Southampton City Council has recently added 24 electric vans to its City Services fleet. The Renault Kangoo vans are 100% electric vehicles and join the council’s existing electric fleet. The new vans replace existing diesel vehicles and will be used by a variety of essential services including Neighbourhood Wardens and Waste Operations teams.
The council’s commitment to tackling climate change is at the centre of its Green City Plan published in March. The Plan details the approach and principles for the next 10 years. Delivering clean air is a key theme, with actions detailed to ensure the council reviews and implements methods that prevent air pollution and reduce emissions. Addressing road transport emissions by decreasing the numbers of vehicles on our roads and encouraging drivers to switch to hybrid and electric vehicles is an essential part of the overall strategy.
All of the council’s new and existing electric fleet are powered by 100% renewable energy, new charging units were installed at the City Depot site as part of the ongoing investment in EV infrastructure in Southampton. In October 2019, the council switched all of its commercial buildings to green electricity. The switch to renewable energy will help to prevent nearly 7,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the environment annually.
The usability of the zero-emissions-in-use vans has also been enhanced with the extras including heat pump technology. Acting like reversible air conditioning, it produces heat or cools down the vehicle cabin using minimal energy, preserving the battery, extending the range and reducing interruption to operations to accommodate charging needs.
Councillor Steve Leggett, Cabinet Member for Green City and Place, commented: “Southampton City Council set ambitious, challenging goals to help tackle climate change, this includes being a carbon neutral council by 2030. We are leading the way with our Fleet Modernisation Plan, the 24 vans are the part of an investment plan to increase the numbers of zero and low emission vehicles we operate across Southampton.
We are encouraging residents and business to review their impact on the environment, we know that small, simple changes can make a difference to our carbon footprints. We have invested in new cycle lanes across the city as active, sustainable travel. We are giving more people the confidence to travel by bike, therefore reducing air pollution and the number of vehicles on our roads.
Switching to a green energy provider is easy and we are encouraging our residents to consider the environment when choosing their gas and electricity supplier. CitizEn Energy, established by the council, is not only a competitively priced supplier that reduces our impact on the environment but it also supports the local community by reinvesting any money made to deliver real savings for those most in need.”
Vincent Tourette, Managing Director, Groupe Renault UK, said: “We are seeing a significant increase in the uptake of Renault electric vehicles by the public sector and it’s pleasing to see such an ambitious council such as Southampton utilise the Renault Kangoo Z.E.33 to help it reach its environmental goals. Groupe Renault have been manufacturing electric vans since 2011, and this proven technology allows our business customers to confidently switch to EVs without any concern that protecting their local environment will not be to the detriment of their operational capacity.”
The council is continuing to expand the EV infrastructure across the city, 48 charging units have been installed in car parks in the city centre, Woolston and Bitterene. Charging is currently free for an introductory period. To encourage the switch to electric vehicles, there are several other incentives offered to electric vehicle drivers including access to 90% discount for selected city centre car parks and free passage on the Itchen Toll bridge.
*Our green electricity tariffs are certified as being sourced from UK based wind and solar generators. For every Megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity purchased for our customers, we also purchase a Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO) certificate, which proves the electricity is certified as being sourced either directly from the renewable generators or through a green wholesale energy provider.