Eircom has joined forces with Topaz and The Ecology Foundation to undertake a pilot project to test the viability of electric vans working within a commercial fleet environment. The Eur800,000 project will involve three eircom vans, which will use a combination of home charging and Topaz rapid charging facilities. Eircom has already procured the world’s first fast chargeable (CHAdeMO protocol compliant) production vans.
The study will be used to assess the performance of the electric vans under a variety of criteria such as electricity usage, cost, mileage and emissions. It will also cover driver and forecourt surveys and the public’s response.
The findings of the study will assist fleet managers, who are considering the deployment of electric vehicles, while also demonstrating how forecourt operators like Topaz can engage with electric vehicle drivers. On a practical infrastructural level it will provide extra charging points, which will be used by the participating eircom drivers, other fleet drivers and the general public.
The year long project is being grant aided by the Department for Transport, Tourism and Sport as part of the Government’s strategy to achieve 10% electric vehicle usage in the Irish fleet by 2020.
“Eircom has the largest transport fleet in Ireland and it is important that large Irish companies such as eircom explore and promote sustainable technologies that can reduce the financial impact of fuel costs and promote a cleaner environment,” says Geoff Shakespeare, chief technology officer at eircom.
According to Eddie O’Brien, chief executive of Topaz: “A kilometer in an EV costs 3 cent while a kilometer in a diesel van costs 9 cent. That’s a compelling argument in its own right, especially given current prices, but then you have the other benefits such as much reduced emissions and lowering our dependence on imported fossil fuels.” He adds: “We believe the findings will be of interest not just to the transport industry but to the average motorist as well.”