British Gas says it plans to never order another ICE vehicle after signing a deal for a further 2,000 Vivaro-e electric vans from Vauxhall.
Centrica, owner of British Gas, has committed to electrify its 12,000 strong operational fleet by 2025, five years earlier than originally planned, as part of its commitment to become a net zero organisation.
It also said it will be making further orders with Vauxhall for electric vehicles (EVs) as soon as they are available.
Centrica has also committed to make its 1,500 company cars EV only in the same time frame.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “It’s encouraging to see that one of Britain’s best-known brands is leading the way with the largest commercial EV fleet in the UK.
“This is a huge step as we build back greener, lower our carbon footprint and deliver better air quality up and down the country – with more zero-emission models of cars and vans on the market than ever before, there has never been a better time for drivers and businesses to make the switch.”
In addition to the 1,000 electric vans purchased last Summer, the Vauxhall purchase represents one of the largest commercial BEV (battery electric vehicle) orders in the UK to date.
All 3,000 electric vehicles will be on the road by 2022.
Chris O’Shea, chief executive of Centrica, said: “Everyone needs to act now to lower carbon emissions and help the UK reach net zero.
“We are leading from the front by not only lowering emissions for our customers and our communities, but by lowering our own emissions, and by increasing the speed at which we do this.
“Fully electrifying our fleet will make a big difference.”
While engineers can volunteer to have the new vans during the rollout, the company is prioritising high pollution areas to help lower emissions.
British Gas engineers will install all chargers at engineer homes and is accelerating EV adoption in the UK for homes and businesses with charger installs and innovative EV tariffs.
The company, which was named Fleet of the Year for 1,001-plus vehicles at the 2020 Fleet News Awards, is currently increasing the EV engineer workforce through training existing engineers, recruiting new engineers, and creating 1,000 new engineering apprenticeships by the end of 2022.
Paul Willcox, managing director of Vauxhall Motors, said: “The strength of the quantity of orders for our all-electric van demonstrates that the Vauxhall Vivaro-e can contribute towards the transition towards low emissions vehicles whilst improving air quality.”
British Gas had originally planned to transition 10% of its commercial fleet to electric by 2017. However, it missed that target, pushing it back to 2020, blaming shortcomings in the charging infrastructure and the technology available at the time.