As a wholly owned subsidiary of BT, Openreach is leading the charge to convert all of its diesel fleet to electric by 2030. We have 29,000 vans across the UK which are used for essential work every day and so reducing their carbon footprint is incredibly important to us.
Installing and maintaining the fibre network that connects homes and businesses is a huge operation. With more than 29,000 commercial vehicles, we operate the second largest fleet in the UK - accounting for 66% of BT’s operational emissions. Last year our engineers travelled over 244m miles, using more than 37m litres of fuel and producing over 95k tonnes of CO2.
We understand the need to act on climate change and we’re committed to reducing our operational impact. That’s why we're helping our parent company BT Group achieve their ambition of net zero carbon emissions by 2030.
We’ve created a dedicated Openreach project team, focussed on cutting fleet emissions and helping to identify alternative, cleaner technologies.
We’re making an impact today through engagement, innovation and technology. Each year we replace our older vehicles with leaner, greener engines and have worked closely with our vehicle converters to reduce the weight of internal racking. We're actively looking to phase-out diesel vehicles by replacing them with electric vehicles (EVs) at end-of-life and by only purchasing EVs wherever possible.
To encourage more large-scale investment in electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, and to make it commercially viable for us to make more of our fleet electric, we joined EV100, a global campaign for electric vehicles, to promote further action.
More recently, we’ve launched an innovative new partnership alongside BT and The Climate Group called the ‘UK Electric Fleet Coalition’. We've also convened a leadership coalition to advocate for accelerating the transition to electric vehicles in the UK.
Better use of telematics data is also making our drivers safer and more efficient. Our drivers can review their driving behaviours such as acceleration, braking and cornering by using a dedicated app. This has resulted in significant MPG increases, reductions in CO2 emissions and positive engagement about sustainability with our engineers.
We’re currently trialling installing lithium battery packs for our specialist ‘green packs’ for our new hoist vehicles to power a range of roadside equipment that, such as lights and blowers, are currently reliant on petrol generators. We’re also trialling new hoist vehicles with electrically operated booms – reducing air pollution and noise made by the hoist.
As we look to the future, we’re focusing on how we roll out EVs at scale. The next phase involves proving the medium sized EV concept and introducing some of the technologies described at scale. We also need to work through some challenges such as off-street charging and finding zero emission vehicle solutions for our specialist/heavier vehicles.