British Gas has been trialling a Nissan e-NV200 for a few weeks at its Leicester and Newbury depots to help determine which of its 14,000 drivers' daily travel patterns are most suited to an electric van's typical working range, including getting to and from work.
The van was run at maximum gross vehicle weight during the trial which shadowed drivers from British Gas' national network of trained engineers as they carried out their daily duties of servicing millions of domestic and business customers across the UK. In that time the van covered over 1,200 miles.
Fleet manager Colin Marriott said: "With electric cars and vans coming of age, we feel the time is now right for us to introduce electric vans into our fleet and we are currently evaluating the benefits they can bring to UK fleets by implementing them into our own.
Marriott is also very clear that the British Gas purchasing strategy is to buy OEM products and not conversions.
"Aftermarket conversions can interfere with a vehicle's reliability. Our engineers are only efficient if they are busy looking after customers. By choosing OEM products we can guarantee that if a problem occurs a vehicle is fixed quickly and efficiently," he added.
Nissan has a close working relationship with British Gas as it has been its preferred supplier of home and office electric charging points for Leaf customers since 2011.
See this week's Fleet News for more on the EV ambitions of British Gas.