The Clean Van Commitment is an initiative to tackle air pollution by encouraging the 100 largest UK van fleets to commit to being tailpipe emission-free in cities by 2028. Read a full summary of the Clean Van Commitment (PDF).

The invitation to join is also open to:

- vehicle manufacturers;

- energy and tech companies;

- city authorities and government.

Signatories to the Clean Van Commitment are demonstrating that they are ready to adopt clean vehicle technologies and to play their part in improving air quality.

We have already been in conversation about what the reality of this move towards cleaner fleets would look like. On 9 May we held a Fleet Manager Round Table with key spokespeople from organisations in the retail, utilities, healthcare, delivery and communications industries. They represented roughly 20,000 vans (1% of all vans in fleets in the UK). 

If you are a fleet operator keen to find out more about the Clean Van Commitment, email [email protected]

Clean Air Day partner ENGIE kindly supports Global Action Plan to work with leading fleet providers in this initiative.

Reasons to join the Clean Van Commitment

Nobody in the industry wants fleets to worsen air quality.

Yet 44 cities in the UK have air pollution levels that exceed World Health Organisation guidelines. Poor air quality is linked to heart disease, can cause and worsen asthma, and increases the risk of premature birth, low birth weight and decreased lung function development in children.

In fact, research by academics at the Universities of Oxford and Bath has revealed that the overall health damage from cars and vans costs the NHS and society £6 billion per year.  

Transport is the single largest contributor to air pollution levels in most cities, with vans the fastest growing vehicle type. There are approximately 4 million vans on UK roads, responsible for 12% of all diesel emissions in urban settings.

Using the standard UK "impact pathway approach", it is estimated that vans are responsible for about a tenth (£2.2 billion) of the total UK health damage costs from air pollution. 

But we can change this.

New technology is making the switch to low emission vehicles possible. Many city-based van fleets are already adopting electric vans, which have been shown to beat diesel vans on life-cycle costs (Energy Saving Trust).

Financial benefits of electric vehicles

- Electric vehicles (EVs) are cheaper to maintain. Savings of up to 20-30% on an average service can be achieved as electric engines are much less complicated that traditional petrol or diesel engines. They have fewer moving parts, so there is less wear and tear. [1]

- It’s cheaper to run an electric vehicle. Electricity is cheaper than petrol or diesel, meaning it can cost up to a third less per mile travelled. [2] In fact, according to the Energy Saving Trust, a full charge in a pure electric vehicle will cost you £3-£5, and will give you a range of 100 miles. To travel 100 miles in a petrol or diesel vehicle would cost £11-£16. [3] The best savings can be made by charging at off-peak times (typically late and overnight). Pure EVs costing no more than £40,000 have a zero rate of Vehicle Excise Duty. [4]

- There are generous government grants and tax incentives for switching to EVs [5]. There are also a number of ways to be savvy with your electric vehicle, and make further savings. The Energy Saving Trust offers advice on this. [6]

What's it like to drive an electric vehicle?

Drivers repeatedly report how smooth and peaceful it is to drive an electric vehicle. [7] Acceleration is immediate and smooth: high levels of torque allow swift acceleration from standstill. [8]

And driving an EV is better for health and air pollution. Drivers are exposed to significantly higher levels of air pollution than cyclists because cars gather pollution from the vehicle in front. [9]

Pure electric cars (non-hybrid) have no tail pipe emissions, reducing the contribution to high levels of air pollution that negatively affect people’s health (particularly in urban areas). [10]

Over the course of a lifetime, even with the energy and battery production, greenhouse gas emissions from an electric vehicle can be significantly lower than those from a petrol or diesel vehicle depending on the source of their electricity supply. [11]

Read what one driver has to say about his electric van.

Advice and test-driving electric vehicles

You can find out more information and arrange test drives through the following websites:

www.goultralow.com – the government and industry-led campaign to promote electric vehicles 

www.gov.uk/plug-in-car-van-grants – government grants and tax relief 

www.energysavingtrust.org.uk – savings and general advice

The Clean Van Commitment is coordinated by Global Action Plan, as part of the Clean Air Day initiative. Clean Air Day partner ENGIE kindly supports Global Action Plan to work with leading fleet providers in this initiative.

ENGIE has also committed to cleaning up its van fleet by 2028. 


[1] https://www.goultralow.com/why-switch/benefits-of-electric-cars/
[2] https://www.goultralow.com/why-switch/benefits-of-electric-cars/
[3] A full charge in a pure electric vehicle will cost around £3 to £5 and will give a typical range of 100 miles. Driving 100 miles in a petrol or diesel car will cost around £11 to £16 in fuel, which is around four times the cost of the electric car. The cost savings will be greatest when owners have access to an off-peak overnight electricity tariff. [4] http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/transport-travel/electric-vehicles
[5] https://www.gov.uk/plug-in-car-van-grants
[6] http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/transport-travel/electric-vehicles/electricity-tariffs-electric-vehicles
[7] https://www.goultralow.com/category/ownership/driving-experience/
[8] https://www.goultralow.com/why-switch/benefits-of-electric-cars/
[9] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-35504768; https://www.bewiser.co.uk/news/car-insurance/car-passengers-are-exposed-9-times-more-pollution-cyclists-and-children-breathe https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/health_impact_of_cars_in_london-sept_2015_final.pdf
[10] “ULEVs (when driven on electric power) emit zero ‘tailpipe’ carbon dioxide emissions.” p. 6 http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/sites/default/files/reports/A%20guide%20to%20ultra%20low%20emission%20vehicles%20for%20Fleet%20Managers.pdf; https://www.goultralow.com/why-switch/benefits-of-electric-cars/
[11] “Clearly, the vehicles are only as green as the electricity supply. However, plug-in vehicles charging from the UK’s National Grid emit considerably less carbon dioxide per mile travelled than petrol or diesel models. Even
considering the emissions associated with manufacture, electric cars and vans are less environmentally damaging than internal combustion models, and can help organisations meet their corporate social responsibility (CSR) objectives.” http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/sites/default/files/reports/ A%20guide%20to%20ultra%20low%20emission% 20vehicles%20for%20Fleet%20Managers.pdf – p. 6