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Scottish Water begins transition to electric fleet

Nissan ENV200

Scottish Water has introduced 20 new Nissan e-NV200 electric vans to its fleet, as part of a transition to plug-in vehicles.

The move comes as a new report for the public water and waste water organisation said up to 60% of its operational fleet could turn electric to reduce transport emissions.

The comprehensive review of over 1,300 vehicles, by Cenex, identified where suitable electric vehicles could be introduced, the location and type of charging infrastructure required, and provided a strategic deployment plan to meet Scottish Water's commitment to net zero emissions by 2040.

Pre-pandemic, Scottish Water’s fleet of vehicles – from HGVs and large heavy-payload vans to small general purpose vans and cars – clocked up 19 million miles annually.

The organisation pledged to become net zero by 2040 and set out plans to achieve that in a routemap published in September 2020.

Its new vehicles will be used by water quality samplers, technical teams and network operatives. They will be on the road by April 2022.

Elaine Pringle, Scottish Water’s fleet manager, said: “We are now starting our journey to putting zero emissions vehicles on the road – and planning for more. We operate a varied fleet with specific usage profiles, payload and towing requirements and equipment.

“We will now carry out our own real-world testing – including having access to vital charging infrastructure at workplaces and at home - to ensure the electric vehicle technology will meet operational requirements with no impact on customer service.”

A new Scottish Water project team led by EV vehicle specialists is now in place to take forward the fleet transformation opportunities.

As well as achieving significant emission savings, including carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides, the electric vehicles are expected to generate substantial financial savings for the fleet from reduced fuel and maintenance costs over their operational life.

Scottish Water is also exploring the use of alternative fuels for heavy vehicles including compressed natural gas (CNG) and “drop-in” fuels such as Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO).

Crucial to successful roll-out is access to electric vehicle charging points at strategic locations across the country. Charging stations have already been installed at key Scottish Water offices, treatment plants and depots. Scottish Water Horizons, the utility’s commercial subsidiary, are installing charge points during the build of new renewables sites as a cost-effective way of accelerating their deployment.

Robert Anderson, senior fleet specialist at Cenex, said: “With such a large and varied operation, Scottish Water was one of the most complex vehicle fleets for us to assess and plan for a zero-emission fleet transition. In-depth analysis has shown that even with such a varied fleet operation, there is still great potential to transition the van fleet to electric, with limited impact on business operations.”

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