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Openreach UK Buy 279 Vauxhall Electric Vehicles for Engineers

Wednesday, August 12th, 2020 (9:28 am) - Score 4,071

Openreach has officially started to expand their range of EV cars and vans beyond last year’s limited trial of 11 vehicles with Renault (here), which they’ve done by adding 279 new EVs from Vauxhall that will soon be used by their UK broadband and phone engineers (including 270 Vivaro-e vans and 9 Corsa-e cars).

The new EVs, which will join the network access provider’s wider fleet of some 27,000 vehicles, seem to be carrying-forward the special design from last year’s trial – intended to spell out their green credentials. All of this should help to support the wider BT Group’s ambition to become a net zero carbon emissions business by 2045 (here); in the last year alone they emitted 243 Ktonnes of CO2e (a 18.6% reduction on the previous year).

The operator has previously said that their ambition for a wider roll-out of EVs was being restricted by the United Kingdom’s weak “nationwide infrastructure for charging vehicles,” as well as the limited range of such vans. But the technology is improving and indeed the new vehicles from Vauxhall can go further than the ones they tested from Renault last year.

The Vauxhall Vivaro-e (from £27,723 ex VAT) has a WLTP range of 143 miles with a 50kW battery and an impressive 205 miles with the 75kW option, while the Corsa-e can do 209 miles in its single 50kW configuration. Both support 100kW rapid charging (i.e. 80% charge in 30 minutes on the 50kW vehicles or 45 mins on the larger 75kW van). The Vivaro-e can also support a payload of up to 1,226kg and can tow up to 1,000kg.

NOTE: The Renault trial seem to involve the KANGOO Z.E. 33 Van or Maxi Van, with a range of 124 miles (summer), and this fell to just 74 miles on the MASTER Z.E van.

Clive Selley, Openreach CEO, said:

“Openreach is leading the charge on the transition to electric vehicles. Our order today is an important first step as we begin to move our fleet, the second largest commercial fleet in the UK, to being fully electric.”

James Taylor, General Sales Director of Vauxhall, said:

“Our electric vehicles help achieve significant cost savings from day one, and equally as important have no compromise in capability. Having one of the UK’s largest fleet operators choosing our electric vehicles shows just how confident they are in our product. We are very happy to continue our partnership with Openreach, transforming their nationwide fleet with our new electric vehicles.”

Broadly speaking the capabilities of these new vehicles should be enough to cover the vast majority of Openreach’s engineering requirements, while also in theory making savings on fuel and maintenance costs. As part of the deal both vehicles will also come with an 8 year (100,000 mile) battery warranty matched by 8 years of Roadside Assistance cover from Vauxhall.

vauxhall openreach ev car and van

Leave a Comment
27 Responses
  1. adslmax says:

    Where the money coming from?

    1. Rich says:

      This will be a net saving when you factor in the cost of servicing and maintenance and fuel. EVs are very cheap to run and maintain.

    2. Mark Jackson says:

      If you replace the vehicles naturally, as older ones reach end-of-life, then that also helps to mitigate the initial upfront cost.

    3. A_Builder says:

      I’d suspect that some modelling has been done and the ones being replaced have to go into ULEZ in London and elsewhere and so the direct savings on Congestion Charges for a BEV also need to be factored in.

      We have found that the day to day running costs of BEV’s are between 25-30% of ICE’s.

      Servicing wise other than wiper blades and fluids there is nothing much to do to them so services are cheap. Break parts don’t really wear as most of the slowing of the vehicle is done by the regenerative braking.

      And lastly finance costs are very low ATM so it makes sense to invest.

    4. CarlT says:

      ‘Where the money coming from?’

      Openreach’s customers

  2. Optimist says:

    I am old enough to remember when electric vehicles were used in the door to door delivery of milk.

    1. André says:

      I think you’ll be please to know that current EVs have move on somewhat 😉

    2. Joe Pineapples says:

      Ah yes, that early morning ‘whine’ sound, followed by the clinking of glass bottles.

    3. occasionally factual says:

      There still are where I live.

    4. MartinConf says:

      Yes, Milk floats that takes me back.

  3. Granola says:

    Does anyone know if they can they have the heater on when it is cold or the air conditioning on when hot during their lunch break whilst parked, or do they have to endure wahtever the climate throws at them to avoid range anxiety ? (Been in that working scenario but luckily fossil fueled so no anxiety). I feel for them if the answer is no.

    1. Carl says:

      I work for British Gas and they have ordered a 1000 for field based staff. The review videos shows with max air con and heating with full load the 75kw version still delivers 150miles worst case scenario.

    2. Gary says:

      There’s a ton about this on the Internet regarding everyone freezing to death in a snowy traffic jam because their battery is flat.

      Depending on what you read EV’s work out fine stationary with heating and lights on burning battery time just as a ICE is burning fuel, Both scenarios reduce your range.

      Of course topping up an empty fuel tank takes 2 mins with a Can, topping up an EV at the side of the road is another matter entirely, yes there are solutions around before anyone moans, but theyre not very common or efficient, Plan ahead and keep your battery high in the winters.

    3. 125us says:

      Gary – to top up in 2 minutes with a can, first you must have a full can. That could require a walk of an hour or more.

  4. Granola says:

    But parked up, would they have any figures on that ? A heater or air-con must have a serious negative impact when on for an hour.

    1. Chris says:

      I have an electric car and can say that it does make a small difference. But that difference really isn’t something to worry about.

    2. Martin Pitt - Aquiss says:

      I also drive an electric car. The heater or Aircon has very little impact, over a full battery (mine gets around 240-250 miles) I loose about 10 miles, in extreme cold or extreme heat. So as Chris says above, it’s nothing to worry about.

      Yet more myths debunked that the ICE brigade like to throw around!

    3. A_Builder says:

      I tested this out yesterday on my Tesla X.

      Switched the a/c on and left it parked in 35C – not in direct sunshine.

      It was using about 450W once the car had cooled down.

      OK I’ve got a 100kWhr battery but I’d agree with @Martin that the whole heating a/c thing is massively overblown. It was only ever an issue on cars with tiny batteries and inefficient a/c systems.

      What is more of a head scratcher is why the heating is counted into the mik

    4. Mark Jackson says:

      As with the others above, I also drive an EV (usually in Eco mode) and using aircon just isn’t something I’ve needed to worry about. In fact in hot weather I’d say it’s more than mitigated by the battery being able to go further (they tend to lose range in the bitter cold).

      You have to remember, the inside of a car is a very small enclosed space and it doesn’t take too much energy to cool that in the UK. The cooler is small and nothing like the large units that you’d need in your home.

    5. VM Project Tortoise says:


      If there ever was proof Telco’s are being overcharged for extortionate broadband roadworks then this has to be it with your 90 grand Tesla Model X ?!!!

      A generation of society will have NO decent broadband because of wailing claims of “it’s too costly” to dig up the roads… So the mere ‘plebs’ have to go without.

      Yet for all the builders involved in laying fibre it’s like winning the lottery every year! KERCHING!!! Digging for liquid gold…

      Always knew you were pulling the wool over everybodys eyes about that block paving stuff.

    6. joe says:

      Tosh. Contractors are not minting it which is why they periodically go bust.

    7. cdh1981 says:

      @VM Project Tortoise

      I’d go see a doctor about that anger before it causes you health problems.
      I know it’s a tad warm, but chill.

  5. Granola says:

    I suppose it is only a pump and a fan. Compared to heaving hundreds of Kg around the power used would be insignificant. From the figures above it would run a battery from full to flat in around 20 hours, so using one hour at lunchtime wouldn’t be an issue unless you were near your range limit.
    I still feel for anybody having to work in this heat even if they can chill at lunchtime.

  6. Gary says:

    Lots of ‘UPTO’ figures in the Vauxhaul press release, made me chuckle alot given the love of that term by IPSs.

    so up to 205 miles and up to 1226Kg and a trailer up to 1000kg.

  7. Sam says:

    Aircon! Dont be rediculous! Openreach have never fitted aircon to its vans, like 99% of other commercial van fleets! Tight ar*es the lot of them! It is evil in a van you are not allowed to leave windows ajar in hot weather, 1 for security, and 2, the wind sets off the alarms!

    1. Tom says:

      Rubbish! I know loads of engineers that have A/C fitted on there Openreach vans.

  8. Jimbo says:

    How are these getting charged, do BT install a home chargers at the technicians home?

    How do technicians get paid for electricity being used?

    What incentive is given to technicians to park OpenReach vans on their drives rather than a diesel in the street? Personal use?

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