By Denna Bowman
British Gas has fitted Continental winter tyres on its fleet after a successful trial on its car-derived vans.
Following the extreme weather conditions experienced in 2009, the UK’s leading utilities provider took the decision to fit 120 of its Volkswagen Caddy vans with winter tyres to ensure its vehicles stayed on-call and on the road last winter.
Colin Marriott, General Manager, Fleet, at British Gas, said: “The safety of our drivers and engineers is a top priority at British Gas, as is maintaining our high standards of customer service.
“We wanted to make driving in cold weather as safe as possible and if we can negotiate the icy roads then we can get to site and fulfil customer needs when they need us most.
“We have received very positive feedback from our drivers regarding the performance of the Continental winter tyres, especially in the snow. Our engineers have commented that they were able to complete a normal full day’s work even in the most adverse conditions.”
The trial took place in and around British Gas’ operational area of the Scottish Highlands and Peak District. The front-wheel-drive vans in the Highlands were fitted with winter tyres all-year round, while those in the north of England ran Continental’s winter tyres only during the colder months.
Marriott added: “When snow blanketed the UK in January the Continental winter tyres really proved their worth and in some cases the front-wheel-drive Caddy vans outperformed 4×4 vehicles fitted with standard tyres.
“In future British Gas vans all over the north of England and Scotland will be fitted with winter tyres all year round. We’ve had a long and successful relationship with Continental, lasting over a decade now, and we get great performance from this premium brand at very reasonable whole life cost.”
Tom Whittaker, car and van fleet manager at Continental said: “It’s important that all fleets begin to plan for the winter season now by putting in their orders for winter tyres leaving it until the first snow fall will probably be too late.
“We are forecasting a significant increase in the take-up of winter tyres for the forthcoming cold season. More and more businesses are looking at solutions to stay operational and safe on the roads during extreme weather conditions.
“Continental’s range of premium winter tyres provides the ideal solution on cold roads thanks to a special cold weather compound, deep sipes and large tread depth, which provides maximum traction in snow, ice and on wet roads.”