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16 fleets lead the electric van charge by purchasing 2,400 plug-in vans

16 fleets lead the electric van charge by purchasing 2,400 plug-in vans

Sixteen of the UK’s largest fleet operators have committed to introduce 2,400 electric vans after signing the Clean Van Commitment and investing an initial £40 million over the next two years.

The Department for Transport-backed Clean Van Commitment, led by Global Action Plan in partnership with Engie says the 16 fleets, Abel & Cole, Anglian Water, DEFRA Group Fleet Services, Engie, Gateshead Council, Leeds City Council, London Borough of Hackney, London Borough of Waltham Forest, Network Rail, Northern Gas, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford Council and Direct Services, Tesco, United Utilities, Yorkshire Ambulance Service and Yorkshire Water, will replace aging diesel vans with the plug-in units.

The announcement came ahead of the UK hosting the world’s first Zero Emission Vehicle Summit this week, where nations from around the world will come together to agree to support the development of and acceleration in uptake of green vehicles.

The commitment to source 2,400 electric vans provides manufacturers with the closest they will ever get to a guaranteed level of demand they can supply, kick starting the transition to fully electrify the UK’s four million diesel van fleet, according to the Global Action Plan organisation.

The first batch of vehicles will deliver up to £55 million in lifetime savings from health costs in an area such as inner London, it is claimed.

The Clean Van Commitment is a collective response from van operators that Global Action Plan said was creating a clean signal to government, manufacturers and the National Grid that they were dedicated to immediately delivering zero tailpipe emissions.

The Commitment includes two targets: switching a proportion of their fleet by 2020 of 2,400 vehicles and a longer term commitment to deliver zero tailpipe emissions by 2028 of more than 18,000 vans if sufficient charging infrastructure and competitively priced electric vans are available.

That, said Global Action Plan, would not only help bring down the price of new electric vans it would stimulate the second hand electric vehicle market in four to six years, which, it said, was especially helpful for the two million independent van owners who wanted to protect the communities they served from air pollution.

The plug-in vehicle van commitment by the 16 fleets came as research by the University of Oxford and University of Bath revealed that the total health cost to the UK from vans was £2.2 billion each year.

Their research also showed that the cost of the damage to health caused by vans was more than three times the impact compared to a car at a staggering £24,555 per annum areas such as inner London.

There are approximately four million vans on the UK’s roads - the fastest growing vehicle type - but only 4,400 were electric. Furthermore, around 96% of the van market is diesel.

Roads Minister Jesse Norman said: “The government’s ‘Road to Zero Strategy’ outlines its intention to lead the world in the design and manufacturing of zero emission vehicles - delivering significant environmental, health and economic benefits. The ‘Last Mile Call for Evidence’, published in July, will allow us to explore new opportunities for replacing vans with electric cargo bikes, vans and micro vehicles.

“This latest research further highlights the very serious potential impacts of nitrous dioxide pollution, and underlines the importance of the transition to greener transport. That is why the Clean Van Commitment is important, encouraging some of the biggest van fleet operators in the UK to switch to cleaner vehicles.”

Bex Bolland, head of air quality, Global Action Plan said: “For the first time, we know just how quickly van fleet leaders aim to adopt electric vehicles. Their collective purchasing commitments show manufacturers that demand is thriving, and will help energy sector, local authority and central government planning. These 16 fleets will pave the way for the national fleet of four million vans to become zero emission, significantly improving the air we all breathe.”

Wilfrid Petrie, CEO, Engie UK & Ireland said: “In January 2017 Engie committed to 20% of its fleet to be electric by 2020 and zero diesel by 2025. With the rapid advances being made in electric vehicles and the range available, Engie is meeting this challenge as a key provider of infrastructure and green mobility services.”