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NHS Trust adds hybrid van to fleet

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The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust has become the first NHS Foundation Trust to add a hybrid van to its fleet.

The 3.5t Ashwoods Hybrid Transit is used for hospital courier transport. It can do all the same tasks as a standard diesel van, but is up to 25% more fuel-efficient. This means the vehicle delivers a return on investment after the first 20,000 miles.

The Royal Devon and Exeter (RD&E) purchased the vehicle from manufacturer Ashwoods Automotive, which is also based in Exeter. And, thanks to a Department for Transport subsidy, the Trust was able to purchase the vehicle for the same price as a standard Ford Transit.

David Searle, RD&E fleet manager, said: “We are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from our fleet where possible, in support of the NHS’ Carbon Reduction Strategy.

“We are proud to be the first NHS Trust to deploy this innovative hybrid van, which not only cuts carbon but also saves us money on fuel.

“With Ashwoods also based in Exeter we know we will receive excellent after-sales service and at the same time we are able to support a local company."

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions is reduced by 15-25% through Ashwoods' hybrid drive technology. The system is entirely self-powered; it stores energy every time the vehicle slows down then transfers it to the wheels via an electric motor. It never needs plugging into a charging point and operators don’t have to worry about the battery going flat.

The trust’s van is also fitted with Ashwoods’ Lightfoot driver behaviour system. Lightfoot advises the driver on how to operate the van in the most fuel-efficient manner by using real-time audio and visual aids in the cab. The technology is proven to deliver an average 15% improvement in fuel consumption.

The RD&E purchased the vans through Phase Two of the Department for Transport’s Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Programme (LCVPP.) This initiative aimed to help public sector bodies in England and Wales to procure and assess 500 Ashwoods Hybrid LCVs. The DfT provided a subsidy of £3,430 per vehicle.

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