A group of 11 UK businesses are the first to be names Go Ultra Low Company status in recognition of the firm’s uptake of electric vehicles (EVs). The new scheme includes a variety of different companies and feature both public and private operations.
Run by Go Ultra Low – the campaign to promote green transport funded by UK Government and ultra low emission vehicle (ULEV) manufacturers – the new project recognises organisations that already have a significant EV presence on their fleets, and already have plans to increase those levels.
The first 11 organisations to receive Go Ultra Low Company status are:
• AMT Vehicle Rental
• Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust
• Environment Agency
• Fleetdrive Electric
• eConnect Cars
• Gnewt Cargo
• Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
• London Fire Brigade
• Manchester Metropolitan University
• Microsoft UK
• University of Birmingham
Public and private sector organisations that already use EVs, or offer them to employees as company cars, will be eligible for Go Ultra Low Company status, providing there’s a commitment for EVs to make up at least 5 per cent of their vehicle fleet by 2020.
This qualifying criteria mirrors government forecasts that EVs will represent 5 per cent of total UK new car registrations by the end of the decade. The government has allocated more than £600m up to at least 2020 to support the plug-in vehicle grant, improve charging infrastructure, and boost the electric car industry.
The London Fire Brigade runs a car fleet of 57 vehicles, 100 per cent of which will become electric in 2016. The University of Birmingham operates 15 plug-in cars and vans – representing 16 per cent of its total fleet. Currently, 6 per cent of Microsoft UK’s fleet are EVs, with plans to increase this share to 15 per cent by October 2016 and 20 per cent by April 2017.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “It’s great to see a growing number of British fleets going green and I would encourage other businesses to learn from these Go Ultra Low companies and benefit from the huge fuel and tax savings offered by electric vehicles.
“The UK is a world leader in the uptake of low emission vehicles and our long-term economic plan is investing £600 million by 2020 to improve air quality, create jobs and achieve our goal of every new car and van in the UK being ultra-low emission by 2040.”
Poppy Welch, Head of Go Ultra Low, said: “It’s fantastic to see organisations from across the public and private sector leading the way in the uptake of electric vehicles. We want to encourage every business in the UK adopt these vehicles into their fleets and offer their employees the chance to drive or own an electric vehicle.
“Not only are electric vehicles cleaner, but they can save businesses and employees money. Businesses large and small are going electric and choosing from the wide range vehicles available today – from 4x4s and vans to hatchbacks and saloon cars.”
Katie Colledge-Price, UK Car Benefits Manager, Microsoft UK, said: “Microsoft UK first started offering electric vehicles as company cars five years ago, as we could see the relevance of the new technology and the potential long-term cost savings. The variety of EVs available now means there’s something for everyone – and we’re delighted with the response we’ve had and continue to hear from our employees.”
Monica Guise, Sustainable Logistics Manager, University of Birmingham, commented: “The University of Birmingham is actively committed to seeking innovative ways to reduce carbon emissions from its transport fleet and has seen a number of benefits through the use of electric vehicles. Being part of Go Ultra Low enables the University to share its best practice and learnings with other organisations looking to incorporate the use of electric vehicles in their day-to-day activities.”