The next largest deal was for nine Partner vans from the Royal Mail and eight Peugeot 106 vans for the London Borough of Camden. Hull City Council is negotiating for a grant from the Government-backed PowerShift fund worth about £250,000 to finalise the deal and claims it could lead to an order for a further 30 vehicles after April, creating the first £1 million order for electric vehicles.
As part of a campaign to embrace green fleet practice, electricity to recharge the vehicles will be bought from a supplier generating power through wind turbines. Garry Middleton, fleet and engineering manager for Hull City Council, who operates a fleet of about 741-vehicles, including 400 vans and 30 cars, predominantly diesel, said: 'We considered liquefied petroleum gas, but decided that the fuel was still based upon fossil fuels and non-renewable resources.
'Using electric vehicles focuses on the future and is preparing for the use of fuel cell technology, so we are taking a stepping stone down that road.' The maximum range of the Peugeots, which will be supplied through Peugeot Contract Hire, is 57 miles with a full payload, but research by the council showed that its vehicles will cover about 43 miles a day.
An analysis of the cost of running the vehicles showed the council would pay £45 a week to run a normal van, not including the cost of fuel, while the Peugeot electric vehicles cost an estimated £47 a week including fuel. The council uses 1.4 million litres of diesel a year to fuel its fleet, but the cost of the electricity would be a fraction of the cost of the diesel. Comparing the electric fleet with the fleet it replaces, it is estimated that £24,000 would be spent on diesel, compared to about £5,000 on electricity.