Transport makes up 27% of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, equating to around 126 million tonnes of CO2 each year. If the UK is to meet its own legal obligations to reduce emissions and help ensure global temperatures do not rise above 1.5°C, we need to rapidly decarbonise transport.
With 40 million EVs predicted to be on the road by 2040, electric vehicles (EVs) can play a pivotal role in the decarbonisation challenge. In particular, the electrification of fleets can help lead the electric charge across the wider transport network.
However, the rapid growth of EVs could have a significant impact on the country grid system. Models suggest that by 2050 EVs could see peak demand rise by more than 20GW (which is 35% of current peak demand).
In order to avoid this significant additional peak demand and achieve 100% fleet electrification, a viable and realistic way to efficiently charge a fleet of electric vehicles is needed, which also reduces the workload for the fleet manager. This is where intelligent charging comes into its own.
What is intelligent charging?
Intelligent EV charging refers to a system where an electric vehicle and a charging station share a data connection, and the charging station shares a data connection with a charging operator.
As opposed to traditional smart charging stations that are not connected to the cloud, intelligent charging can manage charging based on customer and environmental inputs through AI or other software means. Intelligent charging manages to aggregate data from the user, the electric vehicle, the operator building and the local grid network in order to manage the charging plan efficiently.
Benefits of intelligent charging for fleet management
As it stands, businesses with large EV fleets cannot charge hundreds of electric vans simultaneously without it impacting the local grid. Fleet electrification poses challenges for fleet and facilities managers, such as increased consumption of energy, limitations on local grid connections and costly reinforcements to ensure that the building power network can support the increase in EVs on the grid.
Intelligent charging for EVs optimises charging to happen when energy is cleanest and cheapest, with AI able to modify charging patterns based on factors such as vehicle usage, cost of energy and weather forecasts. This ensures that fleets are fully recharged to meet the business demand and have minimal running costs.
By shifting energy demand away from peak times, intelligent charging can secure the lowest-cost charging and highest-impact carbon savings while alleviating pressure on local networks (by avoiding overloading the building power network and therefore preventing costly upgrades) and ensuring that vehicles are ready for use on time. This will ensure that fleets’ transition to net-zero emission is as fast and efficient as possible while also enabling greater access to greener energy.
Moreover, intelligent cloud-based control systems can participate in flexibility services through flexing fleet charging load. This further helps with local network management and unlocks additional revenue streams for fleet owners.
Demonstrating social responsibility
Businesses are finding it increasingly important to make commitments to corporate social responsibility, and enabling greener transport is a crucial part of that. EV charging at the workplace sends a clear and visible message about where the business stands concerning reducing the environmental impact of its operations and personnel.
The future of fleets is electric, and intelligent charging is crucial to take full advantage of the benefits offered by EVs and achieve net zero targets. Businesses have realised that traditional fleet management is no longer a standalone business function. Collaboration among all stakeholders involved is needed in order to accelerate this electrification whilst also taking steps to protect the grid from the pressures of the rising demand from charging stations.
Moixa as part of the EFLES project to optimise intelligent EV fleet charging
In 2020 Moixa joined forces with other thought-leading partners, such as UK Power Network Services, UPS and Cross River Partnership (CRP), to work on the EFLES project – or EV Fleet-Centred Local Energy Systems.
This innovation project, funded through the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund for research and innovation, aimed to optimise intelligent EV fleet charging. The project’s goal was to create an intelligent charging system that maximises the use of existing electrical infrastructure while incorporating vehicle telemetry and AI to reduce operational costs and unlock additional revenue streams via grid support activity.
EFLES has extensively used Moixa’s GridShare Software and has shown how artificial intelligence can accelerate electrification for global fleet operators by maximising EVs’ cost and carbon savings. Camden Depot’s smart charging system was integrated with our GridShare platform to monitor and forecast energy demand, optimise EV charger management within the existing grid connection limit, and enable participation in grid services.
During Cross River Partnership’s October Lunchtime Launch event, Moixa’s Senior Project Manager Adam Cundy discussed the findings from the EFLES project alongside project partners.
Watch the video below to learn more about EFLES and how intelligent charging can incentivise the electrification of fleets: