Edson electric panel vans trials look promising in south west 28 January 2010

Electricity distribution network operator Western Power Distribution says it is greening its fleet by switching some of its service and maintenance vans to battery power.

WPD is trialing two Smith Electric Vehicles' Edison electric panel vans in Plymouth and Cardiff, and transport manager John Brooks says that, if all goes well, the comapny will look at introducing more battery-powered vans.

"We are constantly looking for innovative technology that can reduce our carbon footprint, and electric vehicles are one solution," comments Brooks. "The first two vans have settled in well and we continue to evaluate their performance. If they meet all our expectations, we will look at rolling out more electric vans across our fleet."

The Edison vans are electric version of the Ford Transit, driven by an electric motor and powered by lithium-ion batteries, giving a top speed of 50mph and a range of up to 80 miles on a single battery charge. A full recharge takes six to eight hours.

Says Brooks: "Electric vans are ideal for our fleet, as a large proportion of our service and maintenance vehicles travel well under100 miles a day.

"The Edison is easy to drive, costs just pennies per mile to run and, compared to a typical diesel van, every Edison will save us hundreds of kilos in carbon emissions each year."

Brian Tinham

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