As the electric vehicle transition speeds up, you see higher EV market share, more EV charging station deployment, and bigger EV fleet orders. In that vein, we’ve got news this week of the UK’s largest commercial EV order to date. British Gas, the largest energy and home services company in the UK, claims to have just set the new record (fittingly) with an order for 2,000 electric vans.
Even better, the company (or parent company Centrica, to be technical) has put one in the middle of a field for a photo shoot.
Joking aside, this is a big step forward, yet it’s also just the beginning of a fairly fast sprint for British Gas/Centrica. The company has a fleet of 12,000 vehicles, and it intends to have every single one of its vehicles electric by 2025 (less than 4 years from now or nearly 5 years from now, depending on which end of the year they’re talking about). Highlighting how quickly things are changing, the original plan was to do this by 2030.
The initial 2,000 electric vans are all Vauxhall Vivaro-e vans, giving Vauxhall a nice boost in hitting its fleet efficiency/CO2 emissions requirements.
In addition to the 2,000 electric vans, Centrica will roll 1,500 electric cars into its company fleet at approximately the same time.
All of this tags onto an order of 1,000 electric vans last year.
Overall, the British Gas fleet is the 3rd largest in the UK. So, a strong and rapid switch to EVs from such a notable organization should also send a message to smaller fleets and even individual buyers that now is the time to go electric — no more delaying. If British Gas wants to do it, why shouldn’t you? UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps noted:
“It’s encouraging to see that one of Britain’s best-known brands is leading the way with the largest commercial EV fleet in the UK.
“This is a huge step as we build back greener, lower our carbon footprint and deliver better air quality up and down the country – with more zero-emission models of cars and vans on the market than ever before, there has never been a better time for drivers and businesses to make the switch.”
To show you how serious the company is and how much it’s putting thought and attention into lowering its emissions, note the following statement: “While engineers can volunteer to have the new vans during the rollout, the company is prioritising high pollution areas to help lower emissions.”
As part of the electrification initiative, the company will put EV charging stations in at all of the company engineers’ homes.
“Everyone needs to act now to lower carbon emissions and help the UK reach net zero. We are leading from the front by not only lowering emissions for our customers and our communities, but by lowering our own emissions, and by increasing the speed at which we do this. Fully electrifying our fleet will make a big difference,” stated Chris O’Shea, Chief Executive of Centrica.
“At the same time, we are helping our customers make the switch to electric and working with motor manufacturers such as Vauxhall on services and solutions for their EV customers such as charge points, infrastructure and innovative EV tariffs with cheaper charging at night and free EV miles.
“We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with the Government to create the new jobs our country needs as we all seek to build back greener.”