The Go Ultra Low scheme has awarded special status to 65 UK organisations since May 2016 in recognition of their commitment to adopt electric vehicles as a larger proportion of their fleets.
As Go Ultra Low Companies, the firms already use electric vehicles (EVs) or offer them to their employees but have also pledged to ensure EVs make up at least 5% of their vehicle fleet by 2020.
The initiative has been endorsed by the government and incorporates any vehicle eligible for its plug-in grant scheme, which provides grants towards the cost of a range of different types of EV. Several leading members of the automotive industry have also approved of the initiative, which already counts Transport for London (TfL), University of Cambridge, Britvic and Vital Energi among its ranks.
Poppy Welch, head of Go Ultra Low, said: “The response to the Go Ultra Low Companies scheme has been excellent, from both the private and public sectors – ranging from small businesses to an 800-year-old university.
“This eclectic mix of Go Ultra Low Companies is setting an example for the rest of the UK. With more and more electric vehicles now available, we encourage every organisation and fleet to consider switching to electric.”
TfL currently has 16 EVs in its fleet, a figure which it plans to increase to 120 by 2018; well above the requirements of a Go Ultra Low Company.
Lilli Matson, TfL’s head of strategy and outcome planning, said: “Our fleet of electric vehicles keeps the capital moving by helping to maintain the street network and keep buses on the roads. It is essential that whilst doing this we minimise the impact on the environment. The granting of Go Ultra Low Company status is a welcome recognition of our efforts to lead by example and address the challenge of cleaning up the capital’s toxic air.
“I would urge as many of the city’s businesses and institutions as possible to aim for this standard. Increased uptake of environmentally-friendly transport creates a virtuous circle of economies of scale, cheaper vehicles and the creation of a mass market.”
TfL is not the only Go Ultra Low Company planning to outdo its targets, with the University of Cambridge – currently with nine EVs making up 9% of its total fleet – planning to increase its share to 20% before the end of 2020.
Similarly, soft drinks producer Britvic hopes to increase its fleet of 20 EVs to 50 by 2020, representing a 10% share of its total fleet.
Some firms have already reached 100% electrification of their fleets such as POD Point, which manufactures electric car charging stations. The company plans to increase its fleet from 20 to 100 and will ensure all of these new additions are electric.
Erik Fairbairn, the founder of POD Point, said: “We’re really pleased to have been awarded Go Ultra Low Company status as we already run a fully plug-in fleet, from our company cars to our installation vans. POD Point is on a mission to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles through the provision of charging points, and the Go Ultra Low scheme supports this by reducing the environmental impact of company transport.”
Go Ultra Low says initiatives like its Companies scheme is taking advantage of the fleet sector’s willingness to embrace EV technology after more than 45% more EVs were registered in the first half of 2016 when compared to the previous year. According to the figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), businesses have made up 72% of the registrations volume for the year so far.
This article has been amended since publication to include comment from Erik Fairbairn.