UK Power Networks Service

UK Power Networks Services smart charges UPS’s electric vehicles

19 March 2018

UK Power Networks Services has implemented smart new electric vehicle charging systems to power UPS’s central London delivery fleet for what is believed to be the first time in the world on this scale.

Currently, freight vehicles account for around one fifth of traffic in London. The Mayor of London’s draft Transport Strategy highlights how distribution centres in inner and central London, from where deliveries will be made by low and zero emission vehicles, will form part of the solution toward a zero emission transport system in London by 2050.

Freight electric vehicles, like those used by UPS, can use up to ten times as much power as a typical home when charging. This means that charging large numbers of trucks simultaneously puts significant demand on the depot’s electricity supply

In a major new technological advance, this project will enable UPS to increase the number of 7.5-tonne electric trucks operating from its London site from 65 to all 170, without the need for the usual expensive upgrade to the power supply connection.

UK Power Networks Services smart charging solution combines an Active Network Management system with battery storage, ensuring the depot’s electricity demand will not exceed the network’s limit and prevent significant investment in network electrical infrastructure.

UK Power Networks Services, which designs, builds, operates and maintains private electrical networks for clients in defence, rail, airports and other industries, deployed the Smart Electric Urban Logistics project in partnership with UPS, UK Power Networks and Cross River Partnership, with funding from the UK’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles through a competition led by Innovate UK.

This project is an example of UK Power Networks Services’ innovative solutions to help businesses integrate electric vehicles into their fleets and optimise their existing infrastructure.

Ian Smyth, Director of UK Power Networks Services, said: “This industry-leading solution has enabled UPS to increase their electric vehicle fleet without upgrading their network connection, paving the way for future electrification of delivery vehicles in our cities.

"We have deployed a solution that combines battery storage and Active Network Management, ensuring UPS’s electric vehicles are always available to deliver parcels across the capital."

"We are delighted to work with UPS and our other partners to design, deliver and operate this sustainable smart-grid solution."

"This project will deliver a huge impact on improving the air quality for Londoners and contribute to UPS’s legacy of sustainability."

Peter Harris, Director of Sustainability, UPS Europe, said: “UPS thinks this is a world first, right in the heart of a mega-city. We are using new technology to work around some big obstacles to electric vehicle deployment, heralding a new generation of sustainable urban delivery services both here in London and in other major cities around the world.

"Electric vehicles are an integral component within UPS’s alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet. Our collaboration with UK Power Networks and Cross River Partnership marks a major turning point in the cost-effective deployment of electric vehicles which in turn will play a key role in ensuring the global trend toward urbanisation is sustainable. We are applying new technology to make the charging process smarter and our delivery service cleaner."