How a new EV portal is putting global renewable energy business on the road to digital transformation


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The client

About Drax

Drax, a British renewable energy business is the UK’s largest source of renewable electricity, operating across nuclear, hydro and other green power sources.

It also supplies bioenergy internationally through sites in the US and Canada that produce compressed wood pellets for use there and in Europe and Asia. The organisation is dedicated to ‘enabling a zero carbon, lower cost energy future’ and aims to be carbon negative by 2030.

Digital transformation is a huge part of Drax’s long term strategy. This is for two reasons:

  • To build a more efficient business in terms of its operations
  • To provide future-facing, sustainable options for its customers

EV charge
The ask

Creating a single point of truth

Bringing together telematics and charging point data into a single EV portal

For businesses with fleets of electric vehicles, tracking and management can be challenging. This is because the two types of data required - data vehicle data (telematics) and charging point data - are provided by different third parties. EV Technology, for example, provides telematics data, while ChargePoint and GreenFlux do the same for charging points.

Drax wanted to bring this data into one portal. This would allow fleet managers to see the status of every vehicle and determine where each was in relation to charging stations.

Providing this ‘single view of the truth’ would empower managers with all the information they needed to select the most appropriate charging station for the business - giving them the choice of energy source or provider – and plan efficient, cost-effective recharging into the vehicle’s daily schedule.

Drax approached AND digital to help them bring these two types of data together into one single portal.  This would support businesses to manage their electrical vehicle fleets more efficiently, and - for those businesses yet to move to electric - make the switch more attractive.

The process

A collaborative approach

Working together to accelerate the delivery of the EV portal.

AND took the lead on the project following on from a process of investigation, experience planning, and front-end design. A series of workshops helped to craft the details of the collaborative vision.

AND also conducted a strategic review of Drax's architecture which concluded that re-platforming should form a central part of the company's wider digital transformation project. To provide both flexibility and longevity, it was decided that the portal needed to be built on the target architecture for the business. However, there was a challenge: platform had yet to be created.

A ‘swarm team’ was created, featuring engineers from both Drax and AND Digital. This was a hyper-focussed, fast-paced, and skill-sharing strategy that helped to form the foundations of the EV portal project. This meant the EV project could be accelerated, paving the way for wider digital transformation to follow.


Mapping APIs to create a single elegant portal

Minimising complexity to deliver at speed

Not all services were available on the target architecture. To manage this challenge, the team used AWS to glue together those services needed for the portal which weren't yet offered on the new architecture.

The EV Portal required significant API data-mapping to plug in data sources from the third-party data providers, while new logic was also developed to map vehicle locations to charge stations. NServiceBus was used for messaging and the front end was built using React for its speed and dynamism, while SharePoint - which was already in place in the business – was used as a simple CRM for the pilot portal. This helped to accelerate the process.

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Powering the future of electric in the enterprise

Drax now has a unique EV Portal that is in pilot with a major client. On testing the demand in the market for this innovative tool, Drax received a huge amount of positive interest and are now looking to roll the portal out to other third parties and clients as soon as possible. Clients using the portal can not only manage their electric vehicle fleets with greater efficiency and confidence but will also be able to see when energy is at its cheapest to optimise operational cost.

For Drax the groundwork has been laid for their digital transformation. Not only is the portal a robust proof of concept for the broader target architecture, but new capabilities have also been established within the internal team. This means they are now well-placed to deliver the strategic roadmap for a successful and sustainable future.

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