Sixteen of the UK's largest van fleets are set to go electric in a bid to kickstart the replacement of the UK's 4 million vans and clean up air pollution from vehicles.  

Initial signatories to the Clean Van Commitment, which is backed by roads minister Jesse Norman, include ENGIE, Tesco, Anglian Water, Leeds City Council, Network Rail and Yorkshire Ambulance Service (scroll down for a full list of signatories).

What is the Clean Van Commitment?

The Clean Van Commitment (CVC) is a clear statement of intent from some of the largest van fleet operators (PDF) that they want to speed up the switch to zero emission vans.

It provides manufacturers with the closest they will ever get to a guaranteed demand, and will kick start the full electrification of the UK’s 4 million diesel vans.

Zero emission vans (ZEVs) make up just 4,000 (0.1%) of UK vans. Increasing fleet demand for them will not only stimulate UK manufacturing, but provide a second-hand market, paving the way for independent van owners to switch to ZEVs in coming years.

The CVC, which will see an initial investment of £40 million over the next two years, is an initiative from Global Action Plan, and is part of the charity's drive to get more people and businesses tackling air pollution. 

Vans contribute 30% of the UK’s road transport nitrous oxide emissions, and this is set to increase as vans are the fastest growing vehicle type in the UK. The annual health cost to the NHS and wider society from older diesel vans is £2.2 billion, according to research commissioned by Global Action Plan.  

Government support for Clean Van Commitment

Roads minister Jesse Norman says: “The Government’s Road to Zero strategy outlines its intention to lead the world in the design and manufacturing of zero emission vehicles – delivering significant environmental, health and economic benefits. 

“This latest research further highlights the very serious potential impacts of nitrous dioxide pollution, and underlines the importance of the transition to greener transport. That is why the Clean Van Commitment is important, encouraging some of the biggest van fleet operators in the UK to switch to cleaner vehicles.”

Advantages of the Clean Van Commitment

Says Global Action Plan's Chris Large: "The Clean Van Commitment provides market certainty, gives van operators a push to commit to zero emission vans, and brings together the industry and progressive van fleets to find solutions to any hurdles preventing uptake."  

The CVC has already:

  • Brought together a demand for 2,400 zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) by 2020 and secured commitment to replace 18,000 diesel vans with ZEVs by 2028. By 2020, the 16 signatories to the CVC will put more electric vans on the road than have been bought by the whole UK industry in 2017-18. 

  • Inspired 16 major van fleets to publicly commit to adopting ZEVs (ENGIE electric van, pictured top), and prompted 40 more fleet operators to consider switching. Many of this latter group are switching without a public commitment.

  • Publicised ZEVs as a safe van fleet option, with 36 media articles covering the launch of the CVC.

  • Helped fleet managers and vehicle manufacturers better understand each other’s needs, minimising the hurdles to adopting ZEVs for all.

  • Delivered van operator’s insights to the Minister for Road Transport to inform policy.

If you would like to get involved with the Clean Van Commitment, please email [email protected]

Signatories to the Clean Van Commitment