Centrica is continuing its electric vehicle (EV) activity with plans to trial a ‘charge park’ for professional drivers.
The Big Six supplier has partnered car park operator NCP to trial the charge parks, with the two companies to focus on “the challenge” of making charging more convenient. The partnership will see them create potential ways of charging commercial fleets and taxis in public spaces.
One of the “big barriers” for professional drivers in the adoption of EVs is making time to charge, Centrica Innovations head of electric vehicle strategy Andreas Atkins said.
“While there has been a great deal of research in to how to make charging faster, little has been done to enhance convenience, so that charging can fit comfortably in to our busy lives," he continued.
Centrica expects the first pilot charge park will be open in the new year. As part of the partnership, the two companies are to examine how to combine leisure services and technology to make charging “less onerous”.
EVs are firmly in Centrica’s crosshairs, creating a dedicated e-mobility division in January. Then followed a series of EV announcements, including the launch of a new EV offering that paired solar and storage with chargers, with the intention of catering to electric fleets.
Centrica also has a hand in the Optimise Prime project, alongside UK Power Networks, Royal Mail, Uber and SSEN, exploring how to mitigate the impact of commercial fleet electrification on networks.
The adoption of EVs in fleets is being driven by measures like congestion chargers and the Ultra Low Emission Zone, according to NCP CEO Jonathan Scott.
“We are investing to grow the number of our sites offering EV charging, but we want to do so in a way that’s fit for purpose for all of our customers," he said.