M Group Services Plant & Fleet Solutions, a part of M Group Services, has participated with Ford in a year-long trial that suggests plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) commercial vehicles could help businesses trying to meet clean-air targets in cities.
The trial – supported by a £4.7m grant from the government-funded Advanced Propulsion Centre – consisted of 20 Ford Transit Custom Plug-In Hybrid vans covering 240,000 km (150,000 miles) over a 12-month period in London. Other organisations to participate in the trial included British Gas, Heathrow Airport, Royal Mail, Sky, Transport for London and Vodafone.
The purpose of the trial was to test whether organisations could carry out the typical daily duties of their diesel-powered vehicles, while maximising the use of zero-emissions electric-only mode.
During the trial, it was found that 75% of the fleet’s mileage in central London and 49% in greater London was completed using pure electric power. It was claimed this showed that even without a fully established electric vehicle charging network, the hybrid vans were able to dramatically reduce exhaust emissions in the inner city, using the flexibility of a petrol range-extender to complete longer journeys when required. Three-quarters of all mileage travelled by vans in Central London could be done using the fully-electric range of a plug-in hybrid van.
Director of Ford’s Urban Electrified Van programme Mark Harvey said: “Emissions-free mobility is essential for the future of our cities and their citizens, but we know there are still barriers we face in the move to electrification. We also know that businesses still have legitimate concerns about the range of fully electric vehicles, as well as their cost-effectiveness and reliability. These trials have helped Ford and its customers to investigate the extent to which PHEVs can help to achieve urban air quality goals, whilst not compromising on productivity.”
M Group Services Plant & Fleet Solutions Fleet Director Stewart Lightbody added: “It was important for us to take part in this trial, as we are passionate about reducing the environmental impact and carbon footprint of all of the Group businesses we support and which operate nationwide. This is one of many initiatives to increase the use of electric vehicles within our fleet.”
M Group Services Plant & Fleet Solutions supports all M Group Services businesses including Morrison Utility Services, Dyer & Butler, Morrison Data Services and Morrison Telecom Services, providing commercially effective vehicles, plant and specialist equipment and ensuring that they are safe, compliant and fit for purpose throughout their operation.