Company provides further boost to LEVC's plans to diversify its range of plug-in hybrid taxis
The London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) has announced that it has signed up BT Group to its expanding programme of real-world trials for its new electric vans.
Joining other UK businesses such as Royal Mail, DPD, and Octopus Energy, BT has taken delivery of two converted TX electric taxis designed to operate as logistics support vans.
The company said its new VN5 vans would be similar to its TX plug-in hybrid taxis, which have become a common sight on London's roads in recent years, providing drivers with an 61 mile range in electric mode.
As such, LEVC is deploying a fleet of converted TX electric taxis to act as VN5 prototypes, featuring a full interior van conversion ahead of the VN5's official production start next month.
BT now plans to use the vehicles in as many roles and locations around the UK as possible. For example, its Technology Division will use the vehicle for field engineers, starting with a Power Exchange Engineer, based in Wrexham, Wales, while its Supply Chain team will initially use a vehicle for logistics support in Northallerton, Yorkshire.
"We are pleased to be joining forces with BT, adding yet another household name to our growing roster of trial partners," said LEVC CEO Joerg Hofmann. "Thanks to its eCity powertrain, VN5 totally removes range anxiety, so whether it is being used for remote rural visits or to cover jobs in town, BT's drivers will know they have the flexibility to work in the most efficient way possible."
The trial also marks a step forward for BT's efforts to switch its fleet to green models and deliver net zero emissins across its business by 2045. "With the second largest commercial fleet in the UK, the switch to low and zero emissions vehicles is central to our carbon strategy and will help us to become a net zero emissions business by 2045," said Cyril Pourrat, chief procurement officer at BT. "To speed up that transition, we're calling on the UK government to target 100 per cent electric car and van sales by 2030, extend grants for electric vehicles and to unlock infrastructure investment to support the rollout of public charge-points across the country."
In related news, energy company Octopus Energy announced this week that it now has 1,000 charge points signed up to its 'Electric Juice' roaming network, which allows drivers to charge through a range of networks and receive a single bill.
The company confirmed that Franklin Energy LiFe, Hubsta, Alfa Power, and Plug-N-Go have signed up to the roaming service, joining founding networks Char.gy and Osprey (formerly Engenie).
"Thanks to these new partnership agreements… users of the Electric Juice Network can now benefit from considerable cross-country coverage, and even more access to rapid charging across the UK, in addition to the networks already on-board," said Octopus Energy's Zoisa Walton. "This makes EV charging on the go already considerably easier, and it is a crucial step towards providing a totally seamless charging experience, wherever you are in the country. Each time a partner joins the network we get one step closer to creating the effortless charging system that current EV drivers want, potential EV drivers need, and the decarbonisation of our roads demands."
Octopus also announced it has been officially accredited as a mobility service provider for EV charging via the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) and has joined a number of other EV roaming providers as part of EV Roam, a new service that will help facilitate the uptake of roaming between EV charging networks in the UK.
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