Northern Powergrid has announced three key initiatives that will allow its 2,500 employees the chance to get 'hands on' with electric vehicle technology across its 28 sites.
The distribution network operator (DNO) will also use the opportunity to observe both how its employees interact with the EVs and the impact they have on the network.
As part of the initiative, the company will install new EV charging points at 11 of its sites. The aim is to encourage employees to go electric well ahead of the 2040 ban on new diesel and petrol car sales.
This will be supported by a second initiative to install on-site vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging points that will not only boost the number of EV chargers available, but will also contribute to a trial of best use of V2G in fleet operations. Installation for the first of 16 V2G chargers will begin this month.
Furthermore, Northern Powergrid will begin a process of fleet electrification, starting with its pool cars and is undertaking a survey of EV ownership in the business to ensure the growing EV driver base has the right infrastructure, breaking down barriers to adoption across its own workforce.
"We have to get hands on and lead by example. We are starting small to begin with, bringing on five Nissan Leaf EVs that will be available for our people to use," explains Jim Cardwell, head of policy development at Northern Powergrid. "Although colleagues frequently have to take our vehicles to places where there is no electricity, there is huge internal appetite to decarbonise as much of our fleet as possible, as soon as is practical."
Northern Powergrid has been engaged with a number of EV projects including a £9.8 million collaborative programme announced by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and led by Nissan to add 1,000 V2G charging points to the UK's network.
Cardwell continued: "These small internal steps forward for us are part of a bigger drive to learn by observing ourselves and build on the strong work done under our Customer-Led Network Revolution programme - recycling the learning into every day operations. Charging infrastructure is moving and improving rapidly. By using ourselves as a testbed, we are better positioned to understand how our customers will engage with these emerging technologies."