Electric van trial could have huge implications

It appears that the trickle of van drivers earning their living from driving an electric van will soon become a flood.

How quickly the new generation of vehicles seems to be taking hold in the western world. It seems just like yesterday that the new technologies in the motoring industry were sending out weird and wonderful experimental vehicles that would one day replace petrol/diesel powered vans. All of a sudden they seem to be here.

The gap between experimental trial and full production appears to have fused into one. Not long ago the talk of getting commercial vehicle insurance on a zero emissions van was pie in the sky, this week two of the western world’s biggest corporations have announced they could be turning to electric vehicles on a huge scale.

In the United States of America, a spokesman at the headquarters of international conglomerate, General Electric, announced they would be placing an order for 12,000 electric vehicles and plug in hybrids, without a shadow of a doubt the biggest single order for electric vehicles ever.

Back in the United Kingdom, BT the telecommunications giant have announced the start of a small trial that could lead to masses of electrical vans on the roads of the UK. They propose to start a trial involving just 4 vehicles in Milton Keynes and parts of London, however, if successful the trial could have big implications.

The trial will feature two converted Ford vans and two Peugeots. On the surface, the trial looks very positive. BT says the converted vans will have a battery range of about 100 miles which is 50% more than the city based vans average in their working day. They say they will monitor the battery life, energy usage and feedback from their engineers on their general suitability before going any further but BT bosses are confident the vans will not only significantly reduce the company’s carbon footprint but should also save the company money on maintenance and running costs.

If successful the vans will replace a big proportion of the company’s 23,000 strong fleet. It would at a stroke massively raise the profile of electric vans in the UK and the industry may well now be pushing the government to speed up the time-scale for plug in points to be fitted around the country.



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