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Electric Vehicles

Optimise Prime

Optimise Prime is the world’s biggest trial of commercial EVs. It seeks to understand and minimise the impact that the electrification of commercial vehicles will have on distribution networks. It is developing technical and commercial solutions to save customer costs (estimated to £207m savings by 2030) and enable the faster transition to electric for commercial fleets and private hire vehicle operators. The project is also vital if the UK wants to meet its carbon reduction targets. The accelerated adoption of commercial EVs will save 2.7m tonnes of CO2, equivalent to London’s entire bus fleet running for four years or a full Boeing 747-400 travelling around the world 1,484 times. The flexibility provided by the project will also free up enough capacity on the electricity network to supply a million homes.


Project-on-a-Page summary

Project data

Start date: 01/01/2019
End date: 28/02/2023
Budget: £34,691,000

With businesses buying 58% of all new vehicles in the UK, it is expected that commercial vehicles will determine the speed of the transition to low carbon transport. Compared to vehicles used for domestic purposes, commercial EVs – i.e. vehicles used for business purposes, including the transport of passengers and goods – will have a much greater impact on the electricity network. Therefore, it is important that network operators, technology providers, fleet and transport companies work together to test and implement the best approaches to the EV rollout for commercial enterprises, while keeping costs low for network customers.

Find out more about Optimise Prime at the project’s website here:


Led by global data technology solutions provider Hitachi Vantara and UK Power Networks, this three-year project will see up to 3,000 electric vehicles from Royal Mail, Centrica and Uber, supported by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, Hitachi Europe and Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions. It will be split into three trials, reflecting the three partner fleet use cases:

  • Trial 1: Home Charging (British Gas) – A field study of charging behaviour and flexibility with a return to home fleet.
  • Trial 2: Depot Charging (Royal Mail) – A field study of charging behaviour and flexibility with a depot-based fleet. Additionally, testing of profiled connections.
  • Trial 3: Mixed Charging (Uber) – A study based on analysis of journey data from electric PHVs.

Optimise Prime is innovative in the following respects:

  • It is the first project to specifically address the network challenges of commercial EVs;
  • It employs an advanced IoT platform and machine learning to manage and analyse a large volume of data from EVs and chargers to aid optimal decision making;
  • It will allow ‘self-service’ determination of load profiles by customers, optimising both site and network capacity;
  • It takes a holistic approach, looking at technology, behaviour, and business models to find solutions that work for all stakeholders.

This industry-led Project will create a detailed understanding of the impact of commercial EVs and the opportunities for flexibility. This will allow licensees to accurately forecast and plan mitigations, including flexibility and profiled connections, minimising costs for the connected and connecting customer. Depot based tools and home charging strategies will allow fleet and PHV operators to electrify more quickly at a reasonable cost, without negatively impacting the distribution network.

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