At the start of the FREVUE project, UPS deployed 18 electric vehicles from their central London depot. However, grid constraints prevented simultaneous charging of all vehicles and restricted the further expansion of the fleet. In the framework of the FREVUE project, UPS aimed at converting and deploying 16 additional electric vehicles in London. UPS also intended to upgrade the electric grid capacity and the relevant infrastructure to accommodate the introduction of new electric vehicles.

Logistics operation

UPS decided to deploy retrofitted Mercedes P80E trucks. These 7.5t vehicles were made available at two stages: 10 vehicles in August-September 2014 and six further vehicles in autumn 2015.  The vehicles operate from the UPS depot in central London, located in Camden. 18 Modec EFVs were already operating from this depot prior to FREVUE. Together with the 16 FREVUE co-funded vehicles this makes 34 EFVs out of a total fleet of 164.

The EFVs are charged overnight at the depot. This fits in well with normal operations as the vehicles are stationary overnight whereas during the day they do not stop for more than a few minutes at a time. They operate on relatively shorter routes than the diesel vehicles and are likely to enter the congestion charge zone instead of diesel trucks in order to benefit from the exemption of the charge.

UPS became aware of grid constraints when it was discovered that it was not possible to charge all 18 pre-FREVUE Modec EFVs simultaneously. On planning to deploy the additional 16 FREVUE EFVs, UPS evaluated various options together with the infrastructure provider UK Power Networks, and decided that the best long-term solution was to upgrade for an additional 50 EFVs. The infrastructure upgrade that is now finalised results in the grid capacity and charging points to potentially accommodate 68 EFVs in total. One standard charger was installed per vehicle to ensure simultaneous charging. These chargers cannot be made available to the public due to security requirements at the site.

Integration of ICT solutions

UPS works with a third-party provider to test a grid optimisation software for the charging points of the depot. This software is targeted at minimizing the power demand of the UPS vehicles from the grid and the cost of the power consumed.