The electrification of UK’s commercial vehicle fleets is gathering pace. British Gas has ordered 1,000 new all-electric Vivaro-e vans from Vauxhall. This is considered to be the largest commercial BEV (battery electric vehicle) order in the UK till date.
The BEVs 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 first 1,000 vehicles will be allocated to engineers who volunteer to switch from existing diesel vehicles to electric. These engineers will install chargers for the vehicles at their homes as part of the company’s training plans. The company is currently upskilling engineers in EV charging and is accelerating EV adoption for homes and businesses with charger installs and EV tariffs.
Matthew Bateman, managing director of British Gas, said, “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.”
Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, UK added that, “This 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.”
Stephen Norman, managing director of Vauxhall Motors pointed out that, “I am delighted that British Gas has confirmed the UK’s largest order of battery electric vehicles with the Vauxhall Vivaro-e. 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.”