UK Power Networks has announced it is trialling eight electric vans as part of its operational fleet.

The Renault Kangoo vans will be based at depots across London and will be used in a bid to reduce the network distributor’s carbon footprint which is already 16.7 per cent smaller than in 2015, the company claims.

UK Power Networks will install 27 charge points across 14 of the company’s offices and depots and the electricity network plans to power the charge points with on-site solar generation at six of the locations.

Patrick Clarke, director of network operations at UK Power Networks, said: “We are leading the development of a smart, flexible grid to support EVs, improve air quality and reduce our carbon footprint.

“Piloting EVs in our fleet and introducing EVs to the company car list is improving the environment for communities now and investing in the health of future generations.

“We are committed to being the most environmentally responsible and lowest cost electricity network operator. EVs will help further reduce our carbon footprint and boost air quality, which is especially important in areas where children live and play, near busy main roads.”

The network operator, which is part of the mayor of London’s “EV Infrastructure Taskforce”, says it is gearing up to connect an estimated 4.1 million EVs to its networks across London, the South East and East of England by 2030.

Keith Whitney, an electricity substation inspector in south London, will be driving one of the new electric vans.

He said: “I’m glad the company is doing this because they will save a lot of money and reduce air pollution in the long term. I live on a main road and if most traffic was EV we wouldn’t get any noise or particulate pollution. Children are more susceptible as nitrous oxide hangs lower in the air.”

The network operator has also announced that it is introducing the first fully electric car to its company car list. The addition of the Renault Zoe will give staff the choice to switch to EVs.

Earlier this week (1 October), the network operator announced it would be using the online platform Piclo which enables providers to explore an interactive map and identify the areas where UK Power Networks is seeking flexibility to add capacity.

The company said it has plans for 25 “flexibility first” zones to procure more than 100MW of flexibility services from distributed energy resources as part of its programme to create new markets for flexibility services and lower energy costs for its 8.3 million customers.

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