Sunderland City Council

PROJECT: Electrifying Sunderland’s Fleet – a study of the future charging requirements

Challenge: Sunderland City Council operates a diverse fleet consisting of 550 vehicles including heavy goods, light goods, small vans, cars and plant vehicles. To support the Council’s aim to become carbon neutral by 2030, the Council is looking to replace the existing fleet with electric vehicles or hybrid alternatives. Zero Carbon Futures was therefore commissioned to undertake a study to analyse the charging requirements needed to support this ambition.

What we did: Sunderland is currently developing a new fleet depot in the city which would be the ideal location for its fleet operations. A thorough analysis of the infrastructure and energy requirements for this site was integral. This was to enable Sunderland to procure a design and build contract for the site which set out the type of infrastructure and the electrical capacity required.

ZCF began the commission by reviewing the existing vehicles across the two sites and researched the alternative electric and hybrid provision. From there we undertook an analysis of duty cycles of the vehicles to understand how much energy and what type of infrastructure would be required to facilitate the switch. Where an alternative electric vehicle did not yet exist, ZCF made assumptions on the energy requirements based on annual mileage of the current vehicles.

The city also operates some fleet vehicles from a smaller depot in the centre which was also part of the review. There were many challenges with the existing building including power and space constraints. A review of this depot allowed us to put forward recommendations for the way forward for parking and charging for the full fleet.

The result: A report outlining charging recommendations for both sites with recommendations on next steps. Cost estimates for the variety of options for both sites were provided in order to enable Sunderland to decide on an infrastructure plan that would meet the needs of the funder for the new depot (ERDF). The roll-out of electric vehicles will be phased and the recommendations ensured the sites were future-proofed as Sunderland’s fleet grows.



“The study undertaken by Zero Carbon Futures has been very beneficial and helped inform on Sunderland City Council’s plans to accommodate the future growth of EV’s within Sunderland.  This is particularly relevant to short, medium and long term plans for the Council’s operational fleet to be based at a new EV Hub in Washington, Sunderland.”

Paul Muir, Group Engineer, Transportation Development, Sunderland City Council


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