The start of an electric van fleet?

The days of seeing the likes of the diesel powered Transit van in our cities could be numbered.

Britain is the first country outside of North America to host tests of Ford’s new Transit Connect Electric van. Ford is shipping 14 of the vehicles to the UK where they will be used by Scottish and Southern Energy. Under the government’s Ultra-Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator programme, the fleet of zero-emissions vehicles will be used in and around the London borough of Hillingdon throughout 2011. A charging network is being set up to enable drivers to trial the capabilities of the vans, which are said to have a 100 mile range on a full charge.

BT engineers are also trialling four electric vans in Milton Keynes and East London in a move that, if successful, will see similar vans rolled out more widely across the company’s fleet of 23,400 vehicles. A BT spokesman said that the Connect van, boasting a range of 100 miles between charges far exceeds the average 60 to 65 miles per day covered by the company’s vans on a normal day. Not only are they environmentally friendly, but the vans could deliver longer term cost benefits and their quietness makes them perfect for working in residential areas.

If electric vans become the new standard of commercial transport there will be an influx of vans for sale as companies adopt a greener vehicle and image. Ford are hoping to put the Transit Connect Electric on sale in Europe next year.

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