Fleets and Depots

The decarbonisation of fleets and depots provides an excellent opportunity for local authorities and other public sector organisations to meet their net zero goals, particularly if existing fossil fuel vehicles are coming to the end of their life.

The Greater South East Net Zero Hub can provide free advice and support about how to take the next step. Please get in touch with us for a conversation

Go to net zero with help from the Net Zero Go service!

Net Zero Go helps local authorities to deliver local net zero projects by offering free access to a library of guides, articles, case studies, toolkits and datasets, alongside tailored assistance from its network of experts.
The facility is provided by Energy Systems Catapult and supported by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.
Click HERE to register for this free service.

Existing Solutions and Funding

Small Engine Vehicle Fleets

For smaller vehicle fleets, such as works vans, the switch to electric vehicles is the obvious route to decarbonise. This requires the introduction of charge points at depots. Spelthorne Borough Council decided to introduce low-carbon vehicles for staff business travel and fleet operations. Find out about their experience of making the switch.

Read the case study about Spelthorne's low-carbon vehicle switch

Depot Electrification

Making a depot ready for an electric fleet entails the upgrading of its connection to the electricity grid and installing vehicle chargers of varying specifications. This requires a strategic understanding of long-term requirements by both decision-makers and project officers. A knowledge of the technology and technical language used to specify depot charging systems will also be necessary. To help local authorities navigate the process, a guide has been developed by our regional colleagues at the Midlands Net Zero Hub.

Download the guide to electrification of depots

Workplace Charging Scheme

The Workplace Charging Scheme provides support towards the up-front costs of the purchase and installation of electric vehicle chargepoints. The Scheme is open to businesses, charities and public sector organisations that meet the applicant and site eligibility criteria. Funded by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles and administered by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

Access the Workplace Charging Scheme guidance

Finding New Solutions

Innovation Exchange Process

Innovate UK KTN has developed an Innovation Exchange process. This is a cross-sectoral programme that matches an organisation’s needs and challenges to companies with relevant innovative solutions. The Greater South East Net Zero Hub has partnered up with Innovate UK KTN to use the Innovation Exchange process to identify novel solutions for public sector vehicle fleets.

In response to local authority needs in the region, the Hub and Innovate UK KTN developed two Innovation Exchange Challenge Statements to explore innovative approaches to the decarbonisation of large engines and for zero emission infrastructure for fleets.

Scroll down for further details about the two Innovation Exchange challenges, the organisations and ideas shortlisted for the Innovation Exchange process, and the solutions selected. If you would like the Hub to arrange a no-commitment discussion with any of these providers please get in touch.

Contact the Greater South East Net Zero Hub for a no-commitment discussion with providers

Innovation Exchange Challenge - Fleet Infrastructure Solutions

The Challenge Statement issued by Innovate UK KTN called for market-ready solutions for local authority fleets to provide affordable zero emission infrastructure technology within busy sites or sites with grid capacity issues. The organisations and ideas coming forward that were shortlisted through the process are listed below.

  • Miralis – Energy management system for complete fleet energy management.
  • EDF – Fleet electrification tool. Consultancy services to the local authorities and based on the outcome, offer a range of EDF products to meet their requirements through a roadmap of activities and services to decarbonise fleets.
  • Logan – Hydrogen technology. Experienced SME which can deliver a range of electrolysis units to produce hydrogen.
  • UK Power Networks Services – Smart EV charging systems with AI and modelling approach to avoid grid upgrades. An integrated system to manage the energy coming in and the consumption required from multiple EVs.

The key project developed as a result of the Innovation Exchange was the electrification of the bus fleet and associated infrastructure for Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA). This used the idea put forward by UK Power Networks Services. CPCA has been able to obtain funding from the government Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme to achieve delivery. A case study can be accessed below.

Case Study - Cambridgeshire Zero-Emission Buses

The 30 electric buses went into service in May 2023 and have been very successful – significantly more reliable than equivalent diesel buses. The buses are getting back to depot late evening, after a full day’s work, still carrying a 40% charge.”

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority

Innovation Exchange Challenge - Large-engine Vehicle Solutions

Carbon emissions from vehicles with larger engines such as buses, waste collection lorries and fire engines have become a commonly identified source of hard-to-tackle emissions in public sector net zero plans. The approach to take is less obvious and more challenging, due to the greater engine size and energy requirement.

The Challenge Statement issued by Innovate UK KTN called for innovative solutions for local authority fleets to provide affordable technology to decarbonise vehicles with large engines. The organisations and ideas coming forward that were shortlisted through the process are listed below.

  • Electra – Conversion solution to swap over existing fleet from diesel to electric.
  • Magtec – Full electric or hybrid retrofit – has proven capability and at scale. Can also do diesel trains.
  • Ricardo – A fuel-cell retrofit program for a range of vehicles. Possibility to do a trial with one vehicle.
  • ULEMCo – Hydrogen dual fuel solution proposing to add hydrogen tanks onto existing fleet with no engine modification. Carbon saving through diesel displacement. Can currently reduce carbon emissions if the hydrogen is produced from a renewable source.

The key project developed through this Innovation Exchange was a feasibility study by Oxfordshire County Council and Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue, funded by Innovate UK. This used the idea put forward by hydrogen transport solutions specialists ULEMCo. The study explored how a combination of hydrogen fuel cells and battery energy storage could be provide the solution for a fleet of zero-emission fire engines for the county. A case study can be accessed below. The government has now awarded ULEMCo £3.9 million to develop the project and produce a prototype. The project is worth £7.8 million, with industry matching the government’s financial contribution.

Case Study - Decarbonisation innovation for large-engine vehicles

Next Steps - Innovation Exchange Process

Greater South East Net Zero Hub and Innovate UK KTN, are considering re-running these two transport challenges and involving organisations that are new to the process as well as those that have previously participated.

This service would be provided to public sector organisations free of charge. There is no commitment required from organisations that participate in the Innovation Exchange process to any solution that might arise. Participating organisations benefit in any case through gaining a more complete understanding of the solutions and opportunities available. The Hub can also provide support and advice to help identify funding for any project that might be developed.

Please contact us if this is of interest:

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