Six years and 2m miles into the electric journey: British Gas answers the tricky questions

British Gas is genuinely at the forefront of vehicle technology. Having started its electric vehicle (EV) journey in 2014, it’s already got 10% of its 10,000-strong UK van fleet as EVs.

What’s more, as an EV100 signatory it has pledged to be totally zero-carbon by 2030.

Can it achieve this? Matt Eisenegger puts this question to British Gas Head of Fleet Steve Winter, who explains what needs to be done, and the challenges that are ahead.

As he takes starts to take delivery of 1,000 Vauxhall Vivaro-e vans (the UK’s largest single EV order to date) he explains how his fleet management team of six has risen to this challenge.

The June 2020 order for 1,000 Vivaro-e vans is the UK’s biggest single EV order to date

With British Gas’ engineers’ vans all home-based, the tricky questions of home charging, how the energy is paid for and reimbursed and the need for on-call engineers to always have their van ready and available have been answered.

Steve explains how they’ve done this, and also how to deal with unexpected events, driven as a result of changes by local and national politicians to policy. And, that sometimes these policy changes don’t even have anything to do with transport, yet have unintended knock-on consequences.

He also reveals the ‘unseen’ positive aspects of EVs’ total cost of ownership (TCO), which mean that British Gas is seeing around £800-1,000 per year TCO savings per EV.

He also addresses some of the wider problems that have yet to be tackled – from the limited range of vehicles available, to public infrastructure payment methods and how to heat the vans’ drivers.

Now, with six years and two-million EV miles under the fleet’s belt, Steve is one of the most experienced EV fleet operators in the UK, meaning that this episode is packed with useful tips and pointers – not least on where we might be in 10 years’ time…

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