World's largest electric vehicle project given Ofgem go-ahead

The world’s largest electric vehicle (EV) project has been given the go-ahead by energy regulator Ofgem.

The Optimise Prime project will look to bring together leading power, technology, fleet and transport companies to test and implement the best approaches to the EV rollout.

Spearheaded by data firm Hitachi Vantara and electricity distributor UK Power Networks, the trial will see up to 3,000 electric vehicles from Centrica, Uber and a large UK depot-based parcel carrier take to the road.

The project is sponsored by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), Hitachi Europe and Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions.

Ian Cameron, head of innovation at UK Power Networks, said: “For electric vehicles it’s no longer a case of the tipping point, but the jumping point, because when large-scale commercial electric vehicle operators decide to switch from petrol or diesel to electric the impact will be instant.

“There’s incredible potential to improve the air quality of our towns and cities and we want to help that happen at the lowest possible cost to our customers.”

More than half of the renewable energy we use comes from biomass.

The three-year innovation project said it aims to come up with practical ways of overcoming the costs “currently holding back” a number of the UK’s biggest commercial vehicle operators from making the switch to EVs.

Richard Hartshorn of SSEN, said: “We are delighted to partner in this project, sharing our lessons learned and feedback from other EV projects.

“By collaborating with industry experts, we will all gain a greater insight into the impact of EVs, helping ensure a successful transition to low carbon transport.”