Defra, the government department responsible for the environment, food and rural affairs, is replacing a significant proportion of its diesel company car fleet with British-built Toyota Auris hybrid electric models. The changeover, expected to cover more than 400 vehicles, is already under way and will continue throughout 2018 in a rolling replacement process. The cars will be used by four Defra organisations: Environment Agency, Marine Management Organisation, Rural Payments Agency and Animal and Plant Health Agency.
Jim Gregory, Strategic Fleet Manager for Defra Group Fleet Services said, “The cars from these four Defra organisations already represent one of the lowest CO2 emitting fleets in the UK and we have reduced nitrogen oxide gases (NOx) emissions, linked to respiratory illness, by nearly 10 percent, and CO2 by nearly 30 per cent, across our 7,000 cars, commercial vehicles, plant and machinery. We have challenged ourselves to go even further by buying only hybrid or electric vehicles from 2025, replacing our current fleet of diesels with cleaner vehicles and setting targets for NOx as well as CO2 emissions.”
“We’re balancing a challenging ambition against the needs of our vehicle users, while keeping a close eye on new and emerging technology which can help us reduce our harmful emissions even further without increasing our costs.”
Alan Barrett, Toyota Manager for Public Sector and Fleet Development, said: “This significant deal with Defra continues the growing business trend towards hybrid electric technology. Our hybrid fleet sales increased by more than 40 per cent in 2017 and this momentum is continuing into 2018. Operators of vehicle fleets both big and small are seeing how well the technology can work for their business, as well as reducing their carbon emissions and running costs.”
The Toyota Auris Hybrid is available in both hatchback and Touring Sports wagon body styles. All are built at Toyota’s UK car plant at Burnaston in Derby. Hybrid engines used in the Auris are produced at Toyota’s Deeside facility in North Wales.