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BT Considers Shifting Service Fleet to Electric Vehicles

<p>Company announces trial of electric vans and promises wider roll-out if the pilot scheme proves successful.</p>

BT has become the latest corporate giant to announce it is to deploy electric vehicles as part of its fleet in an effort to curb transport emissions and running costs.

The company announced yesterday that BT engineers have begun trialing four electric vans in Milton Keynes and East London in a move that, if successful, will see similar vans rolled out more widely across the company's fleet of 23,400 vehicles.

The news comes just days after international conglomerate General Electric announced it would place the world's largest order for electric vehicles, committing to purchasing 12,000 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles over the next few years.

A BT spokesman said the company had worked with Allied Electric and Smith Electric Vehicles to convert two Ford vans and two Peugeot vans to run on electric.

He added that BT would now undertake a detailed trial that will see the company assess the specially converted vans' battery life, energy usage, and suitability for supporting engineers' working patterns.

It added that the vans, which will be located at its facility in Milton Keynes and at the Olympic Park in Stratford, should be well-suited for engineers working in cities, boasting a range of 100 miles between charges that far exceeds the average 60 to 65 miles per day covered by the company's vans on a normal day.

Ian Hill, chief sustainability officer at BT's Openreach division, which is responsible for the nationwide local BT network and will manage the trial, said electric vehicles could help the division significantly reduce the carbon footprint of its fleet while also reducing maintenance and fuel costs.

"Not only are they environmentally friendly, but the vans could deliver longer term cost benefits and their quietness makes them perfect for working in residential areas," he added.

This article originally appeared at BusinessGreen.com and is reprinted with permission.

Image courtesy of BT.

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