The operators of the largest electric van and truck fleets in the UK are urging other companies to follow their lead.

TNT Express and Sainsbury’s Online are among seven leading UK companies working with the Mayor of London to encourage wider take-up of commercial electric vehicles.

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TNT has the largest fleet of new technology electric delivery trucks in the world. Supplied by Smith Electric Vehicles, the Smith Newton has a top speed of 50mph and a range of up to 100 miles.

Tom Bell, Regional Managing Director, TNT Express UK & Ireland, told Tachoblog,  “TNT is delighted to be at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution and we’re extremely proud of our 100-strong fleet which is the largest express delivery fleet in the world.

“London was the natural choice to trial TNT’s first zero emission vehicle three years ago, and since then we’ve deployed them around 23 other major towns and cities. TNT fully supports the Mayor’s initiative in London and we are happy to share our expertise and knowledge with all City Hall stakeholders to ensure the capital has a much greener future on the roads.’

Sainsbury’s Online utilises Smith Edison vans for home shopping delivery in London. An early adopter of EVs, Sainsbury’s has worked with Smith Electric Vehicles since 2006 and now has the largest fleet of new technology electric delivery vans in Britain. As part of a longstanding commitment to greening its fleet, Sainsbury’s Online is ordering an additional 50 electric vans.

Speaking to Tachoblog, Jat Sahota, Sainsbury’s head of corporate responsibility, said: ’Showing respect for the environment is one of our key values, which is why we have just placed an order for 50 brand new electric vans. This will allow us to deliver to the majority of our customers in central London in an environmentally responsible way.

“We believe this to be the largest order of its kind by a UK retailer. We are committed to using electric vehicles wherever possible, so customers can expect to see more and more of our ‘little green vans’ appearing on roads across the UK over the coming months and years.”

Sainsbury’s and TNT have signed up to work together with City Hall to share their experiences and to help other organisations across London to do the same. Other companies who have electric vans on London’s streets and are supporting the scheme include DHL Supply Chain and Go-Ahead London.

Leading bus operator Go-Ahead London recently took delivery of its first Smith Edison vans following a successful month-long trial of the technology. The vans are used as support vehicles to keep London’s bus fleet running.

Frank Thorpe, Business Development Manager, Go-Ahead London, told Tachoblog, “Go-Ahead are pleased to be working with the Mayor of London’s initiative to encourage the use and development of electric vehicles and we are committed to converting our entire bus support fleet in London to electric power as soon as possible.”

The Mayor has developed ambitious plans to make London the electric vehicle capital of Europe by pledging to deliver 25,000 charging points to form an integrated network across London by 2015; add 1,000 electric vehicles to the GLA fleet and guarantee to retain the congestion charge exemption for EVs. Turning London’s fleets electric is a first step to achieving this and City Hall will offer help, advice and information for companies that want to take the plunge.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said to Tachoblog ‘I am thrilled to announce a partnership with some of London’s largest fleet owners who are committed to using eco-friendly vehicles on the streets of the capital.

“Not only do electric vehicles save a large sum off fuel bills, helping businesses to remain lean in tough economic times, they are also great for London’s environment.

“We are now going to work hand in hand with fleet owners to accelerate the take-up of electric vehicles, which are available to buy right now. This is a key element of my plan for London to become the electric capital of Europe, so now is the time for other companies to join us on this eco-mission.”

Companies wanting advice on electric vehicles or information on the Mayor’s electric vehicle plans can visit: www.london.gov.uk/electricvehicles/ or email: ev@london.gov.uk