues that come with incorporating EVs into any busy fleet. That way we can be sure to be in a better position to help our customers looking to incorporate EVs into their own fleets.

To that end, two electric Renault Kangoo ZE vans will be trialed over the coming months by our metering business, before a larger roll out follows in the New Year. Our aim is to identify the true cost differential, as although EVs cost less to run, they currently have a higher lease cost than their internal combustion engine equivalents.

Vehicle range is another big issue. While the average distance traveled by UK car/van drivers is just 8.4 miles per trip, EVs have a maximum range of 100 miles before requiring a recharge – and this can be considerably less if you increase vehicle load and then add in air conditioning or heating and lighting requirements.

As the developer of electric charging Juice Points, we already provide workplace recharging facilities at many npower offices – and indeed Juice Points are now sited at more than 1900 locations across Europe. But these days, many employees take company vehicles home at night. So we’ll be exploring the logistics of installing charge points at employee homes.

Our charge point management system is already able to track electricity usage for EVs, along with a range of other reporting features that can be controlled via each smart Juice Point. So this trial will give us the opportunity to see how our staff make use of this technology.

Overall, our goal is two-fold – firstly to use the learning from this internal trial to further cement our position as a leading supplier of EV charging infrastructure for fleets in the UK. And secondly, to understand and overcome the issues that EVs pose to fleets in order to expand our own EV fleet. With more than 1200 vehicles in our Energy Services division alone, the potential for reducing both carbon emissions and fuel costs is clearly significant.

So watch this space. And if in the meantime, you want to know more, visit www.npower.com/EV.

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