Announcement of the deal comes as Vauxhall - which claims to be the market leader for gas-powered vehicles - believes 1999 will be a major year in the expansion of the gas-powered fleet vehicle market. Dual-fuel Astras, Vectras and Omegas are all available, as well as dual-fuel versions of Combo and Astravans and Vauxhall expects to have a dual-fuel Omega V6 on the market by mid-1999 largely aimed at police fleets.
However, crucial to fleet acceptability of gas-powered vehicles has been warranty issues, manufacturer claims that the efficiency of gas vehicles live up to real-life examination, and the availability of a refuelling infrastructure.
Gareth Lewis, the council's assistant director of highways, technical and property services with responsibility for the council's 700-strong fleet, which includes 150 spot hire vehicles and 200 cars and vans as well as specialist vehicles, said: 'One of the key reasons we selected Vauxhall was that its dual-fuel vehicles are factory produced and come with a full manufacturer's warranty. Gas vehicles have been around for a long time but we have shunned such vehicles before because no one has taken sole responsibility for warranty cover. Vauxhall's commitment to the vehicle and the market is vital.'
Swansea has its own clean air charter and the local authority, which will have its own refuelling pump installed in its depot, says it will allow other local fleets to use the facility. The first batch of vehicles was bought with the help of £40,000 of funding from Powershift and will be supplied through Vauxhall Master Hire on a five-year/ 75,000-mile replacement cycle.