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Why ENGIE is committing to clean, zero-emission vans

In 2017 ENGIE set itself the goal of having zero diesel vehicles in its 1,825-strong fleet by 2025. Speaking to ENGIE’s Corporate Responsibility and Environment Director, Jamie Quinn, we found out more about switching to an electric fleet and ENGIE's commitment to cleaner air in our cities.

“At ENGIE we want to be leaders in green mobility and air quality solutions, and committing to clean vans in our fleet is one way to make this happen,” says Jamie.

Why switch to zero-emissions vehicles?
As well as making long-term financial sense for the business, for ENGIE, the driving factor behind these commitments was the need to address poor air quality in urban environments, in turn helping them to improve lives through better living and working environments.

ENGIE delivers services across the UK and has the power to have a direct impact. Already leaders in renewable energy and smart technology, switching its fleet to electric vehicles (EVs) would have an immediate positive impact on the communities its serves and where its drivers work.

How do you transform from diesel to electric?
ENGIE took a number of steps to help them succeed:

1) Fleet Managers as a driving force The Fleet Manager was ultimately responsible for the practicalities of reviewing and renewing vehicles in the fleet, as they usually would when the time comes to upgrading vehicles.

David Brooks, Transport for London Maintenance Manager, who works with ENGIE, now has an electric Peugeot Partner and EV charger installed at his home. "The EV charger install and transition to an electric vehicle went smoothly," says David (pictured top). "The Peugeot Partner electric vans are effortless to drive and the days of filling up at petrol stations before work have become a thing of the past." Read more about David's experience with his electric van.

2) Investing in infrastructure ENGIE has fitted charging points at places of work and provided charge points for drivers at home for free. It also acquired the major charging infrastructure company, EV-Box, in order to offer the service to its clients while building charging capacity across its fleet.

3) Investing in technology that works for them ENGIE invested in Masternaut Telematics technology to track mileage and understand which vans would be suitable for the switch to EV.

4) Creating a buzz and engaging staff ENGIE communicated its commitment across the organisation to raise awareness and get buy in. More widely across the business, training packs and videos were provided to adopters, as well as a salary sacrifice scheme for employees switching to ultra-low emission vehicles.

The challenges
The commitment to zero-emission vans hasn’t been without its challenges, which have mostly been around perception of a limited charging infrastructure. But these are being solved. Common misconceptions about charging and driving range have been dispelled through colleague engagement, and are less applicable to current EVs and smart infrastructure.

The benefits
It makes good business sense to switch to EVs. There are plenty of long-term financial benefits - fewer maintenance issues have been reported, and the associated costs are much lower. Lease costs and the whole life costing of vehicle (including fuel) are much lower than with petrol or diesel vans.

On top of this, there is an increasing range of vehicles coming on to the market. There are also plenty of grants and subsidies from government to support the change to electric.

There are also social benefits, with air pollution in urban areas being reduced and drivers exposed to less air pollution.

From an environmental perspective, switching to EVs can also help your company hit its carbon saving and sustainability targets.

As Jamie Quinn puts it: “I believe this is the right direction of travel for ENGIE and the wider business world. The transition away from fossil fuel based combustion engines through to EVs and alternative fuels delivers major social, environmental and financial benefits.”

What can you do?
Join ENGIE and other leading organisations in the Clean Van Commitment - a public pledge to help clean up air pollution by moving to zero-emission vans in urban areas by 2028.