A government-backed project, which is demonstrating how fleets of all sizes can cut fuel costs by up to 75%, has reached its halfway point.
The Plugged-in Fleets Initiative 100 (PIFI 100) was launched at the start of April to help 100 British fleets understand how ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) could work for them.
The Energy Saving Trust, which is coordinating the £280,000 project on behalf of the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), has signed up 50 organisations.
Drinks manufacturer Red Bull, Birmingham City Council, South East Coast Ambulance Service and Leeds University are among those that have joined over the past six months.
Caroline Watson, the Energy Saving Trust’s knowledge manager, who is co-ordinating the project, said: “We’ve reached the halfway milestone in this initiative and all the evidence suggests that it’s helping businesses and other organisations nationwide cut their fuel costs as well as their carbon emissions.
“What PIFI 100 is showing is that – for most organisations operating fleets – there are great financial and carbon reduction benefits to be enjoyed from making full use of electric or hybrid vehicles.
“These could ultimately result in them reducing the running costs of their fleets by 75%.”
Those fleets accepted for one of the 100 places on the initiative receive: an analysis of where and how plug-in vehicles could work in their business, a wholelife cost analysis, which compares existing vehicles with plug-in alternatives, an outline of what needs to change to allow plug-in vehicles to make practical or financial sense for the organisation and a tailored final report with clear recommendations on recharging infrastructure.
PIFI 100 is running throughout the current financial year and follows the successful completion in March of the original Plugged-in Fleets Initiative which showed how 20 public and private sector organisations could adapt their fleets to electric and hybrid vehicles.
It found that some organisations could reduce their fuel costs by an average of 75%.
Watson explained: “Every business is different, according to the sector it’s operating in and what its fleet needs to accomplish.
“At the moment, there’s sometimes an issue helping those organisations that are running fleets of vans which weigh 3.5 tonnes or more as the technology doesn’t currently exist to meet their needs.
“But the value from this initiative comes from the expert analysis that takes place, which enables companies to realise whether it’s more cost-effective for them to use electric or hybrid vehicles and subsequently drive their fuel costs down.”
Electric pool cars will save York Council a penny a mile
City of York Council wanted to improve the emissions of its own fleet and encourage drivers in York to reduce CO2.
The council was keen to explore the benefits of electric vehicles, but needed to establish whether they would be feasible.
The council successfully applied for the Plugged-in Fleets initiative, an Energy Saving Trust (EST) scheme aimed at helping organisations understand where plug-in vehicles could practically work for their business.
EST and EDF Energy discovered the council’s premises were ideally suited to charge electric cars, given the power capacity and space for charging up to 20 vehicles. After analysis of the existing fleet of tradesmen’s vans and pool cars, EST recommended existing pool cars and grey fleet could be replaced with plug-in pool cars.
Based on an annual mileage of 10,000 miles, the Nissan Leaf would be a penny cheaper to run per mile than the diesel vehicles York Council was operating.
The analysis and resulting recommendations gave the council a better understanding of the feasibility and costs involved, as well as the confidence to spend money on the technology.
The council has since bought its first electric pool car, a Leaf, and is in the process of procuring another five electric pool cars.
The next step for the council will be to begin electric van procurement.