In 2017 ENGIE set themselves the goal of having zero diesel vehicles in their 1,825-strong fleet by 2025.

Speaking to ENGIE’s Corporate Responsibility and Environment Director, Jamie Quinn, we found out more about switching to an electric fleet and their commitment to cleaner air in our cities.

“At ENGIE we want to be leaders in green mobility and air quality solutions, and committing to clean vans in our fleet is one way to make this happen,” says Jamie.

Why did they do it?

As well as making long-term financial sense for the business, for ENGIE, the driving factor behind these commitments was the need to address poor air quality in urban environments, in turn helping them to improve lives through better living and working environments.

ENGIE delivers services across towns and cities in the UK and has the power to have a direct impact. Already leaders in renewable energy and smart technology, switching their fleet to electric vehicles would have an immediate positive impact on the communities they serve and where their drivers work.

How did they do it?

ENGIE took a number of steps to help them succeed: 

  • Fleet Managers as a driving force The Fleet Manager was ultimately responsible for the practicalities of reviewing and renewing vehicles in the fleet, as they usually would when the time comes to upgrading vehicles.

    David Brooks (pictured), Transport for London Maintenance Manager who works with ENGIE, now has an electric Peugeot Partner and EV charger installed at his home. He says:

    "The EV charger install and transition to an electric vehicle went smoothly. The Peugeot Partner electric vans are effortless to drive and the days of filling up at petrol stations before work have become a thing of the past." 

    Read more about David's experience with his electric van.

  • Investing in infrastructure ENGIE have fitted charging points at places of work and provided charge points for drivers at home for free. They also acquired the major charging infrastructure company, EV-Box, to enable the service offering to their clients whilst building capacity for charging across the fleet.

  • Investing in technology that works for them ENGIE invested in Masternaut Telematics technology alongside driver engagement to track their progress. This system was used to track mileage and understand which vans would be suitable for the switch to EV. 
  • Creating a buzz and engaging their staff ENGIE communicated the commitment across the organisation to start raising awareness and secure buy in. More widely across the business, training packs and videos were provided to adopters, as well as a salary sacrifice scheme for employees switching to ultra-low emission vehicles – creating a positive environment for change. 

The challenges

The commitment hasn’t been without its challenges, which have mostly been around perception of a limited charging infrastructure. But these are challenges that have been overcome or are being solved at pace. Common misconceptions about charging and driving range have been dispelled through colleague engagement, and are becoming less and less applicable to current EVs and smart infrastructure. 

The benefits

It makes good business sense. There are plenty of long-term financial benefits - fewer maintenance issues are reported, and the associated costs are much lower: lease costs and the whole life costing of vehicle (including fuel costs) are much lower than with petrol or diesel vans. On top of this, there is an increasing range of vehicles coming on to the market, at an ever faster rate. There are also plenty of grants and subsidies from government to support in changing over to electric. 

There are also social benefits: air pollution in urban areas is reduced. Drivers are exposed to lower levels of air pollution every day, and the comfort of their ride is increased. From an environmental perspective, switching to EV can also help your company hit its carbon saving and sustainability targets.

As Jamie Quinn puts it: “I believe this is the right direction of travel for ENGIE and the wider business world. The transition away from fossil fuel based combustion engines through to EVS and alternative fuels delivers major social, environmental and financial benefits.”

What can you do?

Join ENGIE and other leading organisations in the Clean Van Commitment - improving air quality by reducing emissions from van fleets. Contact [email protected]  

The Clean Van Commitment is coordinated by environment charity 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.