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DPD to trial mobile EV charging solution


Parcel delivery company DPD is set to trial a new mobile powerbank charging concept that could provide a solution for commercial van drivers unable to charge their electric vehicles (EVs) at home overnight.

The OnCharge ZIR0 prototype charging system will be trialed at DPD’s Bicester eco-depot, which DPD claims is the most sustainable facility in the company’s UK network. The multi-van trial will allow drivers to collect a take-home powerbank from the depot, before driving home.

The prototype power bank will charge the main traction battery of the van overnight, resulting in a 100% charge by the start of the driver’s day.

The prototype is the world’s first purpose-built ruggedised powerbank, designed for fleet commercial vehicles. With a real operating capacity of 50kWh, the system is designed to improve the Electric Light Commercial Vehicle (eLCV) driver experience. The OnCharge system takes just 90 seconds to load in the evening, and unload in the morning.

The OnCharge system has the potential to provide a solution to drivers that don’t have access to off-street parking and will help avoid reliance on public charging.

The prototype trials will allow OnCharge and DPD engineers to gather field data and review driver feedback. It will also provide insight into potential integration with DPD’s Bicester on-site solar panel array.

The trial is part of OnCharge Energy’s Field Test and Development programme and a key step towards scaling up customer production in late 2023.

Philip Clarke, CEO OnCharge Energy, said: “In terms of productivity, the most efficient time to charge a commercial EV is overnight, but around 70% of fleet van drivers can’t charge at home.

“We believe that a take-home powerbank that you can collect at the end of the working day could revolutionise commercial EV fleet management and help encourage more drivers to switch to EVs. DPD already have a huge amount of experience running a large EV fleet and the Bicester eco-depot is the perfect place to trial our solution. We are looking forward to working with the team and hopefully making their EV fleet even more efficient and effective.”

DPD’s aim is to be the most sustainable parcel delivery company in the UK and the company is on track to have over 4,000 EVs on the road by the end of this year, when it will be delivering to 30 towns and cities using EVs only. Nearby Oxford was DPD’s first ‘green city’, with all deliveries made by the Bicester eco-depot’s zero emission delivery vehicles.

Olly Craughan, head of sustainability, DPD, added: “It’s fantastic to work with OnCharge to try this system in the real-world. Working together will give us the opportunity to really understand the impact it can have on our drivers first-hand. It allows both us and OnCharge to see how the system works under different scenarios and allows our transport and sustainability teams to explore how an agile powerbank model can amplify our investment in EV and on-site renewable generation.”

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