News article

Switching to electric vans could save UK cities over one million tonnes of CO2 every year

Vans are the backbone of Britain, keeping the economy moving whether they’re delivering your weekly shop, dropping off your online orders or helping plumbers, electricians and builders fix up your house.

In total there are 4.5 million vans registered in the UK and a massive 95% are diesel – which is a problem. Obviously, we can’t live without vans but the amount of emissions from the UK’s commercial vehicle fleet is massive.

Of course, we know that an overnight switch is unlikely for a whole multitude of reasons, not least because of logistics, expense and vehicle availability.

However, what if we focused on transitioning the UK’s city centres where charging is plentiful, the need for longer journeys is radically reduced and pollution is the highest?

Take London. The capital has a fleet of 200,000 petrol and diesel vans, with just 2% currently EVs.

Switching these to electric would save 664,000 tonnes of CO2 every single year (based the average van mileage of 13,000 miles a year emitting 155g/km of CO2). Beyond air quality, businesses could save a collective £2.4 million a day from Congestion Charge, too, and even more once you consider the ULEZ and its impending expansion.

And it’s not just the capital that would benefit from cleaner air by going electric.

If you take the top 10 cities in the UK which have the highest number of registered vans and electrify their entire fleets, you could save 1.4 million tonnes of CO2 per year in vehicle emissions – the same as charging over 300 billion smartphones or flying to and from London and Cape Town nearly 400,000 times.


Top 10 UK cities that could save from switching

  1. London – 664,000 (tonnes of CO2 per year)
  2. Leeds – 165,000
  3. Birmingham – 112,000
  4. Bristol – 94,000
  5. Sheffield – 80,000
  6. Glasgow – 72,000
  7. Leicester – 69,000
  8. Manchester – 53,000
  9. Cardiff – 49,000
  10. Edinburgh – 47,000


And what if we could make the entire nation’s fleet of vans electric overnight? Our calculations say you’d save 15 million tonnes of CO2… every year. That’s the same as powering two million homes for the year.

Removing these vehicle emissions would have the same impact CO2 impact as sending 650 million bags of rubbish to be recycled rather than to landfill or growing 248 million trees for a decade.

Think you’re ready to make the switch? Read our guide to operating an electric van fleet and then check out our latest electric van leasing deals.

You might also like to consider salary sacrifice. Salary sacrifice allows you to get the best electric cars and vans at the most affordable prices. By paying for your new EV through your gross monthly pay, you’ll save on Income Tax and National Insurance. And the scheme is entirely free for businesses to set up.