BUSINESSES could slash their fuel costs by 75% if they swapped their petrol-guzzling fleet to electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles.
A single overnight charge provides enough energy for vehicles covering less than 80 miles per day.
The findings were announced by the Energy Saving Trust along with a promise of £280,000 from the government of to help a further 100 fleets understand where Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (ULEVs) could work for them.
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.
"Today’s report from EST 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: “This 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 the capital and so would have the added benefit of qualifying for a 100 per cent 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.
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.
“There is also 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.”
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.
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 [t] 0207 227 0310