Fleet News

Find out why big organisations got involved in world's biggest EV trial

Connected vehicles in cityscape graphic

Key stakeholders from Optimise Prime, the world’s biggest electric vehicle (EV) trial, will be presenting and holding a Q&A session on day one of Fleet Live 2019 next week (Oct 8).  

Optimise Prime is a three-year project that launched earlier this year involving UK Power Networks and data business Hitachi Vantara, supported by Scottish and Southern Energy Networks and Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions.  

Royal Mail, Centrica and Uber are key stakeholders in the project who will jointly run 3,000 EVs over the next three years.  

The project looks to identify ways of overcoming the infrastructure concerns that are one of the biggest barriers to success with fleets looking to adopt EVs.  

The trial will also look closely at total cost of ownership (TCO) for vehicles used in it. Optimise Prime is intentionally vehicle agnostic and includes depot, home, and on-the-road charging scenarios.  

Stuart Fowler, Centrica Business Solutions DNO commercial manager, said: “It’s still early days, but we will be talking about why we got involved and what we’re trying to achieve.  

On the surface, the project has some simple goals looking at electrification of fleet vehicles, but there are many complexities around vehicle charging management, data and how this links to networks. 

“Having the stakeholders there at the show to present and lead the debate will also shed light on our different objectives and perspectives.”  

Big commercial vehicle operators must overcome several obstacles before they adopt EVs on a large scale – from the up-front capital costs to managing charge times.  

Optimise Prime stakeholders are also looking to understand whether these vehicles can support the electricity network and help keep costs low for customers by discharging during peak times and recharging off-peak. 

The seminar takes place on day one of Fleet Live 2019 (Tuesday, October 8) at 2pm, entitled Optimise Prime: The world's biggest electric vehicle trial.


Fleet Live will give the fleet management community and decision-makers the chance to face future challenges and opportunities together with two days of learning, sharing and networking on October 8-9 at the NEC in Birmingham.

The event is complementary for fleet professionals and delegates can sign up for their ticket at www.fleet-live.co.uk/online-registration.

Other seminars and speakers at Fleet Live 2019 

When: Tuesday, October 8

11.00 Mobility as a Service

Tony Douglas, BMW Group Mobility Services head of brand

Sandra Witzel, Skedgo head of marketing

Explore the latest developments in MaaS and learn how cities will change in the future to facilitate smart transport. Our speakers will explain how manufacturers are shifting to become tech companies to try to keep pace with giants like Google and Apple. Plus, insight on how BMW and MercedesBenz have joined forces on mobility to battle Silicon Valley.

11.00 Which safety technology is best for your fleet?  

Vipul Dave, Thatcham UK global sales manager  

Gill Milner, Aviva Technical Account Manager  

Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are saving lives, but they’re also pushing up repair costs. Thatcham will look at repairability costs for ADAS and how this is affecting option choice and how it may impact on the roll-out of advanced technologies in the future.  

This session will also assess how insurers view ADAS technology in terms of reducing insurance premiums for fleets.  

Aviva’s session will explain ADAS’s relationship with insurance, what is making an impact today, the technology versus claims debate and what is coming next.  

14.00 Smart urban transport strategies  

Chris Lane, Transport for West Midlands head of transport innovation  

Tom Hayes, Oxford City Council executive board member for A Safer and Greener Environment  

Access case studies on how smart transport strategies have been implemented in two major areas of the UK.  

This session will look at the Whim mobility app in action in the West Midlands and how Oxford is working with fleets to tackle challenges on air quality and last-mile deliveries in the city’s zero emissions zone.  

14.00 Optimise Prime: the world’s biggest electric vehicle trial  

Duncan Webb, Royal Mail commercial director  

Suzanne Phillips, Hitachi Capital head of mobility solutions  

Stuart Fowler, Centrica DNO commercial manager An in-depth discussion on the UK’s biggest  

Commercial electric vehicle trial. Key stakeholders including Royal Mail, Centrica and Hitachi will discuss in an open Q&A style the objectives they are looking to achieve, what the process has been like so far and the next steps as part of the three-year project.  

Optimise Prime looks to bring together learnings from all those involved and explore the up-front costs that are currently holding back many of the country’s biggest commercial vehicle operators from making the switch to EVs. 

When: Wednesday October 9  

11.00 Mobility strategies for van and truck operators  

Dave Phatak, director, Ford Commercial Solutions (FCS) division at Ford Mobility in Europe  

Experts in the industry will talk about last-mile delivery, how businesses will operate in the future within cities that are looking to reduce emissions, improve air quality and leverage connected technology to help fleets improve efficiency.  

This session will include details on Ford’s Mobility strategy on last-mile delivery.  

Sponsored by: Alphabet 

11.00 How to implement an electric vehicle strategy  

Gary McRae, Urban Foresight principal consultant  

Fraser Crichton, Dundee City Council corporate fleet operations manager  

Simon King, fleet and procurement director, Mitie  

Gary McRae and Fraser Crichton will explain how Dundee became a pioneer of plug-in vehicles.  

Mitie’s Simon King, Mitie will also present a case study on his company’s journey to switching a large proportion of its car and van fleet to EV.  

Sponsored by: LeasePlan 

14.00 Efficient movement of people and goods on the strategic road network  

Karla Jakeman, connected transport innovation lead at Innovate UK  

Peter Leavy, Vodafone Internet of Things (IoT) portfolio manager connected car services  

Innovate UK’s Karla Jakeman will explain solutions which use innovative technologies to leverage smarter, greener and more sustainable future mobility systems for the efficient movement of people and goods.  

There will also be a case study from Vodafone on how the road network needs to be technologically upgraded to facilitate the smart roads of the future.  

14.00 Clean air zones  

Jason Torrance, UK100 clean air cities director  

UK100’s Jason Torrance will present an update to fleet operators about a Fleet News/UK100 initiative with UK business and local authority policymakers that seeks to secure national and local support and consensus for the delivery of clean air zones. 

Sponsored by:  

ALD Automotive 




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