The UK Government’s commitment to green transport has accelerated after announcing plans to invest £1.6 billion to boost the UK’s electric vehicle (EV) charging network as part of its infrastructure strategy for electric vehicles.
The proposals – announced in March – are designed to support the UK’s ambition to reach 300,000 public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations by 2030, equivalent to nearly five times the number of pumps fuel today and a tenfold increase in the number of EV charging stations. currently available.
The plans are part of the government’s strategy to expand the UK‘s charging network, so that it is ‘robust, fair and covers the whole country’, as well as to ‘improve the consumer experience at all charging points”.
Speaking in March, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We are moving forward with plans to help Britons go electric, with our expanding charging network making it easier to get around the country. “
The announcement was welcomed by industry group Logistics UK, which said in a statement that it would “help make the transition to zero-emission fleets a reality for logistics companies”.
The plan, which aims to ensure commercial vehicles have access to public charging stations, will require these stations to have high reliability standards and tackle current barriers, including network capacity, charging costs and access to a sufficiently wide charging network on the strategic road. network – to help the road transport sector decarbonise with confidence.
Harnessing technology for greener transportation
For those of us with an interest in the future of electric vehicles, the news is another milestone as the UK continues its transition to Net Zero. But while large-scale investment in grid infrastructure grabs the headlines, the transition to commercial electric vehicles isn’t just about charging stations and the latest developments in battery technology.
Tech companies in this space are also working alongside transportation companies as they begin their journey toward fleet electrification. More than ever, managers need comprehensive fleet monitoring – down to the number of miles an individual vehicle has left before its next charge.
This is where cloud-based connected systems – which are already used for traditional ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles in the logistics industry – are being developed specifically for electric vehicle fleets.
While EV and ICE fleets share the need for similar fleet management tools – such as GPS tracking, route planning, driver safety and operational monitoring – EV fleet managers have a priority to which they must respond. Load anxiety.
What is the load of each vehicle? What is the range? How far will it go until it needs to be recharged? Where is the next charging station if needed? Where is the nearest mobile load recovery vehicle in case of an emergency?
IoT data is fueling the transition to electric vehicles
By harnessing the Internet of Things (IoT), the technology industry is able to provide the tools needed to give fleet operators the confidence to go electric. And it can’t happen soon enough.
A combination of push and pull factors – including the high cost of fuel and the ever-increasing availability of commercial electric vehicles and an ever-expanding charging network – means that logistics companies are accelerating their transition to electric vehicles.
A straw poll at a recent meeting of UK-based fleet operators – held under Chatham House rules – found companies were at different stages of vehicle and infrastructure testing.
As one delegate explained:
The EV infrastructure isn’t there yet, but there is definite pressure on ESG executives and managers to demonstrate their commitment to the EV transition as 2030 approaches.
Access to IoT-enabled data was highlighted as important as it helps shape management decisions, especially in areas such as fuel savings, measurable carbon emission reductions and return on overall investment.
While another pointed out that it won’t be long before companies start appointing an “electric vehicle transition manager”, someone dedicated to supporting the shift to electric vehicle fleets.
Real-world data is critical as the evolution of electric vehicles evolves
As individual carriers and economies embark on a path to broader electrification, it’s clear that the tech industry has a role to play in ensuring businesses can navigate this change. By collecting and analyzing meaningful data, stakeholders will be able to make informed decisions about progress.
For electric vehicle manufacturers, access to real-world data once their trucks have rolled off the production line could prove critical in the further development of their vehicles.
For fleet managers, driving conditions, driver characteristics, traffic, payloads, charging and maintenance schedules could all feed into the real-world information needed to operate a fleet of vehicles. electrical.
The same goes for charging station operators who are building a network to cater to the growing number of electric vehicles on the roads.
And with such political will driving change, having the data will also be an important source of real data for the government as it continues to create a regulatory framework to encourage the switch from diesel and petrol vehicles to cleaner and cleaner alternatives. greener.
By providing real data – not modeling or survey sampling – the information provided by IoT systems could be used to help shape government policy. If nothing else, it can be used to keep tabs on progress and highlight areas that need more investment.
And, ultimately, this connected farm data can be used to ensure the UK maximizes the environmental and economic benefits of switching to electric vehicles.