On-demand shared ride operator launches its first all-electric fleet

Oct 29, 2019

THE FIRST fully electric fleet of vehicles delivering on-demand shares rides has launched in Milton Keynes.

ViaVan, which already operates a shared ride service around the city, unveiled its new vehicles at the Marshall Arena at Stadium MK. It has made the investment after receiving a £544,000 grant, secured through Milton Keynes Council, from the UK Department for Transport’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles.

ViaVan has also anounced a partnership with Milton Keynes Council to jointly ensure the success of on-demand shared rides in Milton Keynes. The initiative plans to expand from an initial five electric Mercedes-Benz Vito eTourers to 30 electric vehicles by 2020. 

The electrification of its fleet in Milton Keynes represents an important step in ViaVan’s vision to evolve public transport across the UK with smart, sustainable, and congestion-reducing shared rides. The programme aligns with the recent announcement by the UK government to set bold plans to accelerate the decarbonisation of transport and Milton Keynes Council’s ambitions to become the greenest city in the world.

“We are honoured to receive funding from the UK Department for Transport with support from Milton Keynes Council to fully electrify our fleet in Milton Keynes,” said ViaVan chief executive Chris Snyder. “Together with Milton Keynes Council, we are excited not only to establish a plan to achieve success for green, on-demand mobility offerings in the city, but also to create a model for how the public and private sectors can work together to realise the vision of smart, sustainable public transport for the future.

ViaVan and Milton Keynes Council will also identify opportunities to expand access and infrastructure for on-demand shared rides, gather insights and data to support the delivery of innovative transport solutions, and  collaborate on Mobility as a Service offerings.

Cllr Martin Gowans, cabinet member for transport, said: “We are delighted to be working with Viavan to deliver an electric fleet to provide an on-demand shared ride service. Our partnership will ensure that we work towards Milton Keynes to be the greenest city and carbon neutral by 2030. We are proud of such technology and it aligns with the council’s Mobility Strategy.”

ViaVan has powered more than 100,000 rides in Milton Keynes since its launch last year and recently surpassed seven million rides in its London service. 

Mark Lancaster, MP for Milton Keynes North said:“Milton Keynes is already home to so many exciting green initiatives and we really are leading the way on electric vehicles across the country. I’m especially pleased Government funding has gone into this project to ensure MK continues to be the go-to place for environmentally friendly innovation.”

His Parliamentary colleague iain Stewart, who represents Milton Keynes South, added: “I’m delighted that ViaVan has chosen Milton Keynes to locate its first fully electric fleet in the UK. This confirms Milton Keynes’ status as one of the top places in the country.”

Transport Minister George Freeman welcomed ViaVan’s electric fleet. He said: “We are determined to improve air quality in our towns and cities to reduce the health impact of dirty emissions.

“Through the government’s Road to Zero Strategy we have invested nearly £1.5 billion to reach our ambition for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040. New technologies and innovative transport services such as electric vehicle share are unlocking opportunities, helping meet the demands for cleaner, more convenient travel. 

“ViaVan’s launch shows industry is taking full advantage of the support on offer from government for those looking to switch their fleets to electric.”

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