Eleven organisations have been awarded 'Go Ultra Low Company' status, under a new initiative launched today (May 11) to recognise their use of electric vehicles.
Microsoft UK, University of Birmingham and London Fire Brigade are among the first to be on board. The other organisations to receive Go Ultra Low Company status are: Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust; Environment Agency; Fleetdrive Electric; eConnect Cars; Gnewt Cargo; Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and Manchester Metropolitan University.
Public and private sector companies that already use EVs, or offer them to employees as company cars, will be eligible providing there’s a commitment for EVs to make up at least 5% of their vehicle fleet by 2020.
Andrew Jones, transport minister, said: “The UK’s long-term economic plan is investing £600 million by 2020 to improve air quality, create jobs and achieve our goal of every new car and van in the UK being ultra-low emission by 2040.”
The London Fire Brigade runs a car fleet of 57 vehicles, 100% of which will become electric in 2016. The University of Birmingham operates 15 plug-in cars and vans – representing 16% of its total fleet. Currently, 6% of Microsoft UK’s fleet are EVs, with plans to increase this share to 15% by October 2016 and 20% by April 2017.
Katie Colledge-Price, car benefits manager at Microsoft UK, said: “Microsoft first started offering electric vehicles as company cars five years ago, as we could see the relevance of the new technology and the potential long-term cost savings.”
Monica Guise, sustainable logistics manager at the University of Birmingham, added: “Being part of Go Ultra Low enables the University to share its best practice and learnings with other organisations looking to incorporate the use of electric vehicles in their day-to-day activities.”
Poppy Welch, head of Go Ultra Low, said: “Not only are electric vehicles cleaner, but they can save businesses and employees money. Businesses large and small are going electric and choosing from the wide range vehicles available today – from 4x4s and vans to hatchbacks and saloon cars.”
AMT Vehicle Rental has invested £200,000 to increase the number of EVs on its rental fleet, and gained the status.
Andy Crinson, general manager of AMT Vehicle Rental, added: “With the growing interest in electric vehicles, we made a conscious decision to invest in the latest eco-friendly models and they are already proving extremely popular.
“We hope that by leading the way and being among the first rental companies in the UK to also offer premium electric cars and hybrids, we will play a role in introducing more drivers to the benefits of energy-efficient vehicles."