Moixa, UK Power Networks Services, UPS and Cross River Partnership are collaborating on a smart electric vehicle fleet charging innovation project with Innovate UK, breaking down the barriers to electrification for global operators. The project will begin on May 1st.
Chris Wright, CTO and Co-founder of Moixa, explained to Auto Futures that the EV Fleet-Centred Local Energy System project is aimed at optimising growing EV fleets, illustrating the benefits of smart charging for large fleet operators and, of course, cutting carbon emissions, air pollution and energy costs.
“You can’t just plug in hundreds of electric vans at the same time and expect them to charge without impacting the grid,” says Wright. “To combat this, we are applying our GridShare Platform at UPS’s site in Camden, as the company dips its toes into large EV fleets.”
This project will show how Moixa’s GridShare artificial intelligence software can break down the barriers to electrification for global fleet operators by maximising the cost and carbon savings from EVs. GridShare will analyse hundreds of data sources at UPS’ depot, including energy prices, power demand and the weather, to optimise EV charging, as well as power supply and demand in order to demonstrate how to effectively cut costs.
In short, vehicles will be able to charge when power is cheapest and cleanest.
“We will connect and manage the chargers on-site and control and monitor the energy UPS is using, ensuring that it operates within the grid constraints,” says Wright. “It’s about being smart and not overloading the grid, maintaining the right efficiencies at the right time.”
Supporting The Shift To Electric Fleets
There are more than five million vans, trucks and buses on UK roads, responsible for millions of tonnes of carbon emissions every year. By 2040, 87% of these are expected to be electric and this project will show how fleet operators can integrate smart charging, onsite storage and renewables to manage this transition in a cost-effective way.
What makes this partnership so special is UPS’ own commitment to electrification. In January, UPS announced a commitment to buy 10,000 tailor-made electric vans from UK start-up Arrival. UPS also took a minority stake in the company, demonstrating its commitment to decarbonising its fleet.
“We’re really excited to work with UPS,” adds Wright. “They clearly understand the transition into electrification. Rather than resisting it, they are embracing it as an opportunity.”
UPS will provide its expertise in fleet operation and act as a testbed to demonstrate the business case for AI-led local energy systems, providing a blueprint for other global fleet operators to follow. The Camden site will be used to develop and test the system, as well as to illustrate the business need for this innovative solution that is helping to break down the barriers surrounding large scale transitioning to EV fleets.
Fundamentally, with UPS becoming part of the transition, it represents a massive global opportunity for everyone involved; most importantly, this partnership alone will prove that Moixa’s system can ensure an efficient, reliable and low-cost smart charging solution in a dense city such as London.
Moixa specialises in energy storage, which reaches far beyond electric vehicles. However, over the next ten years, a large proportion of the storage which will get attached to the grid will, as Wright says, “have wheels attached to it.”
“We apply the machine learning and AI technologies that we developed to optimise how things charge and discharge, and apply that to EV chargers.”
This, of course, adds complexity, as Moixa had to apply its AI prediction mechanisms to new processes, such as predicting plug-in and plug-out times for EVs to protect the grid.
“We’ve developed our existing prediction algorithms to look at other data points, such as when people will plugin and the state of charge,” adds Wright. “This means that we can optimise energy usage and reduce the cost as much as possible.”
For example, the first step for the UPS partnership is to make sure that the company is charging its fleet within the grid restraints. The second is to reduce the cost of charging as far as possible, by identifying when to charge. The easiest way for this, says Wright, is to optimise the renewable energy on-site and the time of use tariff.
But it doesn’t stop there. Moixa will also use its expertise to deliver value to local electricity networks and provide opportunities for stores and businesses in the area.
“There are innovative energy suppliers in the market place who are exposing their wholesale risk as an opportunity for clients, which means that we can also have another revenue stream and mechanism to reduce costs,” adds Wright.
Through this, companies can turn what could be perceived as a problem, such as EV charging, to a huge revenue, cost-reduction and carbon-reduction opportunity.
These are the new opportunities in the modern era of electrification and, with the help of specialists such as Moixa, companies are finally grasping the opportunity in front of them.