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It’s time to make sustainable transportation a reality

EV Enablement makes it easier, faster and more cost-effective to switch to an electrified transport fleet and implement workplace charging.

If you're under 30, chances are your children will never own a petrol car or queue up to fill their tank with petrol after you've finished the weekly shop. And it's possible that your grandchildren will only ever travel in an electric vehicle.

The transition to Electric Vehicles (EV) is happening faster than expected as we reach a 'tipping point' where it's economically viable to make the switch from petrol and diesel. National Grid predicts that up to 11 million EVs will be on the UK roads within 10 years, while the UK's Road to Zero (R2Z) strategy proposes a ban on sales of petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040. It's envisaged that these will be replaced mainly by 100% emissions free vehicles.

This transition has big implications. Not just for the vehicles themselves, but also for the infrastructure required to charge them. And, the acceleration towards EV is being driven by businesses and public bodies. These organisations are committed to improving sustainability, but they also have the resources and economies of scale across their commercial fleets to make EV stack-up financially.

At Centrica, we are at the heart of building the energy infrastructure of the future. In this article, we set out what we are doing to support this transition for business, and the challenges and opportunities it presents.

EV Enablement simplifies the transition

There are exciting opportunities for these organisations to capitalise on the benefits of EV, but developing and implementing an EV strategy is complex. It's not simply a case of taking delivery of your new zero emissions vehicles; the supporting infrastructure also needs to be carefully planned. That's why we have created our EV Enablement solution to provide the complete end-to-end support make the transition simple and easy.  

Decarbonising transport

In the UK, the transport sector accounts for the largest proportion (27%) of carbon emissions, which is accelerating climate change.  As we continue to make progress in decarbonising the electricity supply, transportation is the next big sustainability challenge. Organisations can make a huge contribution to reducing the threat of climate change by transitioning to electric fleet vehicles, providing at-work charging for employees or turning car parks into EV friendly spaces. 

The drive towards EV

Research by Centrica Business Solutions shows that 77% of the 1,500+ international organisations we surveyed are exploring EV options, while 58% of the most sustainable businesses already have at least one EV or hybrid vehicle. 68% of these organisations see EV as a path to reducing fuel costs associated with fleets. Clearly, EVs are not something to plan for the future, but something to act on now.

Overcoming the challenges of shifting to EV

There are great commercial and environmental benefits to shifting to EV, but this comes with complexities and challenges.

  • How do you coordinate and connect the siloed supply chain and all the disparate elements involved in developing your future-proofed EV project?
  • How do you secure enough sustainable power capacity both now and in the future to meet your extra requirements?
  • How do you fund the upfront cost of expanding your onsite generation infrastructure without draining your CAPEX
  • How do you ensure the efficient long-term management of your EV operation using trusted software and apps that your drivers will find user-friendly?

Centrica Business Solutions understands these challenges. Our new EV Enablement solution simplifies the complex end-to-end process of electrifying your transport. This modular package of solutions can provide support at any stage of your transition, or across the entire process – from design to long-term operation and maintenance. We enable you to roll-out at scale and future-proof your EV infrastructure using a single supplier, which is unique to the market.

Watch our EV Enablement video

Benefits of rolling-out EV

There are three major compelling reasons to making the EV transition:

1. Be a sustainable, environmentally compliant business leader - The UK transport sector is responsible for 27% of all carbon emissions. Petrol and diesel vehicles also cause air quality problems that affect public health. This problem is being addressed via the UK's 'NO2 Plan', which is cleaner air strategy for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations. Electric vehicles are key to decarbonising transport and improving air quality. By demonstrating leadership in providing EV charging infrastructure and transitioning fleet vehicles to EV, businesses and public bodies can play a major role in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and inspire wider EV adoption across society

Under The Climate Change Act 2008, the UK is committed to a legally binding target of reducing carbon emissions by at least 80% by 2050 (against the 1990 baseline). Policymakers are taking more robust action to reduce emissions, which is being enforced by global commitments, such as the Paris Agreement, and regulation at both a national and local level. 

There's a growing raft of financial penalties and green taxes for those organisations that fail to act sustainably and reduce emissions. The recent launch of London's Ultra Low Emission Zone, which is expected to be rolled out in other cities, provides a powerful financial incentive to move to EV. In addition, transport electrification goes a long way to gaining compliance with initiatives such as the Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme (ESOS) and gaining recognition under the new Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) rules.

2. Reduce costs and generate revenue - With the economies of scale of fleet management and falling technology prices for batteries, and charging infrastructure, the cost of EVs is reducing.  Long term cost savings can be made by making the switch from petrol and diesel. But electrifying transportation also unlocks opportunities to integrate your EV infrastructure with renewable on-site distributed solutions such as solar and battery storage, which can further reduce energy costs and enhance sustainability across your entire estate.

You can also earn money from your EV strategy by selling any spare battery power capacity back to the grid via lucrative Demand Side Response (DSR) and supply optimisation programmes. Our EV enablement solutions ensure that you optimise the full flexibility of your battery power and any other onsite generation assets  to maximise value from your investment. This is an attractive option for back-to-base fleets, where vehicles may be plugged in for longer periods.

3. Improve your brand reputation, customer experience and add value to your business - Growing public concern about the threat of climate change demonstrates an urgent need to take action on sustainability and improve your  environmental credibility. This urgency has been underlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which warns that the world must take 'unprecedented' action to limit the devastating impact of global warming. 

While regulatory targets matter, pressure from your stakeholders can often be a more powerful motivator to make the shift to clean transport. Green and responsible businesses are attractive to shareholders and employees, who want to invest in and  work for sustainable organisations. Customer expectations are growing and they will value the convenience of using onsite charge points, while workplace EV charging also offers an attractive addition to your employee’s benefits package. Moving your fleet to EV is an effective way of expressing your corporate social responsibility (CSR) and succeeding through delighting all your stakeholders.

By integrating your EV infrastructure into a distributed energy strategy you will add value to your business in three ways. You can reduce costs and monetise energy assets, but also help to stabilise and decarbonise the grid by using your flexibility to balance supply and demand. In this way, you can enable more intermittent renewable power from solar and wind to be used in the electricity system. 

How we can support your EV needs

Centrica Business Solutions' integrated package of charging infrastructure and software, together with on-site energy solutions provides the expert support required to capitalise on the opportunity to move to emissions-free transport. We can provide the end-to-end support organisations need to use EV to benefit both the environment and their competiveness.

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With a global network of more than 15,000 engineers and technicians, and expertise in designing, managing and financing complex solutions, Centrica has already installed more than 17,000 EV chargers and is uniquely positioned to provide a holistic solution that addresses the challenges of EV adoption.

By combining our global expertise and technological expertise, our new EV Enablement solution provides a single supplier solution for the electrification of entire fleets, and charging facilities at-work and in public spaces. We can provide complete life-cycle infrastructure and energy support – from charger procurement to optimisation services.

Our modular package can meet your precise needs and integrate with your existing energy estate to optimise your renewable on-site generation and battery storage assets. We can also finance additional energy infrastructure for enhanced sustainability and cost savings. Our EV support is designed to be fully scalable as your EV charging and infrastructure needs grow so it’s easy to start small and build up when you’re ready.

Find out more about our solution here, or get in touch to speak to one of our experts.