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Are electric vehicles within your remit?

When we spoke to energy managers whilst carrying out research for our Future Utilities Manager Report, they told us that their role is becoming increasingly varied, with new areas of responsibility – including electric vehicles (EVs). As Government forecasts predict that electric vehicle numbers could reach 10.5 million by 2030, if electric vehicles aren’t already within your remit, it’s likely they will be in the not-so-distant future.

At Inenco, we’re always encouraging our customers to future-proof their businesses by anticipating and preparing for the many changes that are inherent to the energy market. So, what should today’s energy managers be considering in order to prepare for tomorrow’s EV revolution?

Installing charging points

One of the key barriers to the adoption of EVs is the lack of infrastructure to support them – charging points are becoming more commonplace, but there are many areas where they are few and far between. This has led the Government to dedicate £1 billion in funding to boost the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles, which will include investment to install thousands more EV charging stations.

Energy managers should be thinking about whether they need to invest in installing EV charging points on-site. By working with other departments, they can get a good idea of whether this would be feasible, and if so, how many they will need. Looking at the types of transport in use, arrival and departure times, and the EV charging demands of both employees and customers should help them to work this out. They will then need to compare the predicted future demand to their current demand, to identify whether they will need any additional capacity in order to support EV charging points on site.

Switching to an EV fleet

Businesses that operate a fleet of vehicles should be making a particular effort to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to electric vehicles. Transport was a key focus of the Clean Growth Strategy, which includes plans to incentivise fleet operators of cars, vans and HGVs to make the transition to ultra-low or zero emissions vehicles. Car manufacturers are expanding their electric vehicle ranges – Ford, for example, has stated that there will be more than 10 EV models in its range by 2020. We’re also starting to see big businesses make the switch to EVs, with Royal Mail recently investing in nine electric vehicle prototypes for a year-long trial.

As the Government’s drive towards a low-carbon future increases, we’re likely to see more urban areas adopt measures like London’s new toxicity charge (or ‘T-charge’), which will see drivers of vehicles that don’t meet the Euro 4/IV emissions standards charged £10 per day to drive in central London. Businesses may need to switch to alternative fleet vehicles to be able to operate in urban areas, and they will also need to consider the vehicles that staff are using to reach their site. Energy managers should weigh up whether switching to EVs would be cost-effective for their business – while they are typically cheaper to fuel and maintain, they are more expensive to purchase than their diesel and petrol counterparts.

Reducing their consumption

As EVs become more popular, there will be an increase in demand that is peakier and less predictable. Our Future Utilities Manager Report revealed that the mainstream adoption of EVs will put further strain on our ageing network system and make it more complex to balance the grid, which is likely to increase businesses’ non-commodity costs.

This means that energy managers will see increasing pressures to reduce their energy costs now and into the future. This will involve a number of measures including energy efficiency, staff and customer energy awareness, demand management and even self-generation of energy from either renewable or fossil sources.

They should also investigate battery technology, as this can enable businesses to mitigate excessive electricity costs by storing electricity during periods of low demand, for use during peak times. Batteries could protect businesses from the expansion of time of day tariffs we’re likely to see over the next decade, and create revenue by enabling them to participate in a demand management scheme. They are also becoming more commercially viable as the costs of batteries is falling, and the Clean Growth Strategy outlined plans for Government investment in technology that would bring down battery costs further.

Get ready for the EV revolution 

As the energy landscape continues to change, energy managers will see their role evolve and transport will increasingly become part of their remit. Inenco’s team of experts stay up-to-date with all the latest trends and upcoming changes in the energy market, so we can advise our customers on the best strategic decisions to make for their business. Talk to one of our experts today – call us on 08451 46 36 26 or email