A demonstrator programme that will give fleets real-world experience and data of operating electric vans over the long term has been launched by the fleet services division of GE Capital.
Two Azure Transit Connect Electric models have been bought by GE Capital and are being offered to the company’s UK customers and others to trial for periods ranging from one week to one month. They are expected to form part of GE’s fleet as an electric vehicle real-world assessment for at least the next three years.
The vans have been fitted with telematics equipment along with axle weight sensors to ensure that full operating data can be captured and analysed. Fleets using the vehicles will also be asked to provide further specific information about how they are being used, as well as their general impressions.
The Transit Connect Electric has a top speed of 75 mph and a range of up to 80 miles. Its lithium-ion battery pack is charged with a standard power outlet and a full charge can be completed in about eight hours using a standard 240v power supply.
Gary Killeen, commercial director for Fleet Services at GE Capital, said: “For the first time, practical electric vehicles are becoming available to fleets in the UK and there is a great deal of curiosity among our customer base and the fleet sector in general about how they will perform in real-world conditions.
“This programme is designed to give our customers a taste of how electric vehicles may fit into their fleet while allowing us to gather a mass of information about everything from practical range to driver perception. We are really looking forward to seeing the results.”
Killeen added that an electric van model rather than a car had been selected for the programme because it was believed that these were presently a more practical fleet proposition.
He explained: “Our projection is that the first sector of the fleet market that is likely to seriously consider widespread electric vehicle adoption are local delivery fleets where a range of about 80 miles is usually adequate and overnight charging can be done at the depot or the driver’s home.”
On a global scale, GE is committed to the development of the electric vehicle market through innovations such as its WattStation charging point and its recent agreement with Peugeot-Citroen to develop electric vehicle infrastructure solutions in Europe including purchasing 1,000 electric vehicles from the manufacturer.
Non GE customer fleets will be considered by GE for the electric vehicle demonstrator programme. Please enquire by email.