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A commercial electric vehicle trial to demonstrate how barriers such as cost and energy demand can be overcome found EV models can cover the typical range requirements for fleet owners.

The Optimise Prime trials began in July 2021 and were led by Hitachi Europe and electricity distributor UK Power Networks.

It involved over 8,000 electric vehicles from Centrica, Uber and a UK depot-based parcel carrier and was supported by distribution networks including Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, and partners Hitachi Vantara and Novuna Vehicle Solutions.

The trials included depot, home, and on-the-road charging.

Hitachi said its project delivered an end-to-end overview of what the switch to EVs meant for the cables and substations that delivered electricity to the community, for the businesses that needed to invest in new infrastructure, and for the fleet owners that needed to power their vehicles.

It said a key finding was that EV models can cover the typical range requirements for all three types of fleets, making electrification feasible and achievable.

John Whybrow, Hitachi Europe Optimise Prime business lead, said: “Our work alongside key partners in this trial has shown that the ambitious EV rollout is possible and with the use of data we can overcome the challenges being faced by businesses such as costs and charging availability.”

UK Power Networks said the project demonstrated that the move to electric was cheaper, quicker and easier than many fleet managers believed possible.

“We set out to come up with practical solutions to cut the cost of fleets going electric and that’s exactly what we have done – along with a mass of insights and learnings to help fleet managers,” said Ian Cameron, director of customer service and innovation at UK Power Networks.

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