The UK’s Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) has approved an electric vehicle (EV) pilot project known as Optimise Prime for commercial electric vehicle (EV) adoption in the country.

Ride-hailing firm Uber and Japanese technology firm Hitachi will roll out 3,000 EVs in London and the South of England as part of the three-year project.

Set to be rolled out in early 2019, Optimise Prime will explore the best approaches to promote the EVs’ sales while boosting installation of charging points.

A lack of charging points is often cited as a reason for restricted EV sales in the UK.

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“EVs are a massive driver of opportunity in the shift to smart energy and decarbonised transport, but they also present a huge infrastructure challenge.”

The trial will see participation of multiple companies, including energy suppliers Centrica and SSE, and will be headed by Hitachi Vantara and electricity distributor UK Power Networks.

It is being sponsored by Hitachi Europe and Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions and Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN).

The project will collect information on various aspects such as charging, driving habits, distance travelled and the amount of energy consumed.

Hitachi director Nicole Thompson said: “EVs are a massive driver of opportunity in the shift to smart energy and decarbonised transport, but they also present a huge infrastructure challenge.”

Nearly £16.6m of the total estimated project cost of £34.6m is being funded by the UK energy regulator Ofgem, with other project partners covering the remaining £18m.

Uber currently manages a network of approximately 65,000 drivers in the UK and is looking to transform its fleet into EVs by 2025.