UK ‘megafleets’ to help close kerbside EV charging gaps columnchargepoint

AFP initiative aims to stimulate targeted investment in charging

Collaborative project will highlight demand clusters for on-street charge points

The Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) has launched an initiative to create the UK’s largest database of kerbside charge point requirements, aimed at stimulating targeted investment and enabling faster electric vehicle deployment.

Announced at the association’s first annual conference last week, the project will combine members’ operational data to map out locations where vehicles are parked for long periods – such as work sites or close to drivers’ homes – to highlight demand clusters and create a business case for adding kerbside charge points.

AFP chairman Paul Hollick said it follows members’ complaints that the process of getting new on-street charge points installed can be a burden for fleet teams and is too focused on private cars. Local authorities can apply for Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) funding covering 60% of the costs but are often reluctant to invest the remainder if a charging network doesn’t step in. This can also leave large fleets liaising with multiple local authorities if they have a wide operating area.

Supported by OZEV and the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), the working group has leveraged anonymised postcode data from 14 ‘megafleets’ – including Mitie, Openreach, Centrica, National Grid and Royal Mail – operating a combined 160,000 vehicles with a collective requirement for 75,000 charge points. The AFP website is accepting expressions of interest from other members if they are willing to contribute.

Hollick said the initiative is particularly important for vans, where members’ data shows 70% of drivers have no off-street parking and a lack of convenient charging is stifling uptake. He said: “Van fleets are electrifying the low-hanging fruit – [the drivers] that do have home driveways and are doing low mileage so can charge up easily overnight. Once we get past that initial 30%, we’re into problems.

“If we don’t get adoption up quickly in terms of first-life vans, we’re not going to get the second and third phases where those vans can be re-deployed for a second and third life in the SME space. So speed of deployment in our members is key.”

With fleet electrification gathering pace, the kerbside charging initiative complements several other AFP projects supporting members adopting new technologies. These include a set of dealer standards ensuring a detailed handover process, training courses for electric cars and vans and new networking channels to help fleet managers share ideas.

“With all the changes in fleet at the moment, now is probably the most important time to be up to date with your skills,” said Hollick.

Source: Autocar

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