Thanks to our fixed network, people can meet each other online in the blink of an eye, saving a lot of travel and CO2 emissions. But to keep this network up and running, our technicians still need to hit the road. With over 500 vans, they keep the Netherlands connected. And these vans are becoming increasingly sustainable. "We’re moving from diesel to electric at lightning speed."

VodafoneZiggo's company-wide goals are clear: A 50% CO2 reduction by 2025 compared to 2018. This means big steps need to be taken. Our fleet is a crucial part of that. But how feasible is it to make this to sustainability quickly? And what does such an operation involve? We ask Jan Heijmans, responsible for all technicians’ vehicles nationwide.

Sustainable goals
"Our sustainable goals are clear. And let's face it, they’re completely logical. We see major challenges in taking better care of our environment. We see how the government is tightening its legislation and regulations. Not to mention developments at a municipal level. Soon, you won’t be able to enter a city centre with a diesel vehicle. So the helm, or in this case the wheel, simply has to change."

A matter of investment
Theoretically, it is a matter of execution. In practice, there’s a bit more to such a transition, Jan knows. "Can it be done? That question depends on different elements. The first is money. It’s clear that the transition requires a significant investment. We calculated that electric vans cost 20% more at the bottom line. A cost that VodafoneZiggo accepted immediately."

A matter of range
A second element? That’s range. Is there enough power in the batteries to last a full working day? "A tour of a few car dealers showed that there are large differences. Range was therefore a deciding factor in choosing our van. An electric van would have a range of 330 kilometres. In practice, it is more like 250 kilometres. Except for a few colleagues in rural areas in the north, our technicians can manage well with this."

A matter of engagement
"The last element could be called acceptance. Not every technician is eager to exchange their familiar diesel van for a silent electric vehicle. And admittedly, electric vehicles also drive quite differently. So it was important to involve our people in this process and to prepare them well from the outset."

Choosing and equipping
"First, we involved technicians in selecting the ideal vehicle. Out of four contenders, we chose the Opel Vivaro-e together. Then, we looked at the layout and equipment of our new vans with the technicians. Thanks to a more efficient layout, you can carry more and you grab what you need faster."

Hopping in and taking off
"We started a pilot with ten Opel Vivaro-e's. A team of experts was on hand to show our technicians the ropes. Driving an automatic, saving energy, utilising cameras, using the navigation system. All things where a bit of help comes in handy. Also, the 150 technicians who made the switch following the pilot received support. This made for a smooth transition to electric transportation, for us and especially for our technicians."

"This is fantastic!"
The smoothness of the transition is also reflected in the results. "Actually, it was flawless. Even those who were sceptical beforehand told me they were completely sold. 'Regardless of what I said before, this is fantastic!' Well, yes, that's just the case. Our new vans are incredibly comfortable. The silence is nice, the seats are fabulous, and there are all kinds of technical gadgets, like traffic sign recognition.

The results speak for themselves, says Jan. “This year alone, 40% our fleet will be electric. By 2026, 90% of our fleet will be electric and by 2027, we’ll make it 100%. That's a year ahead of our deadline."