Challenge Details

Challenge: Optimisation of on-site renewable energy for EV fleet charging at council depots

Ten local authorities within the Cardiff City Region program have committed to explore solutions that will enable zero-emission council owned fleets and to create demonstrable innovation projects that will help proliferate mass deployment. At a workshop this summer several challenges and opportunities that this KTN iX™ set of challenges will address were identified.

One such example is Merthyr Tydfil County Borough who have a fleet of approximately 140 vehicles with a mix of cars, vans, and HGVs. They have a requirement for all their cars and vans to be zero emission by 2025 and 2030 for HGVs. The fleet is split across several sites but mainly kept at two locations (both back to base) with 30 and 70 vehicles respectively. The larger site has 70kW of Solar which is split across two buildings.

With this ambitious strategy a number of chargepoints are currently being procured now for installation in early 2022 as well as Electric vehicles such as Nissan ENV200s and Merthyr are in the process of upgrading their grid connection to 1 MW with an onsite substation.

Merthyr are looking at how they can increase their self-consumption of on-site solar energy at a depot level through either physical or digital solutions that relate to the management of renewable energy for EV charging. This will help reduce operational costs for the local authority.

To give more context a few solutions could be:

  • Energy storage that stores solar during the day to allow charging during evening hours
  • Smart management and scheduling of vehicles so that they can charge off solar during daylight hours
  • Increasing renewable energy at the site with relevant storage and digital technologies
  • Smart management of the renewable energy system
  • Ideas around microgrids
  • Other relevant solutions

The CCR stakeholders (including the participating local authorities) are now actively inviting the UK’s innovation and solution capability to come forward and engage with this commercial opportunity.

Proposals are welcome for:

  • Existing market-ready technologies
  • Established solutions from other sectors of industry which can be adapted for this application.
  • Development proposals based on existing competences.
  • Universities and catapults with solutions above TRL 5 +

Potential solutions may come from.

  • Automotive
  • Rail
  • Construction and infrastructure
  • Heavy engineering
  • The Energy Sector
  • or from organisations with relevant expertise operating in any industry sector.

The challenge owners will not consider solutions that involve:

  • Solutions requiring significant National Grid reinforcement to operate.
  • Solutions that are not scalable across and modular in approach

Rewards and benefits

Successful applicants will be invited to

  • Pitch their solutions at a KTN chaired session (January 2022) attended by representatives of the participating Local Authorities and the CCR
  • Potential access to innovation deployment through the CCR Challenge Fund Programme (Challenge Fund – Cardiff Capital Region) which runs between 2021 until 2024. Funding is initially being made available for market testing and exploring LEV Fleet Innovation opportunities for the region, aligning with, and building on existing infrastructure investments with a view to unlocking commercial opportunities and addressing public services needs in the region.
  • Presentations can be uploaded to KTNs Innovation Marketplace which is open to all Local Authorities

Solution Requirements

Functional Requirements

  • Must work and be applicable across multiple locations
  • Can be either a digital or a physical solution
  • Human intervention should require little or minimal training and offer consistent results regardless of operator.
  • Solutions utilising digital platforms or applications need to be compliant to common mobile development platforms and operational with known/standard data formats and availability.
  • Demonstrate a cost and operational benefit from an energy perspective to the local authorities participating in this programme.

Technical Characteristics 

  • Varied operational site and location conditions.
  • Solutions requiring outdoor equipment (including sensors) must be fit for purpose, able to operate in harsh and challenging environments (humidity/high temperatures etc) and designed to be operated outdoors
  • Designed and compatible with UK power system standards and regulations.
  • Compliant with UK Health and Safety Regulations and Standards

Operating Conditions

  • Varied operational site conditions and applicable to urban and inner-city locations
  • Capable of being operated remotely across multiple locations.
  • All weather conditions and temperatures.
  • Deliver and support fallibility in terms of charging point provision (rate of charge) in both the Council offices and depots.

Cost requirement and market opportunity

  • Costs will be proportional to deployability and demonstrated benefit
  • For the right product, the solution could be used across the clients portfolio and wider
  • This challenge offers a multi year development opportunity for the right solution.

Eligibility and assessment criteria

  • Collaborative solutions (B2B and B2R&D) are valid applications.   If collaborative solutions are being tabled a single lead organisation needs to register the application.  This organisation can be either an industrial or academic partner.
  • Industrial participants should be established businesses, start-ups, SMEs or individual entrepreneurs
  • All organisations participating in this programme including members of collaboration not registering as lead organisations need to be UK based or have the intention to set up a UK base.
  • Although not essential for the assessment process, Welsh based companies offering solutions will be keenly encouraged as well as consortia programmes involving one or more Welsh based practitioners.
  • Technology based and dependent solutions are expected to be around TRL5 + (more on Technology Readiness Levels)