Urban logistics represents a very promising application for electric vehicles, involving as it does relatively short routes and back to base operations suited to overnight recharging. However, major challenges remain – in particular the cost of upgrading building power supplies.
UPS has developed a diesel to electric conversion solution for its vehicles, and this project will see the deployment of 20 more of these into their central London fleet in addition to the 52 that are already operating there. However, doing so will exceed the power supply threshold for UPS’s central London building, so this project will also involve the development of a smart-grid by UK Power Network Services (acting as subcontractors to UPS) and a network capacity assessment tool by UK Power Networks. Between them, these two solutions should dramatically reduce the cost of power supply upgrades compared to the conventional approach of installing new hardware into the network.
Early analysis suggests that it should be possible through the deployment of these two power supply technologies for UPS to be able to convert all 170 of its central London vehicles to electric propulsion, and a key aim of the project will be to demonstrate this feasibility. On the back of this, Cross River Partnership will then coordinate the development of a vision for the potential of these technologies to transform the feasibility of the electrification of not only UPS’s fleet, but also for other urban logistics fleets.
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