UK to roll out heavy duty BEV chargers

Government support aims to revolutionise the country's e-HGV infrastructure

UK to roll out heavy duty BEV chargers
The UK is offering support for development of its battery electric HGV sector

A charging network and a fleet of 140 battery electric heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) will be deployed in the UK over the next two years as part of a government-funded project.

The £100mn ($121mn) ‘Electric Freightway’ project will install over 200 350kW chargers at motorway services areas, truck stops and commercial depots around the country, as well as two 1MW capacity chargers. 

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Over 140 e-HGVs will be supplied by UK-based companies to use the network, which is being developed by technology firm Gridserve as the lead partner among 33 companies taking part in the project. 

Other partners include Hitachi Zero Carbon, Amazon, Royal Mail and Sainsbury’s supermarkets.

“We look forward to demonstrating and proving that battery-powered electric heavy goods vehicles represents the optimum path to choose, delivering significant benefits over other technology routes in respect of ease and scale of deployment, driver experience, and favourable economics,” says Gridserve CEO Toddington Harper.

Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and battery electric vehicles are both considered viable options for heavy goods trucking, with the Climate Change Committee and the UK's National Grid both undertaking modelling studies on the different technologies last year. 

The project — funded jointly by the government and consortium members — will last seven years, with two years of infrastructure and fleet set-up and five years of data collection. The charging infrastructure will be supplied by 100pc net zero energy.

‘Week of action”

The project is one of a series of announcements by the UK government this week in the electric vehicle sector. 

The government has said it will also provide £200mn in financing for 370 zero emissions trucks and 57 electric charging sites as a separate undertaking to the Electric Freightway project. Other announcements include £2.4mn funding for a Freight Innovation Fund (FIF), designed to help small logistics businesses develop new technologies.

The projects have been welcomed by the sector.

“The real-world demonstrators will answer many of the practical questions operators have and, in turn, give our members the confidence to invest in the zero emission lorries needed to drive down carbon emissions from our sector,” says Richard Smith, managing director of the Road Haulage Association.

This week has also seen official publication of the zero emissions vehicle mandate, which stipulates that 80pc of new cars and 70pc of new vans sold in Great Britain should be zero emission by 2030, following the government's delay of the ban on the sale of vehicles with ICEs from 2030 to 2035.

The Department for Transport has also issued a call for evidence to inform the development of its zero emission HGV and coach infrastructure strategy, which is due to be published in 2024.

The department says the strategy will ensure the delivery of the infrastructure required to meet the 2035 and 2040 phase-out dates for non-zero emission HGVs. 

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