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New compact depot charging solution promises turning point for fleet electrification

New compact depot charging solution promises turning point for fleet electrification

With sustainability at the top of the global agenda and a 2050 net zero emissions target to meet, the electrification of the British automotive industry has long been a focus for manufacturers of consumer vehicles.

Indeed, there have already been plenty of schemes and incentives put in place to encourage electric vehicle (EV) sales. And, while the UK’s EV sales fall behind those of several other European countries, the statistics have certainly been encouraging. In 2019, electric car registrations across the UK were up 126% on the previous year, and EV sales are only likely to keep going up.

But when it comes to fleets? That’s another story.

The problems fleets face

For a long time, electric trucks were a mere speck on a far-off horizon as demand was low and there was little scope for infrastructure for mass charging. How can you charge a large number of heavy goods vehicles in one place at one time? And how can you reduce recharging times and costs enough to make economic sense?

Hitachi ABB Power Grids has launched a solution.

The global technology leader’s new product is called Grid e-Motion Fleet, and it might just be the game-changer that fleet operators have been waiting for.

The smart mobility solution enables fleet managers to scale up their operations efficiently and conveniently, thanks to a shift from a charger-product focused approach to one based on charging systems.

Grid e-Motion Fleet is a grid-to-plug charging system which comes in standard-sized containers that can integrate the grid connection and charging systems together. Using DC technology, it can connect to any type of power network, negating the need for complex and time-consuming changes to infrastructure.

Once installed, it can provide charging for multiple vehicles, which can be timetabled to minimise costs and cut grid disruption.

How does Grid e-Motion Fleet compare with conventional charging connections?

Hitachi’s system requires some 60% less space for large-scale EV fleet charging, and 40% less for depot cabling. It is designed to fit into any parking area and works to connect all your charging points seamlessly to the grid.

The entire system is fast-to-install and promises the ability to harness renewable energy through grid integration. The compact design clusters the entire charging system in one location, while easily configurable modules can be conveniently distributed around the site too.

Not only will a system like this mean that maintenance should become easier and more space can be saved at parking slots, but it will ultimately lead to cleaner air too.

“The Grid-eMotion Fleet launch is a game-changer for anyone managing public transport and commercial EV fleets,” says Niklas Persson, managing director of the Grid Integration business unit at Hitachi ABB Power Grids.

“Grid-eMotion Fleet delivers unprecedented scalability, space savings and operational efficiency. The solution will accelerate the global uptake of safe, sustainable and smart mobility, whilst contributing to cleaner air and an enhanced quality of life for today’s generation and those to come.”

How quickly the fleet industry adapts to the growing need for electrification and how widely technologies like Hitachi’s will be adopted remains to be seen. Does this sound like something you’d be interested in? Drop a comment below to share your thoughts.

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