Challenge 1: Access to energy infrastructure

World we wish to see:

  • Zero emission HGVs can charge and fuel as required across Scotland, with an ample mix of en route, depot and destination opportunities at reasonable cost.
  • Energy infrastructure is shared between road haulage operators and with other heavy duty vehicles (e.g. coaches, municipal vehicles) where feasible. The Scottish planning system enables a swift and safe transition to charging and fuelling zero emission trucks.
  • Electricity networks have forecast HGV energy use out to 2045 in detail by working in partnership with the haulage sector.
  • Obtaining or enhancing a grid connection is a relatively quick and straightforward process (particularly for smaller connections), well understood by operators and drawing on a shared terminology and understanding.

Already happening

Some manufacturers are offering depot charging services through partners and three major firms have formed Milence which is developing en route high capacity charging (including mega-charging when available) in mainland Europe and the UK.

Various companies already offer charging services for HGVs, including energy-as-a-service models where the operator pays a monthly fee or a cost per kilowatt used. Under this model, the company project-manages the installation and operation of the chargers, and the relationship with the electricity network. These models can be applied to depots or en route charging.

There are en route HGV charging stations at development stage, including two consortia supported by UK Government as part of the zero emission HGV and infrastructure demonstrator programme:

Electric Freightway, a £100million+ consortium led by GRIDSERVE to lay the foundations for a UK-wide network. 70% of the planned chargers will be open access.

eFreight 2030, led by Voltempo and featuring megawatt-charging capacity.

The Scottish public sector and bus operators are exploring shared access to their charging infrastructure.

Energy costs can be reduced and resilience improved by load management software, good advance planning and onsite generation/ batteries.

The overall cost for users connecting to the electricity distribution network reduced from April 2023 due to Ofgem’s Access and Forward-Looking Charges Significant Code Review. A threshold known as the high-cost cap has been introduced to protect customers from excessive costs.

The UK Government is currently conducting a Review of Electricity Market Arrangements which is likely to lead to widescale reform in the way the electricity network is managed. This could impact future electricity prices in Scotland.

The future energy demand for Scottish transport has been forecast. In all scenarios, transport’s energy demand is expected to be well within the capabilities of the Scottish renewable energy sector.

Hydrogen distributers are confident that they can provide hydrogen as required and confirm that investment is sufficiently available to them.

Some Regional Transport Partnerships and Local Authorities are prioritising hydrogen for economic growthin their areas.

Taskforce actions:

  • The Scottish Government will support the Zero Emission Truck Taskforce to work with Heriot Watt university to produce a map indicating where the initial en route charging/ hydrogen refuelling stations for zero emission HGVs are required in order for operators to begin to transition. This map will be used to build market confidence, liaise with Ofgem, and to stimulate discussion with the energy sector and financiers.
  • To provide better cohesion between the Distribution Network Operators and the road haulage sector, DNOs will work with operators to forecast HGV electricity usage out to 2040, encouraging mutual sharing of information and holding workshops for operators. Trade associations including Logistics UK will promote these workshops to members.
  • Energy infrastructure will be owned and operated by the private sector. If, as energy infrastructure develops, market failure becomes apparent (eg in remote or rural areas), the Scottish Government will consider intervening to support a Just Transition for the whole of Scotland.
  • Any future Scottish Government investment into heavy vehicle charging infrastructure will strongly encourage the shared use of infrastructure across operators and sectors wherever possible.

Case Study

Infrastructure sharing in Scotland

Located on Glasgow’s southside, First Bus’s Caledonia Depot has 160 state-of-the art rapid-charging points. Originally designed for the buses operating out of the depot, the Plug and Charge solution is benefiting third party businesses by providing DC ultra-rapid charging for commercial electric vehicles.

First Bus has established arrangements with delivery service DPD and Police Scotland to access charging at Caledonia while the electric bus fleet is out in service. They have worked closely with Hitachi ZeroCarbon to enable the depot’s charge points to be controlled via smart charging software ensuring that power is used in the most efficient way and minimising draw down from the national grid at peak times.

More recently, First Bus have partnered with broadband network Openreach for their vehicles to access charge points in both Glasgow and Aberdeen bus depots.

First Bus is interested in hearing from businesses who wish to benefit from this partnership across its Caledonia, Scotstoun and Aberdeen sites.