11th November 2016
Fleet electrification: a fascinating snapshot spanning wide-ranging organisations
With the British government facing quite a challenge when it comes to tackling vehicle-related air pollution after the high court1 ruled that existing plans are so lacking they are illegal, businesses and other organisations large and small are increasingly exploring the possibility of switching some or all of their fleets over to hybrid or fully electric vehicles. We take a look at some of the current fleet PHEV and EV success stories including many entities that have successfully gained Go Ultra Low status.
Largely thanks to discounted charging points and other incentives offered through the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), London Fire2 Brigade’s frontline car fleet will be fully comprised plugin hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and electric range-extenders by the close of this year. Having introduced Volkswagen Golf GTEs and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs to begin with, the brigade’s Vauxhall Astra cars are being replaced by BMW i3 range-extenders. Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service has also followed suit.
Local authorities are also increasingly turning electric, Corby Borough Council3 attaining Go Ultra Low status and adding three Nissan e-NV200 electric vans to its now-ten-strong EV fleet, which is backed by a solar array and a rapid charger in the depot. Leeds City Council4 ordered 42 electric vehicles mainly for use in the city centre to improve air quality, with estimated fuel savings of almost £25,000, while Midlothian Council5 has added additional Nissan e-NV200s to its leased fleet with the help of the Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Scheme run by the Scottish Government.
Health trusts in some regions have started making the switch to electric vehicles, too, notable examples including Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust6 whose fleet includes fifteen Renault ZOE cars, and Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS, which runs Nissan LEAFs, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs and other ULEVs.
Of the University of West7 England in Bristol’s fleet of around 50 vehicles, 13 of them are fully electric or plug-in hybrids, their main motivation being to improve local air quality. University campuses are ideal environments for EVs due to the short distances involved and the high number of people in the vicinity. Servicing the electric vans is also proving more cost-effective for the University of West England than traditional diesel commercial vehicles. The University of Cambridge8 currently operates eight Renault Kangoo Z.E. vans, five of the ubiquitous Nissan vans, and fifteen electric bikes, saving 10 tonnes of carbon and 4,000 litres of fuel in its last financial year. Other universities working towards Go Ultra Low status include Manchester Metropolitan University (which has a campus just across the road from Trak’s headquarters in Crewe), Nottingham and Nottingham Trent universities, the University of Birmingham, and the University of Kent9.
Leisure and tourism
Green fleet adoption isn’t just left to the public sector, a whole variety of private companies converting some or all of their vehicles to hybrid or fully electric powertrains. Center Parcs10 is a well-known name in the UK holiday industry, particularly for those with families, and guests over the last few years may have noticed the company’s fleet of silent, all-electric Renault Kangoo Maxi Z.E. vans, which is now well into double-figures, comprising over 20% of its car park. The company also runs Toyota Auris Hybrid pool cars11.
Tourist visitors to Cornwall’s The Eden Project are greeted by a much more unusual electric vehicle in operation, in the form of the two-seater Renault Twizy, which is tiny enough to negotiate the attraction’s narrow pathways and is even able to enter the climate-controlled rainforest and Mediterranean Biomes. The Eden Project also relies on Renault Kangoo Z.E. Maxi Crew Cab and Panel Vans, plus Renault ZOE hatchbacks12.
Other business fleets
House-builder Galliford Try’s vehicle inventory is already made up of 7% ULEVs with 115 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs plus VW Golf GTEs and even some Tesla Model S electric cars driven by their employees13.
Rekindling the days when milk-floats were a common sight on our streets, Grimshaw Lane Dairy14 from Ormskirk in Lancashire chose to invest in Nissan e-NV200 electric vans, which have affectionately been given the names Bovine, Tilly, Daisy and Ermintrude. The dairy reckoned they started saving around £900 per month on fuel and range anxiety isn’t a problem as each milk delivery vehicle covers roughly 50 miles per day, well within the Nissan’s capability. There’s no concern over waking customers up in the wee small hours, either, seeing as the van is almost silent.
Anyone who’s had to call out British Gas this winter if their boiler has conked out may well have received a visit from an engineer in an electric van, as the company has publicly committed to have at least 10% of its 13,000 commercial vehicle fleet powered by batteries by as early as the new year. As of March 2016, British Gas’ fleet included 113 electric vans, 150 hybrid cars, 25 pure EVs and two electric minibuses.
Okay, it’s a bit out-of-this-world but Leicester City Football Club is still very much a business at the end of the day, and following their unforgettable Premier League glory last season, chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha treated each player to a hybrid BMW i8. The nineteen cars were delivered in Protonic Blue, a close match to the club’s colour.
Appy Fleet from Trak Global Group is a full fleet management solution that is purely app-based involving no hardware installation. Businesses and other organisations utilising Appy Fleet, which is completely free, are enjoying wide-ranging benefits including fuel savings, reduced driver risk and mileage expense management. It’s the smarter way to manage a fleet and its drivers.
2, 6, 7. http://www.fleetnews.co.uk/fleet-management/environment/fleets-and-the-environment-green-fleet-champions
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