North Ayrshire Council (NAC) has taken delivery of seven Transit Hybrids from Ashwoods Automotive, making it the owner of the largest hybrid van fleet in Scotland. The Hybrids replace purely diesel-powered vans used by the Council’s Building Services department.
Ashwoods’ Hybrid Drive system recovers energy normally lost during braking and deceleration, storing it in a battery before an electric motor redirects it to the rear wheels; making the vans extremely efficient. Because the hybrid system is entirely self-powered, the vans never need to be plugged in for a battery charge and unlike pure electric vehicles, hybrids are not subject to low mileage duty restrictions.
The Hybrids are capable of reducing fuel consumption by as much as 20 per cent, which in the case of NAC equates to a saving of around £700 per annum.
“It is important to remember that the benefits of energy efficiency are twofold. Not only do we ensure that we are doing our best to save the environment from the effects of carbon emissions – we are saving money while doing so. This is especially important at a time when finances are tight,” commented Councillor Tom Barr, portfolio holder for the environment; don’t you just love local council-speak. “Should the new eco vans prove a success, they could be extended across the Council’s transport fleet.”
The Transit Hybrids are part-funded by Transport Scotland’s Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Support Scheme which enables public sector bodies to purchase electric and hybrid vehicles for extensive operational trials.