Packaging delivery giant UPS has announced plans to upgrade its entire central London delivery fleet to run on electric-power.
The move comes thanks to the deployment of smart charging technology which the company claims will avoid the need for an upgrade to its power supply at its London-base at Kentish Town.
As a result of the move, the company’s entire fleet of 170 trucks operating in the capital will switch over to electric, more than doubling UPS’ 65-strong EV fleet in the city, the company says.
UPS has worked in partnership with UK Power Networks and Cross River Partnership to develop a system using on-site batteries to store up energy to ensure that all of the vehicles on the site do not need to charge simultaneously, reducing the demand from the power grid.
Funding for the project has also come from the government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles.
The company has invested significantly in the external power supply to the Kentish Town site in order to facilitate multiple electric vehicle charging points on the site, but current infrastructure limited this to allowing 65 vehicles to charge from the depot.
The smart system will use a central server which is connected to each EV charge post as well as the grid power supply and the on-site energy storage.
The system adopts an “intelligent” approach to charging by spreading this throughout the night so that the building can use the power it needs to run the business of logistics (lights, sortation machinery and IT) and ensure that all EVs are fully charged by the time they are needed in the morning, but at the same time never exceed the maximum power available from the grid.
Commenting on the development, Peter Harris, director of sustainability at 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 urbanization is sustainable. We are applying new technology to make the charging process smarter and our delivery service cleaner.”
Ian Smyth of UK Power Networks Services, added: “This trailblazing 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 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.”