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Solar innovation adds emission free miles

20th October 2023 | Business Essentials, ESG Consultancy, News

Vehicle Innovation with solar

Emission free solar miles


The latest piece of original thinking by Commercial has led to more than 3,000 emission free miles being added to our delivery and service fleet.

Innovating with our vehicles is something that we have a long and proud history of.

We first used biodiesel to fuel our vans back in 2007 before establishing the country’s largest privately-owned hydrogen-powered fleet in 2012.

Earlier this year, we invested in a new fully electric fleet for our London office with those vans powered by its rooftop solar array.


Powering up.

And the latest addition is similarly inventive, with rooftop solar panels added to a hybrid van to increase its fuel economy and range.
The solar energy powers the van’s battery, tail-lift and electronics such as the sat-nav, radio, heater and air-conditioning, allowing the overall fuel economy to improve.

Commercial’s sustainability manager, Grace Segrave, said: “We are totally committed to hitting our goal of achieving net zero by 2028. As a result, in 2021 we made the decision to stop the purchase of full petrol or diesel vehicles.

“By installing solar panels on our new hybrid van we have extended its range by as much as 7%. Furthermore, we have reduced its carbon emissions by more than 2.5kgs a day.

“Using the power of the sun can add as many as 3,000 emission-free miles to our range each year. And cut up to a tonne of carbon from the atmosphere.”

Nationwide service.

The hybrid van will be used to serve clients nationwide. It can also be called upon to travel long distances at any one time.

Therefore, unlike our London equivalents, a fully electric option wasn’t compatible with our need to respond quickly to clients.

So, a hybrid option was chosen, and our vehicle solar experts were engaged to fit the rooftop solar array.


Positive customer experience remains paramount

Sam Harrison, operations manager at Commercial, said:

“When we were looking for a new van, it was important that we could still deliver the service we are proud of.

“What we found was that a fully electric van didn’t offer the range we required to maintain that level of service. That meant we had to look at a hybrid alternative.

“This option, with the roof-mounted solar panel array, offers us the best of both worlds, reducing our emissions and providing the same certainty to clients.”

Commercial are on target to achieve carbon net zero by 2028, 22-years ahead of UK Government targets and two years in advance of the commitment we signed up to with the Science Based Targets initiative in 2021.


Cutting scope 3

Co-founder and managing director Simone Hindmarch said:

“We are always looking for ways to innovate. And as a result, our portfolio of products and services has evolved significantly in recent years, especially across technology and smart technology solutions.

“The work we are doing with our fleet is just one of the ways in which we are cutting our Scope 3 emissions. As our target gets closer, we will continue to explore ways and work on innovations that will help us, and our clients, achieve our Scope 3 goals.”

If you would like to know more about how roof-mounted solar panel arrays could help reduce the emissions of your fleet, please complete the form below.