British Gas today announces that it is ordering 2,000 new all-electric Vivaro-e vans from Vauxhall and has introduced plans to never purchase another combustion engine vehicle. As part of its commitment to become a net-zero organisation, Centrica, owner of British Gas, has committed electrify its 12,000 strong operational fleet by 2025.
This committed to go electric is five years earlier than originally planned. Centrica will be making further orders with Vauxhall for electric vehicles (EVs) as soon as they are available. Centrica has also committed to making its 1,500 company cars electric-only in the same time frame.
In addition to the 1,000 EVs purchased last summer, the Vauxhall purchase represents the largest commercial battery EV order in the UK to date. All 3,000 EVs will be on the road by 2022. While engineers can volunteer to have the new vans during the rollout, the company is prioritising high pollution areas to help lower emissions.
British Gas engineers will install all chargers at engineers’ homes and are accelerating EV adoption in the UK for homes and businesses with charger installs and innovative EV tariffs. The company is currently increasing the EV engineer workforce through training existing engineers and recruiting new engineers. As a result, will be creating 1,000 new engineering apprenticeships by the end of 2022.
This is an impressive move towards a clean future from Centrica and smart of them to support their engineers with infrastructure, especially with such a large fleet. Hopefully, this will encourage other large companies to be forward-thinking and follow suit.
Chris O’Shea, chief executive of Centrica, said: “Everyone needs to act now to lower carbon emissions and help the UK reach net zero. We are leading from the front by not only lowering emissions for our customers and our communities, but by lowering our own emissions, and by increasing the speed at which we do this. Fully electrifying our fleet will make a big difference.
“At the same time, we are helping our customers make the switch to electric and working with motor manufacturers such as Vauxhall on services and solutions for their EV customers such as charge points, infrastructure and innovative EV tariffs with cheaper charging at night and free EV miles. We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with the Government to create the new jobs our country needs as we all seek to build back greener.”
Paul Willcox, Managing Director of Vauxhall Motors, said: “I am delighted that British Gas has added to its initial order of fully-electric Vauxhall Vivaro-e vans that now represents the largest EV order for a commercial fleet in the UK. The strength of the quantity of orders for our all-electric van demonstrates that the Vauxhall Vivaro-e can contribute towards the transition towards low emissions vehicles whilst improving air quality.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “It’s encouraging to see that one of Britain’s best-known brands is leading the way with the largest commercial EV fleet in the UK. This is a huge step as we build back greener, lower our carbon footprint and deliver better air quality up and down the country. With more zero-emission models of cars and vans on the market than ever before, there has never been a better time for drivers and businesses to make the switch.”