British Gas has placed an immediate order for 50 all-electric e-NV200 vans, with a further 50 to be delivered by the end of the calendar year, following a six-month winter trial.
The nationwide trial of 28 vans - the UK’s largest electric commercial vehicle evaluation to date - and the resulting order, which was announced today at the start of the CV Show at the NEC in Birmingham, is part of British Gas’ wider commitment to ensuring 10% of its fleet of 13,000 home service vans are all-electric by 2017.
The trial launched last November and saw the e-NV200s cover in excess of 60,000 miles between them to see how the vans performed in winter conditions during typical British Gas home services daily usage patterns.
It was such a success that some drivers were reluctant to hand back their vans.
Nissan and British Gas worked with Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Solutions to manage the fleet operations while Gateshead College trained drivers how to drive the 100% electric Nissan e-NV200.
Hitachi Capital will be funding the purchase of the Nissan e-NV200s by British Gas as well as managing the fleet of all-electric vehicles.
Colin Marriott, general manager, fleet at British Gas, said: “We have been extremely impressed with the performance of the Nissan e-NV200 during our winter trial.
"The feedback from our engineers speaks for itself, with the majority saying they would be happy to keep the van permanently.
“Taking on 100 of these vehicles on a permanent basis demonstrates our continued commitment to leading the adoption of this technology amongst large vehicle fleets in the UK. With technology and infrastructure improving all the time, we look forward to expanding this number in the coming years."
Paul Kidd, a British Gas service and repair engineer from Northumberland, said: “I can sometimes spend hours each day driving between customers' homes, but the Nissan e-NV200 made that just a little bit easier.
"It was smooth, stress-free and I was really disappointed when I had to give it back.
"I would absolutely recommend the van to other engineers, particularly as the technology improves and more charge points are installed. It’s definitely the future.”
Jim Wright, Nissan GB managing director, said that the feedback from the engineers has been invaluable.
He said: “It has ensured that the e-NV200 that goes on sale in June is well-suited to British road and business conditions and we have high expectations for its future and ongoing success.”
Jon Lawes, divisional managing director of Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Solutions which managed the trial, added: “We have been closely monitoring and analysing the trial throughout the six months it has been running and have been delighted with the way the e-NV200 has performed.
"We fully expect to see a continued increase in the adoption of electric vehicles for commercial fleet operations, and the success of the British Gas trial provides compelling evidence to support business use of electric vehicles.”