Even with the uncertainty of COVID many organisations are pushing ahead with the long term fleet strategies and many include a switch to electric vehicles. In July, British Gas announced that is had ordered 1,000 new all-electric Vivaro-e vans from Vauxhall – the largest commercial BEV (battery electric vehicle) order in the UK to date. The new electric fleet will arrive over the next 12 months and be rolled out nationwide across the British Gas engineer workforce.
Centrica, owner of British Gas, has committed to electrifying its 12,000 strong fleet by 2030 and will be making further orders with Vauxhall for electric vehicles as soon as they are available. This may include the all-electric Combo-e – available from Summer 2021.
The engineers who receive the new vans will be chosen from volunteers but also targeting areas where it is important to lower emissions and where a van already needs replacing. The British Gas engineers will install the chargers at engineer homes. The company is currently upskilling engineers in EV charging and is accelerating EV adoption for homes and businesses with charger installs and EV tariffs.
Recent events have demonstrated how the British Gas engineers and fleet can play a key role in the local area. British Gas has been working with the Trussell Trust since late March and the engineers have delivered over four million meals to those most in need.
When announcing the deal Matthew Bateman, Managing Director, at British Gas said, “Our engineers and their vans are part of the local community they serve and it’s important we reduce the emissions of our vans so that we are contributing towards better air quality in their area and the environment.
We are committed to the transition to electric vehicles which involves changing our fleet as well as helping consumers and businesses with charge points and infrastructure. We chose to work with Vauxhall as they were able to give us a large number of high-quality and low emission vans to help us effectively serve our customers – and they will also work with us on future EV solutions. Transport is a key area where we can improve carbon emissions and is an important part of our strategy to meet our net zero targets.”
Stephen Norman, Managing Director, Vauxhall Motors comments indicated an excitement at the announcement.
“I am delighted that British Gas has confirmed the UK’s largest order of battery electric vehicles with the Vauxhall Vivaro-e. As the oldest British vehicle Brand since 1903, I want to thank British Gas, a fellow British business, for their loyalty and trust in Vauxhall. As with all businesses up and down the country, tradespeople rely on their van as an essential tool of their work and our 300-strong Retailer network is crucial in continuing to provide support to carry British business. The strength of the quantity of orders for our all-electric van demonstrates that the Vauxhall Vivaro-e, the first step in the electrification of our entire van range, can contribute towards the transition towards low emissions vehicles whilst improving air quality.”
With a deal so large, Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps MP, was also involved and said, “Today’s announcement marks another milestone as we continue on the road to a green transport recovery. This is a huge step for such an iconic British company, who are showing leadership in making the switch to zero emission vehicles as we to strive to meet net zero emissions by 2050. We’re determined to build back greener – to deliver better air quality and lower our carbon footprint, which is why we’re investing more than ever in zero emission grants and infrastructure.”