ODS transport manger Owain Pearce with two of the new EV's. Pic: ODS

ESO helps ODS go electric with first EV’s added to fleet

 5 mins | By Karen David
 | Energy | Infrastructure | Automotive | Sustainability | Apr 28th 2020

ODS has taken delivery of nine electric vehicles (EV’s) as part of Energy Superhub Oxford (ESO), a £41m project designed to integrate and dramatically decarbonise energy, heat and transport systems across the city.

Three Nissan Leaf cars, three Nissan ENV200 vans and three Renault Kango vans have been delivered to ODS and a further 24 EV’s will join its fleet in the coming months. The cars and vans will be put to use in areas such as street cleaning, waste and recycling, parks, car parks and building services, and the company aims to electrify 25 per cent of its 330-vehicle fleet by 2023. ODS (formerly Oxford Direct Services) is owned by and provides facilities and services for Oxford City Council.

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Owain Pearce, transport manager for ODS said:

“ODS has been a proponent of implementing electric vehicles into its fleet for years. Particularly with the current climate emergency, it is the timely and the responsible thing to do and improve air quality for the city. ODS is striving to support and expedite that, where it is economically viable to bring increased numbers of electric vehicles onto our fleet.”

The company is adding charge points at its depots to accommodate the EV’s, including at some employees’ homes, as Pearce explained: “We already have some charging points at various depot locations and we are in the process of installing a larger number across four sites and three homes for the incoming electric fleet.” ODS users of the EV’s have reacted positively to them and more staff members wish to take part as new vehicles join the fleet.

The project is enabling Oxford City Council to evaluate its existing fleet and assess its strategy for electrification based on usage, range, emissions, costs and suitable electric replacement.

As part of its support for fleet owners to transition to EV’s, ODS is also part of Oxford’s vehicle-to-grid project V2GO. This national scheme aims to evaluate the business case for using commercial EV’s, the potential benefits of smart-charging technologies, and the commercial viability of vehicle-to-grid as a means of balancing electricity supply. This project is currently in the data gathering phase, with larger scale vehicles fitted with tracking devices to log metrics such as mileage and dwell times.

ODS’ electric vehicles have been funded by the ESO project, a consortium including Oxford City Council, Pivot Power (an EDF Renewables UK company), Habitat Energy, Invinity Energy Systems (formerly RedT), Kensa Contracting and University of Oxford.

Tim Rose, ESO Programme Manager, Pivot Power commented: “Pivot Power’s purpose is to accelerate the UK’s transition to a clean, electric future. The smart power network we are installing in Oxford will deliver flexible, reliable power at scale to fast-track EV adoption. As part of EDF Renewables UK, our aim is to replicate this model throughout the UK, supporting greater renewable generation and delivering power where and when it is needed to enable mass-scale, rapid electric vehicle charging.”

Tim Rose, ESO programme manager. Pic: Pivot Power

On whether the project’s timescales will be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, a Pivot Power spokesperson said that while it is affecting certain activity, overall project timescales and deliverables remain on track, adding that this may change and the number one priority for all consortium members is the health and safety of everyone involved.

How ESO aims to decarbonise power, heat and transport systems

Energy Superhub Oxford (ESO) is a world-first project pioneering a model for the rapid decarbonisation of power, transport and heat in cities across the UK and worldwide. It is showcasing rapid electric vehicle charging, hybrid battery energy storage systems, low carbon heating, and smart energy management to improve air quality and support Oxford’s journey to zero carbon. ESO aims to save 10,000 tonnes of CO2 per year by 2021, rising to 25,000 tonnes per year by 2032.

To kickstart Oxford’s switch to EV’s, Pivot Power is installing the world’s most powerful charging network, delivering up to 25MW of power via an 8km private wire network around the south of Oxford. This network will connect public charging facilities at Redbridge Park & Ride directly to National Grid’s high voltage transmission network. It has capacity to expand with EV adoption and provide power for local businesses seeking to electrify their fleets, from logistics companies to bus operators.

The Park & Ride EV public Superhub aims to include 20 charge points ranging from rapid (50kW+) to ultra-rapid (150kW+), capable of charging a car in 15-50 minutes, and 30 fast charge points (min 7kW) which can charge a car over a period of hours, for example while Park & Ride users are at work or shopping in the city centre.

Pivot Power is also developing the world’s largest ever hybrid energy storage system, comprising a 50MW lithium-ion battery and a 2MW vanadium redox flow battery, supplied by Invinity Energy Systems, which will share the grid connection with the private wire network. This hybrid system will combine the high-power capabilities of a lithium-ion battery with the heavy cycling, non-degrading characteristics of vanadium redox flow technology to create an innovative solution which will meet the complex demands of multiple energy applications.

Oxford-based Habitat Energy’s machine learning technology will optimise the system and help balance the grid by enabling greater use of clean, renewable energy sources, while carrying out trading on the day ahead, intraday and balancing mechanism markets. It will also predict overall demand on the private wire network to support the management of future fleet charging.

The project is funding a ‘Try before you buy’ scheme for Oxford’s Hackney Carriage drivers with Electric Blue, which aims to accelerate the switch to zero emission capable (ultra-low emission vehicles – ULEV) Hackney Carriage vehicles. The scheme enables drivers to trial either an all-electric Nissan Dynamo or an LEVC (London Electric Vehicle Company) for two or four weeks, with the aim of reducing barriers to adoption.

Two electric LEVC taxis are already operating in Oxford, with two more on the road shortly and several drivers making purchasing enquiries. From 2025 drivers will only be able to get a licence if they have a zero-emission capable cab.

ESO is enabling Oxford residents to benefit from low carbon heating solutions. The project is supporting the installation of Kensa Contracting’s innovative low carbon heating solution which combines ‘shoebox’ ground source heat pumps with smart controls and a time of use tariff to optimise heat production for cost and carbon savings.

ESO is a 3-year project part-funded by the UK government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund under its “Prospering from the Energy Revolution” programme.

About the Author

Karen David

Karen has a long career in writing and communications in technology, finance and creative sectors in Oxfordshire, the UK and internationally.

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