The 50 Mercedes 55/44 kWh eSprinter vans have a range of up to 90 miles on a full charge, depending on the payload, while the 50 smaller 35 kWh Mercedes eVito Panel vans can be fully recharged in six hours and also have a range of up to 90 miles.
This investment will support businesses trying out electric vehicles as they plan for the ending of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in 2030. Many businesses are consulting with Enterprise about how rental vehicles can help them shift to alternative fuels and reduce carbon emissions.
An electric van can provide an effective solution for emission-free motoring, especially for shorter, high-volume journeys with lower payloads, in and around urban areas, and where vans can be easily recharged during periods of downtime or overnight. An example would be businesses making deliveries or service stops in city centres.
Many UK towns and cities are planning to introduce Clean Air and Low Emission Zones in 2021, driving interest in electric vehicles, and London has already announced the expansion of its Ultra-Low Emission Zone in October 2021.
The introduction of these vans supports the increasingly important role electric vehicles have in the advancement of sustainable mobility, as well as in Enterprise's fleet overall.
"We believe we have a valuable role to play in the decarbonisation of transportation through the adoption of the latest technologies," Enterprise Flex-E-Rent Managing Director Danny Glynn said. "Enterprise was one of the first rental companies to experiment with electric vans. In 2018, we partnered with infrastructure services specialist FM Conway to trial the use of plug-in electric vans in its London operations.
"We are encouraging all business customers to trial plug-in electric vehicle technology, especially in areas where clean air or low emission zones are in place or likely to come into effect soon.
"Despite the perceptions around range and network, many businesses can quickly adapt to the requirements of using plug-in electric vehicles once they get started. There are many applications ideally suited for electric vans in service businesses and for deliveries, and we're already discussing options with several of our customers.
"We are working with a range of stakeholders, including ones from government, utilities, infrastructure providers, vehicle manufacturers and other partners to collaborate on this topic. It will take everyone working together to ensure the market is ready to support the viability of EVs on a mass scale."
The expanded electric van fleet marks the next step in Enterprise's investment in alternative fuel vehicles. It follows the addition of 30 new electric Renault ZOE cars to Enterprise's rental fleet in Scotland and its pilot programme of 17 Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell electric cars in 2021.