The University of Bedfordshire has moved to further reduce its carbon footprint with the purchase of a third electrically powered van.

Following the purchase last year of both a Renault Kangoo ZE, along with a larger model, the ZE Maxi, the University’s Facilities and Estates (F&E) department has expanded their fleet with the addition of a second ZE Maxi.

The latest electric van, which was part-funded to the tune of £4,000 by the Office of Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) Plug-in Van grant scheme from the Government, compliments eight electric vehicle charging points across the University’s estate.

The first charging point, installed a year ago, has been followed by the introduction of further charging points at the Luton and Bedford campuses and at the University’s Putteridge Bury Conference Centre. These have been installed with the assistance of a 75 per cent grant from the OLEV.

The charging points, which can replenish two electric vehicles at once, are also available for use by students and staff.

Vice Chancellor Bill Rammell, said: “This is a positive move and further underlines our commitment to a ‘green’ philosophy at the University of Bedfordshire.

“The new van and charging points are a great initiative to reduce our carbon footprint but it’s also vital for the University to help us continue moving up the Universities Green League table. We currently hold a First Class Award – reserved for the most environmentally sustainable universities.

“Sustainability is one of the factors that potential students consider when choosing a university and it’s positive that we are reducing our carbon emissions.”

Each electric van is capable of completing 80 miles on a single charge; while they possess a fuel consumption of a meagre 2.8 pence per mile compared to an average 30 pence per mile for the diesel powered vans they have replaced.

The University’s Head of Environmental Sustainability, Adam Higgin, added: “The electric vans are used on a daily basis by F&E staff and have accumulated a combined total of almost 9,000 miles between them since 2012.

“There is now a plan in place to buy a new electric van dedicated for the Putteridge Bury Conference Centre in May 2014. The vehicle will have a range of up to 130 miles and a full charge will take less than four hours, instead of the current eight.”