Electric vehicles deliver cost and energy savings for BAE Systems
Introducing electric to a historic naval base presented challenges - but a deep working relationship achieved great results.
When global services provider BAE Systems secured a contract to manage Portsmouth Naval Base for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) back in 2014, helping to improve the site’s energy footprint was a key objective. Its existing 107-strong diesel van fleet offered a perfect opportunity. Keen to consider the potential cost and energy savings that could be achieved by switching some of its vehicles to electric, BAE Systems ran a commercial tender with a number of vehicle leasing providers, before selecting Lex Autolease to take the project forward.
“Out of our fleet of 107, we started off thinking about switching just five or six to electric,” says Elliot Webber, supply chain manager, BAE Systems. “As the tender progressed, and as numbers provided by Lex Autolease showed the potential emissions reduction and cost savings, it became apparent we should be looking at electric vehicles a lot more broadly.”
A lack of familiarity with the scope of electric vehicles and uncertainty about their use was quickly dispelled by the belief in electric vehicles displayed by Lex Autolease. “Moving to a different type of technology meant we had lots of questions and required extra information at various points of the process. Lex Autolease were quick at coming back to us and sharing their expertise,” adds Elliot.
Vehicle efficiency drives confidence
Rigorous analysis by Lex Autolease also helped to allay concerns about the suitability of electric vehicles to meet the needs of the naval base. Chris Chandler, principal consultant, Lex Autolease, explains: “Using temporary plug-in telematic devices, we provided BAE Systems with clear evidence of the efficiency of the vehicles and we could state with confidence that replacing the existing diesel vehicles with electric would work effectively.”
Alongside the suitability of the vehicles themselves, one of the key considerations was the siting and installation of some 26 charging points and 28 designated parking bays for the vehicles at the famous naval base.
Meeting site challenges
Penda Cox, energy solutions project manager, BAE Systems, explains: “This is an old base with a lot of legacy systems and networks. That means sometimes what we want to do isn’t necessarily what we can do. Lex Autolease were invaluable in providing information and thinking around these issues.”
Lex Autolease worked closely with charge partner POD Point to select the most suitable types of charger for BAE Systems’ needs. “Although it sounds quite simple, when you’re on a naval base and there are technical and visual constraints, it requires a lot of thought and evidence collection to ensure the right charge points are installed in the best places,” explains Chris.
Building customer confidence
“Telematics once again proved invaluable. Temporary plug-in devices used on the existing fleet helped us to understand the number of miles each vehicle did and to provide ‘heat maps’ to show where the vehicles stopped for long periods,” says Chris. “That provided us with a starting point for where chargers for overnight and daytime charging were required.”
Installation of the charge points – one central location, with others placed around the site for convenience – went well, according to Penda: “It was run immaculately. It gives me confidence that if we’re going to install more charging points in the future, the relationship is solid and we can commit to that.”
A supportive partnership
Support through the whole process was vital. At one point, for example, a Lex Autolease Commercial engineer was on site daily to review the base’s vehicle needs and demonstrate with a test vehicle how electric vans could support BAE Systems’ aims.
That depth of relationship has been paramount to the success of the electric vehicle selection and charge point installation. “Lex Autolease gave us a lot of guidance,” concludes Frank Mcaleer, head of base services, BAE Systems. “This was new territory for us and ultimately as a government contract, it was subject to a lot of scrutiny. The support, flexibility and help from Lex Autolease is all you could want from a partnership.”
For more infomation about the benefits of installing telematics within your fleet, and to understand how to create the right telematics programme, visit www.lexautolease.co.uk/tech and speak to your local Lex Autolease Account Manager.