The Department for Transpport (DfT) has announced that 16 fleet operators have pledged to invest a total of £40m to drive the adoption of EVs after signing-up to its Clean Van Commitment.
Representatives from some of the UK’s largest fleet operators, including Engie, Tesco, Anglian Water, Leeds City Council, Network Rail and Yorkshire Ambulance Service, have signed the commitment and will now invest the multi-million pound sum in electric vans over the next two years.
A statement issued by Global Action Plan, a charity inspiring practical action for our environment and the organiser of the Clean Van Commitment, said that the 75 billion miles driven covered by vans each year contribute a staggering 30% of the UK’s road transport NOx emissions, costing three times more per vehicle to the UK’s health than cars.
Roads Minister, Jesse Norman MP (pictured) said: “This latest research further highlights the very serious potential impacts of nitrous oxide 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.”
By 2020, the 16 fleets who have now signed up to the DfT's Clean Van Commitment alone will put more electric vans on the road than have been purchased by the whole UK industry in the last year (2,400 in total).
Air Quality’s head of Global Action Plan, Bex Bolland, said: “Today marks a significant moment for the UK’s van sector. 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 4 million vans to become zero emission, significantly improving the air we all breathe.”
The announcement comes ahead of the UK hosting the world’s first Zero Emission Vehicle Summit next 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 first batch of vehicles will deliver up to £55 million in lifetime savings from health costs in an area such as inner London.
The Clean Van Commitment is a collective response from van operators that is creating a clean signal to Government, manufacturers and the National Grid that they are dedicated to immediately delivering zero tailpipe emissions.
Engie UK and Ireland’s chief executive, Wilfrid Petrie, said: “Air pollution is an issue that impacts upon everyone and we are proud to have partnered with GAP to develop the Clean Van Commitment.
"In January 2017 Engie committed to 20 % of its fleet to be EV by 2020 and zero diesel by 2025.”