Insight 10 November 2021

Plan Zero Consultancy’s Alex Avila on how Mitie is simplifying the transition to an electric fleet

What’s your name and role at Mitie?

I’m Alex Avila. I head up Mitie’s e-Mobility and EV Solutions team. I support our customers transition their fleets to zero emissions and deploy tailored EV charging infrastructure solutions to meet their needs. 

What are the biggest challenges ahead of organisations regarding transport and fleet?  

Transport has recently overtaken the power sector to become the largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions globally, accounting for 24% of total emissions. Road transport is responsible for over three-quarters of this. This presents a significant challenge for public and private sector organisations aspiring to reach net zero, particularly those who operate large fleets.  

Fleet operators have to balance the requirement to transition to zero-emissions vehicles, with the need to ensure their business-critical fleets remain operational, maintain acceptable levels of uptime, and minimise total cost of ownership. With upfront costs for EVs still comparably higher than ICE vehicle alternatives and the considerable costs required to deploy charging infrastructure to support an electric fleet, businesses are struggling to make the internal business cases to transition their vehicles at the pace and scale needed to meet the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel vehicle sales.  

Mitie currently has the largest EV fleet in the UK, committing to an entirely zero emissions fleet by 2025. Using this experience and our technical know-how, we are helping our customers to navigate this journey.  

What did Mitie learn during the transition to electric?  

It is critical for businesses to define a clear fleet transition strategy, effectively a systematic approach and plan on how they plan to shift from traditional fossil fuel vehicles to zero emissions alternatives. This should cover everything from what vehicles will replace the existing fleet, what segments to transition to first, what charging solution to deploy and a clear understanding of the cost and carbon savings implications of making the switch.  

Having experienced first-hand the challenges and pain points a transition to electric presents, we have developed a suite of products and services to ensure our customers fleet transition is more seamless and smooth. 

What is Mitie doing to support its customers? 

Mitie offers a fully integrated end-to-end EV infrastructure solutions to support the transition to zero emissions fleets. From fleet consultancy and advisory services to designing, building and maintaining tailored EV infrastructure solutions that are technology agnostic and bespoke to each clients’ requirements, we act as a one-stop-shop to create and deliver our customers’ EV strategy. 

We differ from others because we are making this a deliverable reality for our customers, simplifying the steps they need to make the transition. Our new BoltON CHARGE offering means customers can deploy EV charging across their facilities at speed and with no upfront costs.  

We also just last week announced the acquisition of Rock Power Connections, an Independent Connections Provider, significantly enhancing our EV infrastructure delivery capability. Through Rock, we can now  provide new connections to the grid and deliver end-to-end high-voltage installations, which is critical as we move to use electricity to heat buildings and power our vehicles. 

You’re attending COP26 this week, what are you looking forward to?  

It is great to see the Prime Minister coming back to Scotland today for ‘Transport Day’, highlighting the importance of decarbonising transport on the Government’s agenda.  

Today the UK Government was one of 15 countries to announce all new heavy goods vehicles sales will need to be zero-emissions by 2040, this is a considerable commitment, providing targets for a vehicle segment that has always seen significant challenges in moving away from fossil fuels. This is a great step in the right directionand it will now be up to public and private sector stakeholders to innovate and collaborate to ensure this target becomes a reality.  

At Mitie, we are committed to supporting our customers through this journey to ensure the most efficient and cost-effective transition to zero emissions transport.  

More broadly, many vital announcements are expected today covering policy and commitments to achieve zero emissions transport globally. COP26 demonstrates that it is only through collaboration and collective action that we will be able to come up with and deploy the innovative solutions required to transition to a sustainable and zero emissions transport ecosystem. I feel privileged to be able to meet with so many people who are committed to protecting the planet for future generations. 

 I look forward to meeting all key critical stakeholders in this space to explore how we can accelerate and scale our shift to net zero transport.  

What’s the future of sustainability, reaching net zero and why? 

People often think achieving sustainable transport means replacing all vehicles with electric or zero emissions alternatives. However, it is as much about reducing the number of vehicles on the road, encouraging the use of public transport, incentivising the development of new shared mobility models and incentivising active travel. This is how we will truly make an impact on our transport emissions.  

Also, electrification of transport is not the only mega trend in this industry. We are seeing the increased digitisation and connectivity of vehicles, the rise of connected and autonomous vehicle technology, and, and innovative business and commercial mobility-as-a-service models. This will be underpinned by technology, which will be critical to ensure that the whole transport ecosystem truly reaches net zero the future of transport. 

Finally, the convergence of the transport and energy value chains has intensified over the last couple of years. As vehicles electrify, they become a new source of power demand, and fleets will effectively extend an organisation’s built environment and energy footprint. This means that your vehicles can no longer be seen in isolation and that to achieve net zero, organisations will need to consider their fleets alongside the broader energy usage. 

Contact us to discuss how we can make net zero happen for your organisation.

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