UK business sees benefit of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicle fleets

January 29th, 2013 by Energy Saving Trust

(click report cover to go to download page)

UK businesses that switch to electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles could reduce their fleet fuel costs by 75%, according to the report “Plugged-in Fleets Initiative: charging forward” published on 23 January 2013, and funded by Transport for London (TfL), the UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) and delivered by the Energy Saving Trust in partnership with EDF Energy and Route Monkey.

Those organisations that operate vehicles with mileage below 80 miles per day would find that a pure electric vehicle fleet would meet their needs on a single overnight charge.

PIFI explored the potential savings organisations could make by introducing plug-in vehicles such as electric and plug-in hybrid cars and vans, into their company fleets.

Participants included Association of British Ports, Boots UK, Clean Vehicle Partnership Heathrow, London Fire Brigade, Network Rail, O’ Donovan (Waste Disposal) Limited, OMM Business Solutions, Rydon Group, Schneider ElectricSurrey County Council, Southwark Council, Tristar Worldwide Chauffeur Service, University of Cumbria, Urban Planters, Wiles Greenworld, Wm Morrisons PLC, and York City Council.

At the launch of the report in London, Norman Baker MPParliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, announced that the UK Coalition Government has agreed to provide £280,000 of additional funding to help a further 100 fleets understand where Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) could work for them.

Lyreco stationary deliveries by zero emission electric lorry in High Holborn, London on 16 August 2012 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Transport Minister Norman Baker said “electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are an essential part of low-carbon transport. With increasing numbers of models coming to market, and the low running costs that they offer, they will be ever more attractive to companies.”

“It is also encouraging that infrastructure operators and suppliers are increasing the number and accessibility of charge points.”

“The Energy Savings Trust report gives fleet managers valuable insight into how different vehicles can be used effectively and could lead to increased uptake of low emission vehicles across British fleets.”

Nick Fairholme, TfL director responsible for Source London said that the report “goes some way to answering important questions about how to encourage the take up of electric vehicles and how they can be cost effective.”

“Many of the companies taking part in this scheme operate fleets in London and so would have the added benefit of qualifying for a 100% discount from the Congestion Charge and access to the UK’s largest publicly accessible charging scheme, Source London, which currently has nearly 1,000 charge points.”

As part of PIFI each company received guidance and a strategic plan for the introduction of electric vehicles into their fleets.

Experts from the Energy Saving Trust analysed the results to show where electric vehicles could best be used by the organisations.

Fortnum & Mason electric delivery truck in London on 13 August 2012 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Caroline Watson, from Energy Saving Trust, said “we know that more organisations than ever are looking at electric vehicles as a long term investment for their business fleets.”

“But investing in an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle requires careful guidance as upfront costs are high.”

“Life costs are positive so the switch is worth making. That’s why we offer a tailor-made approach as each organisation has different needs for their fleet,” she said.

In the UK “there is an opportunity for companies to cut their infrastructure costs by taking advantage of support from Source London and other Plugged-in Places schemes before 31 March 2012.”

Boots UK has around 1,100 owned and leased small vans and is looking at ways of reducing carbon emissions by using electric vans for its pharmacy delivery service.

Energy Saving Trust’s analysis showed that Boots UK could save on its fuel and vehicle costs by introducing electric vehicles to its fleet.

Ian Barnes, Transport Sustainability Development Manager, Boots UK, said “we’ve been very impressed with the level of detail this study provided. It sets out clearly the savings we could make using electric vehicles and allows us to make the right decision for our fleets.”

As part of the report, EDF Energy helped businesses understand the implications of costs associated with installing charge points on their premises. Route Monkey, the other partner, is a specialist scheduling company which provided route optimisation analysis.

DHL electric delivery van in New York City on 27 August 2012 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Kate Armitage, Electric Vehicle Manager at EDF Energy, said “with the right application, we have seen battery electric vehicles work in practice in our own fleet and we are keen to share this experience with other UK fleets. EDF Energy has achieved annualised carbon savings of over one tonne per vehicle when taking advantage of our own low carbon electricity supply.”

The initiative had three key aims: to provide a tailored report for each participating fleet;

  • showing how electric vehicles could fit into and benefit their organisation;
  • to offer practical advice on plug-in vehicles relevant for all business fleets;
  • to enable fleet decision makers to purchase and use electric vehicles where they work best.

If you want to be one of the 100 fleets to get a better understanding of how ULEVs could work for your organisation, contact Caroline Watson at the Energy Saving Trust on 0207 227 0310.


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