Electrifying 10% of fleet saves £350k

21st December 2012

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Companies running large fleets could cut CO2 emissions by 5% and save £350,000 a year by replacing 10% of their vehicles with electric equivalents, say researchers

According to analysts TRL (Transport Research Laboratory), lower fuel costs alongside savings on maintenance and taxes mean that firms with fleets of more than 420 vehicles could see annual running costs cut by 1.6%, equating to £350,000 a year.

In new research, undertaken for British Gas, TRL examines the costs of running fleets across 10 different industry sectors and concludes that those operating in urban areas, with low mileage and frequent stops at charging stations have the most to gain in switching to electric vehicles (EVs).

According to TRL’s calculations, firms in the finance sector with a fleet of 2,860 cars could cut running costs by 1.9% – around £484,000 each year – and lower carbon emissions by 5.7% (800 tonnes), by replacing 10% of its fleet with EVs.

Business operating in the service sector could save an average of £270,000 a year and cut emissions by 5.5%, while those in the transport sector would see a 5% reduction in CO2 and a 1.2% cut in costs.

“Businesses, under pressure to reduce both costs and carbon emissions, cannot afford to ignore the benefits of electric vehicles,” said Colin Marriott, fleet general manager at British Gas, which aims to have 10% of its 14,000 fleet powered electrically by 2015.

In the public sector, the TRL predicts that the emergency services and NHS could save 1.8% in annual running costs – £271,000 – and lower carbon emissions by 5.6%, while the civil service and schools could save 1.7% and cut CO2 by 5.1% each year.

The research, which does not take into account the costs of replacing vehicles, also confirms that using EVs helps to reduce emissions of other air pollutants including carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). On average, a 10% EV fleet will see CO and HC emissions fall by 8.5-9%, with NOx output reduced by 1.6-2.4%.

However, switching to electrically-powered vehicles does increase emissions of particular matter being released into the atmosphere, confirms the report. It concludes that PM matter from fleets could increase by 11–46%, if 10% of vehicles are powered by electricity. It states that while new diesel vehicles have very low PM emissions, power stations, especially coal-fired ones, produce greater particulate emissions.

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