City of York Council adopted a Low Emission Strategy in October 2012 to help reduce the emissions of local air pollutants and greenhouse gases. As
transport is a key cause of poor air quality, the council’s goal is to improve the emissions of its own fleet and encourage drivers in York to reduce emissions. The council were interested in exploring the potential benefits of electric vehicles but they needed to establish their feasibility, for instance
they were keen to know whether charging could be done at their premises, what the infrastructure costs would be and to understand how whole life costs compared with equivalent conventionally fuelled vehicles.
City of York Council successfully applied for the Plugged-in Fleets initiative (PIFI), an Energy Saving Trust initiative aimed at helping organisations understand where plug-in vehicles could practically work for their business.
Energy Saving Trust, together with EDF Energy, discovered that the council’s premises were ideally suited to charge electric cars, given the power capacity and space for charging up to 20 vehicles. Having analysed their existing fleet of tradesmen’s vans and pool cars, Energy Saving Trust recommended they could replace existing pool cars and grey fleet with plug-in pool cars which would be cost-effective and practical. Based on an annual mileage of 10,000 miles, the Nissan Leaf would be a penny cheaper to run per mile, at current fuel prices, compared to the diesel vehicle they were operating. As fuel prices increase, the benefit of operating the Leaf will be greater due to lower running costs of the electric vehicle. Operating the electric vehicle will not just save money but also a tonne of CO2 per year.
The analysis and resulting recommendations gave the council a robust understanding of the feasibility and costs involved, as well as the confidence to invest in electric vehicles.
Since participating in PIFI, City of York Council has bought its first electric pool car, a Nissan Leaf, and is in the process of procuring another five electric pool cars. The next step for the council will be to begin electric van procurement. The Leaf has been adopted well within the department, so much so that some members of staff are considering buying one themselves.
City of York Council is now in a strong position to start promoting their fleet as an exemplar of the technology to other organisations, encouraging the transition towards cleaner fuels in York.
“From the detailed analysis undertaken by Energy Saving Trust, it was clear that we had lots to gain by switching to electric vehicles. Energy Saving Trust’s comparison of our existing fleet with new electric vehicles demonstrated what was achievable in terms of lower operational costs and emissions. As a result, we are now eager to run electric vehicles in our fleet and can do so with confidence.”
Derek McCreadie, low emission officer, City of York Council