Major Utility Vattenfall To Purchase 3,500 EVs, Switch Entire Fleet To EVs

7 months ago by Mark Kane 20

Vattenfall is switching its whole car fleet to electric vehicles

A major European utility, Vattenfall has announced plans to switch its entire car fleet over to electric vehicles.

Over the next five years, starting from this past January, Vattenfall will purchase more than 3,500 plug-ins.  Certainly a major commitment to the new technology, and one we would like to see repeated often by other major corporations.

Powered by Vattenfall

The passenger and light commercial vehicles bought by Vattenfall (put in service as technical support vehicles and maintenance vans) are to be used in Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany.

Here are the estimated breakdowns by region:

  • Sweden – 1.700
  • Germany – 1.100
  • Netherlands – 750

According to Vattenfall, the company has been engaged with plug-in technology since 2009, and already operates nearly 6,000 charging stations (including fast chargers).

“Vattenfall offers charging solutions to both retail and business customers and operates close to 6.000 electric vehicle charging points in Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands. The electricity supplied to electric vehicles equalled 45 million zero-emission kilometres in 2016, or 998 times around the earth. Vattenfall is operating both normal and fast charging stations, and is a front runner in developing new solutions for wireless charging, smart charging and bus charging.”

“With this important step Vattenfall takes a great leap forward towards its sustainable ambitions to be climate neutral by 2050. Vattenfall has been active in E-mobility since 2009 and has invested heavily in electric transport because of its enormous potential to contribute to the energy transition and the reduction of CO2-emissions.”

“EU Member States and the EU Parliament have already agreed that transport emissions should be reduced with 60% by 2050. Vattenfall supports the move towards zero emission transport, but emphasizes that steps have to be taken to turn the EU-strategy into concrete policies and actions.”

Martijn Hagens, Head of Customers and Solutions Vattenfall and responsible for E-mobility said:

“We already help our customers drive electric by supplying charging points. With the decision to switch our own fleet we do not only contribute to reducing CO2-emissions in Europe, but we also want to set an example for other companies,”.

“The outlines for success are already in place. Driving electric is far cheaper than driving on fossil fuels and we help to build a solid charging infrastructure in Europe. But to be able to fully switch our fleet, availability and freedom of choice in cars are very important as well. The trend towards more affordable batteries with a wider range has already set in, which is why we believe the time is right to make this change. But electric cars still require a high financial investment. And if you look at for example company vans, there isn’t much choice yet. Stricter CO2-emission standards on an EU-level would help give car manufacturers the confidence that the development of electric vehicles is the true way forward, hopefully resulting in market growth and a wider range of cars at lower prices.”

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20 responses to "Major Utility Vattenfall To Purchase 3,500 EVs, Switch Entire Fleet To EVs"

  1. Someone out there says:

    All utilities should switch to EVs. After all, they are literally making their own “fuel”. It’s a no-brainer!

    1. speculawyer says:

      Indeed. And they can use their own fleet of EVs as a test-fleet for a V2G or demand-response program with those EVs.

      Post offices should also switch to an all electric fleet. Put solar PV panels on the post office roofs to cover the needed electricity.

    2. Jameson says:

      As someone that works in the Fleet department of a utility, we definitely try but the lack of product hurts. With a fleet of 9000 over the road vehicles, only a couple hundred are passenger cars. The majority of the fleet is 3/4 ton truck or larger, almost no plug in product available

      1. G2 says:

        9000! You are a big contract for, say a PHEV conversion, company.

        Annyone know of a company to recommend?

        1. Elliot says:

          How about wrightspeed.com?

          1. Jameson says:

            We have talked to them about retrofitting Ford F550’s, they had more pressing projects with other companies they wanted to pursue instead. We have worked with Efficient Drivetrains on some prototypes but they are expensive and need to lose some weight.

      2. Mike I. says:

        Look at PG&E. It has been decades since I’ve seen them operating a diesel truck in my area. Even the Class 6+ trucks that carry huge spools of cable have been CNG for many years. They now have hybrid and full electric medium duty bucket trucks too. Just search PG&E Green Fleet.

        1. Jameson says:

          The fleet I was referring to was actually PG&E, I do the vehicle replacement planning. The CNG trucks are almost all gone, the ones we built were custom builds that had maintenance issues and the operating department did not like how often they are in the shop. The hybrid Class 5, 7 and 8 trucks you see have electrified PTO systems to run the boom which actually saves a ton of fuel but they don’t offer any driving savings.

      3. guyinacar says:

        Oh, I dunno. United Airlines is an airline company, right? But they have a huge fleet of wheeled luggage tugs, de-icers, cargo vans, passenger vans, three-quarter ton trucks, commissary scissor-lift boxes, etc., etc. You wouldn’t expect them to fly your lunches and baggage around the airport, just because “they’re an airline, its what they do.” They need a lot of ground service vehicles (GSVs) too.

        Gotta use the right tool for the job.

        So I’d be fine if electric utilities in the Northeast stay mostly diesel or hybrid in the heavy-duty fleet, and 100% diesel on the excavators and wood chippers. It’s the right tool for the job.

        In my part of the world, a large part of what utilities do is emergency response (i.e., ice storms taking down tree limbs) and preventative maintenance (to avoid same). That’s often done off the beaten path, or in the aftermath of a winter storm. Much of it is, by definition, the work that gets done when the power grid is NOT available, sometimes for days. So utilities get a pass, IMHO. Best they can do is this, making some portion of the bucket-trucks hybrid or PHEV:

        http://www.utilityproducts.com/articles/print/volume-5/issue-12/product-focus/vehicles-accessories/hybrid-bucket-trucks-gaining-traction133.html

        There’s a mutual-aid type system, too. A lot of those heavy bucket trucks during a disaster (tornado, hurricane, etc.) might convoy from hundreds of miles away. Can’t easily do that hopping from EVSE to EVSE, in a row of vehicles with a GVWR of 15 tons.

        Now the inspectors, engineers, meter-readers, home efficiency experts, and whatnot, yes, sure. Let ’em drive PHEVs and BEVs. The more electrified the light-duty fleet, the better. But a few of them will even need PHEVs or diesels for when the grid is down. Some of our snowstorms literally take days to remediate, and sometimes you’ve gotta have the engineer onsite. If the people are working around the clock, their trucks need to be able to do it, too.

        And that’s before we get to the national security piece. If you’re gonna fix the grid, you’ve gotta have a simple, tough vehicle that can get to where it’s broken, regardless of how it, well, got broken.

        Or else you BEV guys can’t get to work. 🙂

        1. BenG says:

          Yeah, we are a long time away from BEVs being remotely capable of delivering the around-the-clock performance you are talking about with utility maintenance vehicles. May never go completely there: instead may always have some kind of liquid fueled power source onboard to go with at best a battery dominant PHEV.

          They and the public could probably benefit from moving to plug-in/diesel hybrid, which would allow round the clock operation, but also allow short range on electricity and allow stationary operation under battery power with the engine off.

          You can use biodiesel to cut emissions. And in the future we might use a fuel cell power source for these kind of applications, running on renewable or synthetic ethanol or similar.

      4. Martin Winlow says:

        I’m frankly a bit surprised no-one from the US has mentioned this yet but… http://www.smithelectric.com/smith-vehicles/models-and-configurations/

        Back your country and your new President’s ambitions to bring jobs and prosperity back to the US!

        No excuses (assuming you *are* in the US, of course!)

        1. Someone out there says:

          Interesting, I’ve never heard of those before! How come there is never any news about them?

        2. no comment says:

          a commercial service vehicle having 40 miles of range is probably a good reason why they aren’t so well known. it is hard to see how 40 miles would be adequate.

    3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Thanks, “Someone out there”. Electric utilities are a natural ally in promoting and enabling the EV revolution. I hope this is the start of a trend!

      I also hope to see electric utilities take a leading role in installing public EV chargers. After all, they’re making the electricity those chargers are selling!

  2. Just_Chris says:

    Makes sense to me, it’s not like Vattenfall refine crude oil. I really wish power companies would get smarter about EV’s. The oil industry promotes the hell out of sports cars and auto racing. It dumps literally billions into advertising and car racing why? because a sports car uses twice the fuel and carries half the people of a regular car. Why is it people feel the need to pay extra for a less efficient car that is less practical? The average speed of a vehicle driving on a road is not governed by its acceleration it’s governed by the car in front of it, the speed limit and the level of congestion yet everyone wants a “fast” car.

    1. G2 says:

      Now you are talking about ‘needs’ vs ‘wants’ like a logical person.

  3. Joel says:

    There are currently about 30000 EVs registered in Sweden, so adding 1700 more is a small but noticeable fraction!

    Although they did say it would be over 5 years, presumably letting current ICEVs retire at no faster than the normal rate. Still, if EVs are added at an even rate over those 5 years, Vattenfall alone could be responsible for a 1% increase in the number of EVs on swedish roads in 2017.

    I didn’t bother to check the corresponding numbers for Germany and the Netherlands, but I assume they’re lower.

  4. VS says:

    Vattenfall means Waterfall. The major hydro energy supplier i Sweden, also responsible for the national grid.
    A company that has expanded internationally with great success.

  5. no comment says:

    this application probably makes a lot of sense. the service area is known, so they probably have a good idea of how many miles per day their vehicles travel. this would allow them to determine whether a given BEV is sufficient for their use.

  6. Martin Winlow says:

    I have contacted Vattenfall to see what sort of vehicles are involved and Heidi Stenström replied:

    “It will both be electrical and hybrids as the charging possibilty still is limited but hopefully also this developes fast.”