Infrastructure company Costain has completed what is said to be one of the first pilots of electric van use on major construction project sites.

The programme, in partnership with Enterprise Flex E-Rent, saw electric vans trialled across a range of different teams and workplace scenarios at 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, environmental and laboratory teams, with the vehicles typically carrying lighter materials and equipment that work within electric van payload guidelines. 

Enterprise fitted the vehicles used for the pilot with technology to capture detailed data and provide insights on their usage.

Banks of up to 25 EV chargers were installed at the three pilot locations to ensure that the teams had easy and safe access to power. 

Costain head of plant and fleet supply chain Mark Ashenden 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.”

Enterprise Flex-E-Rent managing director Danny Glynn 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.

“Organisations are looking for help in identifying how they can evolve to electric vehicles, which is why we were so keen to partner with our long-time partner Costain. 

“The flexibility of rental means that businesses like Costain can introduce EVs across a number of departments and gradually increase the number of vehicles in line with user uptake.”