New electric vans for Edinburgh College

Edinburgh College’s electric vehicle fleet has had a green-powered boost with the arrival of two new vans, supporting its commitment to sustainable travel.

The two new Nissan eNV200 electric vans came from Transport Scotland’s Switched on Fleets scheme to increase green travel. They replace diesel vans used by the college’s facilities staff. Overall, the college now has 14 electric vehicles, including two electric vans already part of the fleet.

Midlothian Campus-based Edinburgh College electric vehicle administrator Bob Murphy (who was recently named the UK’s 53rd most influential figure in green transport by Greenfleet magazine) said: “Our electric vehicle fleet has been making great strides in helping the college reduce emissions and save the costs of staff transport, and the new vans are a tremendous addition. Our facilities team does lots of travel between campuses and this means these frequent journeys will be more sustainable. We’re proud to be growing our fleet and showing that green transport is really viable. Thanks to Transport Scotland for supporting us.”

The vans were supplied by local Nissan car dealership and long-time college partner Alex F Noble & Son in collaboration with LeasePlan UK, which is working for Switched on Fleets. They were sourced from the original owner, East Lothian Council.

Scottish Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “I am pleased we have been able to support the introduction of two electric vans into Edinburgh College’s growing electric fleet, replacing two polluting diesel vehicles in the process. Our Switched On Fleets scheme has proved extremely popular with councils and their partners across Scotland. So far, we’ve invested £3.7 million, which will result in the addition of around 350 new EVs to the public sector fleet, helping tackle climate change and improving local air quality.

“The college is also to be commended for introducing electric vehicles into their curriculum, enabling students to understand the wide range of opportunities associated with EVs in terms of the environment, health and the development of new skills.”

Edinburgh College has operated a zero-emissions pool car fleet since 2012, with cars at each campuses available for staff use. It has charge points at all campuses that are available for staff and the public to use. As well as staff use, students can benefit from the vehicles.

Edinburgh College Engineering curriculum manager Ross Milligan said: “The use of electric vehicles is embedded in our curriculum to inspire and educate young people about the possibilities of this kind of transport. Automotive engineering students have the opportunity to learn about them, but we’re also looking at how students of other subjects can take advantage and learn about these modern technologies’ place in the world.”

Jim Rowan, EV specialist at Alex F Noble & Son, said: “Alex F Noble & Son has developed an excellent working partnership with Edinburgh College over the years and we’re very encouraged to see them continue to invest in Nissan with the addition of two new electric vans to their fleet.”

Judith Eadie of LeasePlan UK, added: “Leasing electric vehicles not only provides Edinburgh College with a competitive solution, as a responsible company we are proud to be part of the solution to create healthier environments in our towns and cities by promoting cleaner, low-emission vehicles.”

Through the Edinburgh College Development Trust, the college offers two annual scholarships for engineering students to learn more about electric vehicles, thanks to support from Alex F Noble & Son.

It is also carrying out research into electric vehicle travel, looking at how effective they are in cutting carbon emissions and their long-term viability as alternative transport. This research is a partnership with Edinburgh Napier University.

A comparison between one of the college’s diesel vans and an electric van shows that the diesel is about 500% more expensive to run – at 12p per mile compared to 2p for electric. Over six months, an electric van will save the equivalent of around three double decker buses-worth of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.