Time for UK business to go electric?

Businesses looking for the ultimate eco-solution may have to wait no longer, if the recent news out of Ford is anything to go by.

On a day when What Van? revealed the winners of the 2010 Van of the Year awards (the Vauxhall Movano and Renault Master) Ford has announced the exciting Ford Transit Connect Electric is being shipped to customers in both the UK and North America.

Unfortunately, this is just for a demonstration project to test out the technology in the real world. However, it does move us a step closer to the sale date, which is expected in spring 2011.

This is when full production of the car begins, although initial production is already underway by Ford, in conjunction with Azure Dynamics, which supplies the battery technology.

The news comes as Camden council unveiled the UK’s first three-phase electric charge point at its bus station.

The three-phase system supplies more voltage to charge the larger batteries found in commercial vans quicker, and in another bit of good news, the council has announced it will be offering recharges free of charge.

This is exciting for a number of reasons. While electric cars will hit the UK next year with the likes of the Citroen C-Zero and Peugeot iOn, the van industry is step behind.

This will soon all change, however. The Ford Transit Connect Electric will soon be competing with the Renault Kangoo Z.E. electric van for supremacy in the new market.

Soon UK businesses will have the chance of delivering zero tailpipes emissions in its fleet, and the introduction of free charging indicates an infrastructure is slowly growing to accommodate the new arrivals.

It’s an exciting time for the makers of electric cars and vans. As Renault and Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said in a recent speech:

"EV is a technological and organisational breakthrough in the making, but for customers it also brings fresh change.

"When you get used to electric cars, you cannot go back to normal cars."

Perhaps it’s time to start thinking about trading in that old van for an electric version in the near future.