Low emission vans trial

Key Facts

  • Fund: Air Quality
  • Trial dates: November 2017 – March 2018
  • Region: Nationwide


Our Air Quality Designated Fund contributed to a project with the Energy Saving Trust (EST) to enable the road trial of electric vans on our network to fully explore the barriers hampering their uptake. South Yorkshire Police, Z-Tech (supporting Thames Water and United Utilities), Northern Gas Networks, Southway Housing and Forrest) supported us by agreeing to swap conventional diesel vans with one of our fleet of 17 electric vans for their day-to-day duties, especially including trips on our motorways.

The trial ran between November 2017 and March 2018, providing significant insight. EST also undertook additional market research, including in-depth interviews with senior fleet decision makers, project survey analysis, commercial vehicle surveys and analysis (15,000 surveys) and extensive literature review. The findings reported the most feasible solution to help accelerate the uptake of electric vans would be to create a centre of excellence, most likely working in partnership with a city to complement their Local Plan for Clean Air, to demonstrate such electric vans. We are exploring opportunities to achieve this.

How the project supports air quality improvements

The trial has encouraged cleaner behaviours – after their experience of using our electric vans, the South Yorkshire Police has made the case to purchase 12 electric vans to replace part of their fleet. This will help contribute to improve the quality of air and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Working in partnership with others has helped us tackle the challenge of accommodating additional movements of traffic whilst aiming to improve air quality in the shortest timescale possible. We believe working together is the best way to deliver improvements in air quality and that we have much to learn and share from all. Ultimately the solution to improving air quality on the roads we manage lies in the use of cleaner low emission vehicles.