Although the hybrids are up to 25% more fuel-efficient than the vans they replace, the council was able to purchase the six vehicles for the equivalent cost of standard diesel vans, thanks to a Department for Transport subsidy.
The vehicles are used by Ubico Ltd, which provides environmental services to the council. The company travels a cumulative 100,000 miles a year and estimates the vehicles will generate annual savings of up to £5,900 and 10.8 tonnes of CO₂. Malcolm Carruthers, fleet services manager at Ubico, said: ‘These hybrid vans will reduce our fleet spend on diesel substantially while also cutting carbon emissions.
‘Ubico is committed to providing the most efficient possible service to residents and businesses. Cotswold District Council looked at several options for low-carbon vehicles, but we agreed that Ashwoods was by far the most effective and most straightforward. We can deploy the vehicles without any additional driver or service engineer training – and we don’t need to invest in charging points or new fuel tanks.’
All of the Ubico vehicles are also fitted with Ashwoods’ Lightfoot driver behaviour system, which advises the driver on how to operate the van in the most fuel-efficient manner by using real-time audio and visual aids in the cab. Ashwoods says the technology is proven to deliver an average 15% improvement in fuel consumption.
Cotswold District Council purchased the vans through the Department for Transport’s Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Programme (LCVPP), which provides a subsidy of £3,430 per vehicle.
DfT is only providing subsidies for the first 500 Ashwoods vehicles ordered – and all orders must be received by 31st March 2013. Further details can be found at the dedicated website, www.ashwoodshybrid.co.uk