A DANGEROUS goods courier has started the shift to electric vehicles.

Topspeed Couriers is looking to switch its entire 130-strong fleet to battery power “as soon as practically possible”.

The Winsford-based company has already added 22 zero-emission vans to its fleet, with six more set to be delivered in the coming weeks.

Chief executive Stephen Clegg said: “People say that running an electric fleet is difficult but we just don’t accept that.

“It’s like any change in a production process – you have to do your research, consider all the implications, put a proper plan in place and then manage the transition carefully.

“That’s the way we’ve done it, and we think this gives us a competitive edge.

“As well as differentiating our business against many of our competitors, early adoption means we’ll be well established as an electric vehicle operator, and have a far better understanding of how to run an electric fleet successfully than those who come late to the party.”

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Northwich Guardian: Topspeed is looking to switch its entire fleet into electric vehiclesTopspeed is looking to switch its entire fleet into electric vehicles (Image: Topspeed Couriers)

Topspeed brought in its first two electric vans, Mercedes-Benz eVito’s, last year as a trial.

The firm wasted no time in ordering a second batch of 14 vans, followed by eight more, with a further six due to arrive in September.

They join a fleet that delivers all manner of dangerous goods, including explosives, infectious substances and radioactive material.

Topspeed also carry sensitive materials including forensic exhibitis, prohibited firearms, drugs and legal documents.

Northwich Guardian: Topspeed specialises in delivering dangerous and sensitive goodsTopspeed specialises in delivering dangerous and sensitive goods (Image: Topspeed Couriers)

Managing director Gillian Lockley explained there is more to the electrification plan than simply buying new vehicles.

 “We put a lot of thought into the bigger picture of running electric vehicles, and how they would fit into our business,” she said.

“That meant looking closely at route scheduling, driver training and a strategy for recharging.

“The drivers assigned to these new vehicles have been given specialist instruction in how to use them for maximum efficiency. They work from home which means they can’t rely on the charging points at our Winsford headquarters – so they all know where the available fast chargers are, near their homes or on their delivery routes.”

She continued: “Stopping to charge also forces them to take a break, and they all say that the driving experience is very relaxing with smooth and instant power delivery, near-silent running and no gear changes to worry about. When we first told them we were buying electric vans some were apprehensive, but they were quickly won over and now they love their new vehicles.”

Northwich Guardian: The firm already has 22 electric vans, with six more on the wayThe firm already has 22 electric vans, with six more on the way (Image: Topspeed Couriers)