SES Water starts electric van trial with eye on vehicle-to-grid

Henrietta Stock

SES Water has decarbonised its power consumption, the next challenge is its transport emissions. The firm is trialling 10 electric vans with a view to ultimately linking vehicles to its other generation and flex assets as part of an advanced energy strategy.

SES Water is trialling 10 Nissan e-NV200 vans, installing chargers at its head office and at a treatment works. The aim is to prove that EVs can be cost competitive with diesels and plot a route to broader deployment.

The company will lease the vehicles, while Drax Group, parent company of SES’s renewable energy supplier Haven Power, will provide a package that includes the cost of electricity for charging, telematics and usage data. Drax also helped select charging infrastructure for the two sites and will provide maintenance and support services.


Energy & Carbon Manager, Henrietta Stock, hopes the five-year trial will inform a broader rollout plan, by which time there should be a wider range of vehicles to meet more of SES Water’s use cases. At that point, the company, which harnesses both onsite generation and load to sell flexibility services to the grid, may also look at integrating EVs with its energy assets.

“We’re not looking at vehicle-to-grid (V2G) just yet, but it is something we have our eye on. The data from the trial will lay the foundation to do V2G in the future.”

Get basics right

For now, she says the company is concentrating on the basics, part of which is process.

“We switched to 100 per cent renewable electricity supply last June, which reduced our carbon emissions significantly. The major remaining aspect is emissions from vehicle fuel – so that comes under my energy and carbon remit. But we manage our vehicle fleet separately, so we need to ensure collaboration between departments,” says Stock.

“I think that is a challenge businesses face – the vehicle fleet is not seen as an energy asset, despite the fact that we report on CO2 emissions.”

There are other housekeeping aspects to manage, such as working out the billing and benefits for employees that charge their cars at work.  “I don’t think companies are on top of that yet,” says Stock. “Even without company charging points there can be challenges in charging for mileage in an EV.”

Then there’s the general aspect of helping staff become more comfortable with EVs.

“Quite a lot of people are unsure about electric vehicles – will there be charging spaces when we need them, range anxiety – minor concerns can easily become issues in a work environment so they need to be managed.”

Call to car firms

Stock says Drax has provided support in managing those challenges, but thinks other stakeholders could be more proactive.

“There could be more of a push from vehicle manufacturers and leasing companies,” she says. “Demonstrating that EVs are cost competitive is really important and needs their input.”

A version of this article was first published in The Energyst’s 2019 EV Report, available as a free download.

The report includes a survey of industrial, commercial and public sector organisations on EV and charging rollout plans, including their attitudes towards smart charging and vehicle-to-grid. It also contains interviews with businesses installing charging infrastructure, including Marston’s, Mitie, SES Water and UPS. There are also views from charge point operators, technology providers, consultants and technology companies, as well as energy companies.

Download the report here.

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