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
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
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.”