Van fleet operators pledge to go electric

Sixteen of the UK’s largest fleet operators have signed the Clean Van Commitment and will invest an initial £40mn over the next two years to drive the increase in use of electric vans. Backed by the Department for Transport and led by Global Action Plan in partnership with Engie, the Clean Van Commitment has businesses including Engie, Tesco, Anglian Water, Leeds City Council, Network Rail and Yorkshire Ambulance Service signed up.

The commitment to source 2,400 electric vans provides manufacturers with the closest they will ever get to a guaranteed level of demand, 
says Global Action Plan, hopefully helping to kick start the transition to fully electrify the UK’s 4mn diesel van fleet. The Commitment is a collective response from van operators that is creating a signal to government, manufacturers and National Grid that they are dedicated to immediately delivering zero tailpipe emissions.

The Commitment includes two targets. The first is an immediate commitment to switching a proportion of their fleet by 2020; and a longer-term commitment to deliver zero tailpipe emissions by 2028 from more than 18,000 vans – if sufficient charging infrastructure and 
competitively priced electric vans are available.

This will both help bring down the price of new electric vans and stimulate the second-hand electric vehicle market.

Vans are the fastest growing vehicle type in the UK, with approximately 4mn on UK roads, only 4,400 of which are electric. There has been a 74% growth in the number of vans since 1996, and the number of vans on Britain’s roads has been rising more than 2.5 times quicker than that for cars. Add greater than average annual mileages for vans, and they are making a significant contribution to the UK’s air pollution challenge, says Global Action Plan.

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