Global logistics company UPS has teamed up with UK Power Networks Services and Moixa to launch the EV Fleet-Centred Local Energy Systems (EFLES) project.
At UPS’s Camden depot in London, the group will look to optimise its fleet of EVs using Moixa’s GridShare platform. This will use hundreds of data sources including energy prices, power demand and the weather to managing charging.
This will allow UPS to use the cheapest and cleanest power available, as well as helping to balance the local grid. This is particularly important for fleets operating in cities, where the grid is often constrained.
Simon Daniel, CEO of Moixa, explained: “Our ever-growing online shopping rates mean we’re delivering more things than ever before – everything from food shopping to medical supplies – and that’s having a big impact on carbon emissions and air pollution in our cities.
“Mitigating these impacts is a massive challenge but this project shows how with the help of the AI powered technology, like GridShare, the world’s biggest fleet operators can go electric and achieve their environmental ambitions.”
The GridShare software could also be used to manage onsite generation from solar panels for example, adding a further option for fleets wishing to electrify and manage energy costs.
The ELFES project builds on the Smart Electric Urban Logistics trial, which was run between 2017 and 2019 at the Camden depot. It included not-for-profit Cross River Partnership, UPS and UK Power Networks and was designed to address the challenge of charging fleets without costly upgrades to the local power network.
UPS is using the EFLES project as a trial, to ensure it can efficiently transition its fleet in an effort to decarbonise. In January, the company announced a commitment to buy 10,000 tailor-made electric vans from UK start-up Arrival.
Claire Thompson-Sage, sustainable development coordinator at UPS, said the company “champions alternative energy use”.
“We have the global expertise, smart-charging infrastructure and resources to host this first-of-a-kind testbed at our Camden facility. This project will build on our EV infrastructure technology to help develop a holistic local energy system. We are proud to spearhead such an exciting smart-grid project and look forward to taking it to the next level by making it even smarter.”
Additional partners in the project include Cross River Partnership, and Innovate UK.
The Cross River Partnership is looking to assess how innovative technologies like AI can help the city improve air quality, unlock job opportunities and deliver energy, cost and time savings for businesses.
Susannah Wilks, director of the NGO said it was “delighted” to be a partner in the “truly innovative project”.
“We are proud that London is again the location for testing new technology that supports clean growth and greener transport. This collaboration is testament to our longstanding commitment to working in partnership to deliver and share new ways of addressing the challenges we face with innovative solutions.”
As the UK moves to decarbonise the transport sector to hit net zero by 2050, this will require 87% of the five million vans, trucks and buses on UK roads to be electric by 2040.