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Thousands of Electric Vehicles Are Heading to London

Thousands of Electric Vehicles Are Heading to London

- Dec 06, 2018 -

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Uber Technologies Inc. and Hitachi Ltd. areamong companies that will flood London with 3,000 electric vehicles as part ofa study aimed at overcoming a shortage of charging points blamed for holdingback sales.

Thebiggest-ever trial involving commercial electric vans and cars also includesenergy suppliers Centrica Plc and SSE Plc. It willgather data on driving habits and journeys over three years with the aim ofdevising the optimum network for charging points and evaluating whenelectricity will be most in demand.

Charginginfrastructure is currently limited even in the biggest cities and theinformation derived from the study, to be shared across the technology andautomotive industries, will help inform corporate and government investmentsand decision-making, the Optimise Prime consortium said Friday.

“I want tolearn from this project and I think it will help our business,” Jon Lawes,managing director of vehicle-leasing firm Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions,said in a media briefing. “We have a responsibility to get ready for electricvehicles and make sure we have the infrastructure, know how we operate thevehicles, how we buy them, how we sell them.”

Weather Impact

The trial,which also includes electric-cabling specialist UK Power Networks, will focuson London but also span rural parts of southeast England in a bid to gauge arange of motorist behavior. Data gleaned will include miles traveled, time ofuse, the charge consumed, and how weather affects travel habits.

Britain was selected for the study because of its encouragement ofelectric vehicles, with the government saying it wants 60 percent of new carsales to be electric by 2030, versus 1.7 percent now. State energy regulatorOfgem will provide half of the 35 million pounds ($45 million) needed to fundthe trial, with the partner companies stumping up the rest.

Uber, whichhas 65,000 drivers in the U.K., aims to be fully electric in London by 2025.Centrica, while participating chiefly as an electricity provider, has a fleetof 12,000 electric vans and 2,000 cars.

Majorcarmakers are spending record amounts on electric lineups to keep pace withregulation, though customers have largely remained on the fence amid concernsabout range limitations and the availability of charging facilities, as well ascomparatively high purchase costs.

Volkswagen AG and Tesco Plc saidThursday that they plan to build Britain’s largest vehicle-charging network spanning2,500 bays across some 600 stores in the next three years, boosting the U.K.network by 14 percent.

Customers will beable to charge their electric and plug-in hybrid cars using a 7-kilowattcharger for free or a 50-kilowatt charger “at the market rate,” according to ajoint statement from the world’s largest automaker and the supermarket chain.

— With assistance by NateLanxon