British Gas is trying out 28 Nissan e-NV200 vans throughout the winter to determine the future viability of 100-percent electric vehicle technology as part of its 13,000 home service vans fleet.

Run in collaboration with Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Solutions and Gateshead College, the pilot test will see the four strategic partners working together during this testing period.

Nissan said it has been globally piloting the e-NV200 for two years ahead of the van going on sale to the public next year.

This pilot testing of the Nissan e-NV200s is being conducted nationwide between November 2013 and April 2014 to assess how the vans perform in UK winter conditions during typical British Gas home services daily usage patterns.

As part of a long-standing contract to manage the entire fleet for Centrica, British Gas’ parent company, Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Solutions’ dedicated British Gas team has been involved with extensive testing to prove the concept and played a key role in rolling out to engineers and then providing on-going 24 hour support.

Hitachi Capital will also be involved in generating accurate total cost of ownership modeling to compare this technology with conventional internal combustion engine drivetrain.

Nissan said Gateshead College has delivered all of the training to the British Gas drivers to ensure they are fully briefed in how to drive and live with the 100 percent electric Nissan e-NV200.

Available next year, the Nissan e-NV200 is, per Nissan, a breakthrough zero emission compact van that promises an dramatic reduction in running costs while also helping the environment. As British Gas home services engineers operate within a defined zone, the Nissan e-NV200 can easily operate within a British Gas’ daily usage pattern.

“We’re committed to leading the industry in reducing the amount of carbon and other harmful tail pipe emissions emitted by our 13,000 strong vehicle fleet,” said Colin Marriott, general manager fleet at British Gas. “This trial, the largest of its kind in the UK, is a great opportunity for us to understand how the Nissan e-NV200 vans perform during the winter as we move towards our goal of having at least 10% of our fleet running on electricity by 2015. We have worked closely with Nissan and Hitachi Capital to ensure that the Nissan e-NV200 is ready to support our engineers during even the most demanding of winter conditions. All 28 have also been provided with a British Gas home charging point and access cards to public infrastructure to keep the vehicles charged up. I would like to thank Nissan, Hitachi Capital and Gateshead College who have all supported us to make this trial a reality.”