Costain tests potential of electric vans in construction sector

Infrastructure solutions company Costain has completed one of the UK construction sector’s first pilots to test the use of electric vans on major project sites.

The pilot programme, in partnership with Enterprise Flex E-Rent, tested the use of electric vehicles (EVs) in construction projects with electric vans trialled across a range of different teams and workplace scenarios.  

The three Costain projects included on the pilot were the Preston Western Distributor Road scheme in Lancashire, the A30 Chiverton to Carland Cross project near Truro in Cornwall, and the A12 widening scheme near Chelmsford in Essex.   

Electric vans were used by Costain’s health and safety, environment and laboratory teams, with the vehicles typically carrying lighter materials and equipment that weigh within electric van payload guidelines. Enterprise fitted the vehicles used for the pilot with technology to capture detailed data and provide insights on the electric vehicle usage.  

To meet the challenge of long-distance charging, Costain installed banks of up to 25 EV charging points at the three pilot locations to ensure that the teams have easy and safe access to power.   

The pilot is a key steppingstone in Costain’s Climate Change Action Plan, with Costain committing to all of its operations, including its supply chain, being net zero carbon by 2035, with zero emissions from the company car fleet by 2030. In 2022, 99% of the cars delivered to Costain staff were ultralow or low emissions vehicles (ULEVs and LEVs). EV charging points are available at all of Costain’s offices and installation of charging points within site compounds is now a mandatory element of site set-up.  

Mark Ashenden, head of plant and fleet supply chain at Costain, said: 

“Understanding and reducing the impact of vehicle emissions at our project sites will be key to us reaching our net zero targets.  

“We wanted to test how electric vans could be deployed as part of an effective and more environmentally friendly working fleet and how they can be a viable vehicle option for major infrastructure projects. After listening to our people’s needs and adopting a flexible approach, we have been able to meet tight budgetary requirements while supporting decarbonisation. 

“This trial has given our project teams a greater understanding of what commercial EVs can do and helps give them the confidence to utilise EVs where they can. By showing what can be possible, we hope to help create a blueprint for the industry to minimise carbon emissions and pave the way for a greener future for infrastructure.” 

Danny Glynn, managing director at Enterprise Flex-E-Rent, said: 

“This pilot is an important step towards understanding how EV vans can best be used in real world scenarios such as construction and infrastructure. It showcases that there are clear applications for electric vans within these and other sectors.” 

Image courtesy of Contain.

Sign up for our essential
newsletter service.

Enter your details here.