Nissan and British Gas launch UK’s largest ever EV trial

Nissan and British Gas launch UK's largest ever electric commercial vehicle trial

  • 28 all-electric Nissan e-NV200 vans join British Gas’ fleet for a six month national winter test
  • Pilot in partnership with Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Solutions and Gateshead College

British Gas is piloting 28 Nissan e-NV200 vans this winter to determine the future viability of 100% electric vehicle technology as part of its 13,000 home service vans fleet. Run in collaboration with Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Solutions and Gateshead College, the pilot will see the four strategic partners working together during this testing period.

Nissan has been globally piloting the e-NV200 for two years ahead of the van going on sale to the public next year. As the UK’s largest ever electric commercial vehicle evaluation to date, the winter test underlines the importance of the relationship between Nissan and British Gas to be involved in this important phase of zero-emission vehicle testing.

The pilot of the Nissan e-NV200s is being conducted nationwide from November 2013 until April 2014 to assess how the vans perform in winter conditions during typical British Gas home services daily usage patterns.

As part of a long-standing contract to manage the entire fleet for Centrica, British Gas’ parent company, Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Solutions’ dedicated British Gas team has been involved with extensive testing to prove the concept and played a key role in rolling out to engineers and then providing on-going 24 hour support.

Hitachi Capital has also undertaken IMI training to a high level in conjunction with Gateshead College and will be involved in generating accurate total cost of ownership modelling to compare this technology with conventional the internal combustion engine drivetrain.

Gateshead College has delivered all of the training to the British Gas drivers to ensure they are fully briefed in how to drive and live with the 100% electric Nissan e-NV200. Local to Nissan’s Sunderland Plant, Gateshead College is Europe’s leading facility for training in LCV development and will ensure drivers are fully able to exploit the Nissan e-NV200.

Available on forecourts next year, the Nissan e-NV200 is a breakthrough zero emission compact van that promises an dramatic reduction in running costs while also helping the environment by bringing CO2 emissions down to zero at the point of use. As British Gas home services engineers operate within a defined zone, the Nissan e-NV200 can easily operate within a British Gas’ daily usage pattern.

Colin Marriott, general manager, fleet at British Gas said:

“We’re committed to leading the industry in reducing the amount of carbon and other harmful tail pipe emissions emitted by our 13,000 strong vehicle fleet, This trial, the largest of its kind in the UK, is a great opportunity for us to understand how the Nissan e-NV200 vans perform during the winter as we move towards our goal of having at least 10% of our fleet running on electricity by 2015.

“We have worked closely with Nissan and Hitachi Capital to ensure that the Nissan e-NV200 is ready to support our engineers during even the most demanding of winter conditions. All 28 have also been provided with a British Gas home charging point and access cards to public infrastructure to keep the vehicles charged up. I would like to thank Nissan, Hitachi Capital and Gateshead College who have all supported us to make this trial a reality.”

Jim Wright, Nissan GB managing director, said:

“We’re proud to be providing the vehiclesand servicesfor the UK’s largest ever electric commercial vehicle pilot in conjunction with our strategic partners. Piloting such a large number of vans with British Gas in advance of the e-NV200 going on sale in 2014, underlines the closeness of our relationship and marks the final stages of the vehicle’s development.

“Our engineers will take the feedback of the British Gas drivers to ensure we launch a vehicle perfectly suited to British road and business conditions. With an expected harsh winter ahead, the28 Nissan e-NV200s will be delivering home services around the country whatever the weather, demonstrating how strongly the 100% electric van can perform for large fleets with challenging daily routines.”

Jon Lawes, Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Solutions divisional managing director, said:

“We have enjoyed a long relationship with Centrica and the British Gas team, and if this pilot proves a success it could mark a tipping point in the evolution of the commercial electric vehicle market.

“After working closely with British Gas, Nissan and Gateshead College to set up the pilot we will continue to play a major part in monitoring its progress throughout the winter months before analysing the results with our strategic partners and deciding on next steps.”

Mick Brophy, managing director of business, innovation & development at Gateshead College, said:

“We are proud to be a part of this flagship development in low carbon technology. If Britain is to continue to lead the world in the development and adoption of cleaner vehicles, we must also provide top-quality training for the people who will design, build and service them.

“Our purpose built Skills Academy for Sustainable Manufacturing Innovation – the UK’s first education center dedicated to the clean technologies sector - was perfectly equipped to deliver this type of training, which was tailored to meet the needs of British Gas and Nissan.”



About British Gas

British Gas is the UK's leading energy supplier, and serves around 12 million homes in Britain – nearly half the country's homes – as well as providing energy to one million UK businesses. British Gas provides value for money, dedicated customer service, innovative energy solutions and the highest quality Home Services expertise in the country. Find out more at

About Nissan in Europe

Nissan has one of the most comprehensive European presences of any overseas manufacturer, employing more than 14,500 staff across locally-based design, research & development, manufacturing, logistics and sales & marketing operations. Last year Nissan plants in the UK, Spain and Russia produced more than 695,000 vehicles including mini-MPVs, award-winning crossovers, SUVs and commercial vehicles. Nissan now offers 24 diverse and innovative products for sale in Europe today, and is positioned to become the number one Asian brand in Europe.

About Gateshead College

Based in the North East of England, Gateshead College is leading the way in training for electric vehicles, with a full programme of training focusing on battery assembly, manufacturing, testing, charging and safety.

The College’s Skills Academy for Sustainable Manufacturing and Innovation (SASMI) is the hub of the Government’s £200m Low Carbon Enterprise Zone, which is expected to create 7,000 new jobs in the region over the next decade.

SASMI is adjacent to the North of England’s first Performance Track, which is available for commercial hire, is the only publicly accessible track in the North of England. Designed for both conventional vehicles and alternative fuel technologies, this is a truly low carbon facility with hydrolisers, EV charging points (both standard and quick), a photo-voltaic canopy and biofuel provision.

About Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions

Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions is a division of Hitachi Capital (UK) PLC, part of Hitachi Ltd, one of the world’s largest and most respected industrial groups. We combine technology with market leading customer service to offer the full spectrum of tailor-made fleet finance and fleet management services, including all forms of funding, maintenance management, accident management and daily rental management. The company operates a specialist commercial vehicle services division from Trowbridge and Hitachi Capital Driving Instructor Solutions from Leicester, the UK’s leading supplier of contract hire to the driving instruction market. Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions has a fleet size of over 70,000 vehicles ranging from cars, small, medium and large vans to HGVs with specialist ancillary equipment such as cranes and tail