British Gas Drives Ahead with 10% Electric Van Winter Challenge

This winter, British Gas will be trialling 28 all-electric-NV 200 vans to find out if the technology can cope with the demands of its engineers during the busy winter months.

This 6-month trial is part of the British Gas plan to convert 10 per cent of its 13,000 home service vans fleet to run on electricity by 2015.

The pilot scheme, which is being run in partnership with Hitachi Capital Commercial and Gateshead College, aims to test the vans at the busiest times of the year to ensure they can be relied upon to meet the highest level of demand.

A spokeswoman for British Gas told BusinessGreen that previous studies have suggested electric vans will be more reliable than traditional internal combustion engines because they have fewer moving parts and are cheaper to maintain.

As engineers take their vans home at night, British Gas has installed charging points at each of the participants' homes and will cover the cost of any power used to recharge them. It has also carefully selected test regions that have charging infrastructures already in place.

Jim Wright, Nissan Great Britain managing director, said the trial marks the culmination of two years of pilots for the e-NV200.

"We're proud to be providing the vehicles and services for the UK's largest ever electric commercial vehicle pilot in conjunction with our strategic partners," he said in a statement. "Piloting such a large number of vans with British Gas in advance of the e-NV200 going on sale in 2014 underlines the closeness of our relationship and marks the final stages of the vehicle's development.

"Our engineers will take the feedback of the British Gas drivers to ensure we launch a vehicle perfectly suited to British road and business conditions. With an expected harsh winter ahead, the 28 Nissan e-NV200s will be delivering home services around the country whatever the weather, demonstrating how strongly the 100 per cent electric van can perform for large fleets with challenging daily routines."

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