Insight 9 May 2024

Meet the driving force behind Mitie’s 5,000 EVs

Audra Giles, Mitie Fleet Director

She’s responsible for a team delivering our electric vehicle (EV) strategy and after recently reaching 5,000 Mitie EVs, Fleet Director, Audra Giles, already has her sights set on achieving 6,000.

Overseeing one of the UK’s most successful EV fleet transitions has proved to be no mean feat, but Audra puts it all down to two critical factors.

She said: “We’re now over 65% electric vehicles, which means Mitie has one of the largest EV fleets in the UK and the biggest in terms of vehicle percentage. The organisation’s aggressive target to reach net zero by the end of 2025 has been a catalyst for switching the fleet to electric. Our CEO, Phil Bentley, made the commitment to decarbonise in 2021 and that early adoption, plus top-down support, has been crucial. Secondly, I am responsible for a team who are fully focused on supporting Mitie’s Plan Zero goals. They deservedly take the credit for reaching 5,000 electric vehicles. This has been a huge effort from everyone – and now we’re already thinking about the 6,000th vehicle.”

Test drives, training and support

Thanks to the efforts of Audra and her team, Mitie’s company car fleet statistics are also impressive; 93% of vehicles driven by colleagues who qualify for a company car are electric. The figure is inching towards 100% as more make the switch.

Audra believes getting buy-in from the business and drivers, as well as continuing to support them when they get their new vehicle, is important for any EV strategy.

She said: “It’s a cultural change and it needs to be facilitated correctly. I went electric myself 18 months ago and it’s a very different way of driving, with different considerations that can take a bit of getting used to. That’s what makes driver support so important. Mitie offers drop-in sessions, test drives and training to tackle any concerns some people might have about moving to EV. We certainly don’t just hand over a vehicle and consider the job done. A lot of effort goes into education and support. We’ve also installed over 2,000 charging points at colleagues’ homes. Having an EV charger at hand makes recharging away from work as convenient as possible.”

EV silver van with Mitie branding in the foreground, with Edinburgh Castle in the background
Mitie’s electric vehicles can be found as far afield as Edinburgh Castle and Gibraltar


Getting to the 5,000th EV hasn’t always been an easy ride and Audra admits to challenges along the way.

One of the most significant hurdles has been convincing drivers that they’ll be able to reach respectable distances on a fully charged battery.

Audra said: “In the early stages of the transition we were using a commercial vehicle that did around 150 miles on a full charge. There was a lot of negative feedback as it wasn’t convenient for many of the drivers. We took that on board and have added the Volkswagen ID Buzz into our fleet, which has a range of up to 300 miles if driven economically. Being a long-range vehicle, the Buzz has proved suitable for colleagues within cleaning, landscaping, mobile engineering and others. Everyone loves driving it. The company policy around EV provision is more or less non-negotiable. It’s very gratifying when an EV sceptic – and there are a few – turns into an advocate after getting used to their new vehicle. You can’t criticise EV before giving it a go first.”

Every corner of the UK – and beyond

Mitie’s electric vehicles can be found in the farthest reaches of the UK. They’re in use at Edinburgh Castle, on the Isle of Wight and Isle of Arran – and even in sunny Gibraltar on the south coast of Spain.

Our expertise is helping customers too, with 26 of our contracts now fully electric, including a multi-national clothing chain, a popular drinks brand and a respected professional services company. Besides rolling out electric vehicle solutions and EV fleets, we also install and maintain our customers’ EV infrastructure and support their EV infrastructure strategy.

The EVs are used for a wide range of purposes. Among the most unique is the UK’s first zero emission commercial gritter, aptly named Gritter Thunberg thanks to a Mitie competition. The Mitie Landscapes team has a particularly notable EV too, with solar panels on the roof to charge battery operated gardening tools.

Journey highlights

Reaching 5,000 EVs has been quite a journey for Mitie’s Fleet team and of course the transition of our electric vehicle fleet is far from over.

Reflecting on Fleet’s achievements since 2021, Audra confirms there have been numerous highlights that make all the hard work worthwhile.

She said: “We’ve won nine highly respected industry awards, which is absolutely fantastic. The most recent was ‘Fleet Transport Management Project of the Year’ at the 2024 Edie Awards. We’ve also been named ‘Fleet of the Year’ at the Fleet News Awards three years in a row. It’s satisfying to know Fleet plays an integral part in delivering Mitie’s commitment to reach net zero by 2025. It’s a team effort involving colleagues right across the business, but I’m very proud of the part we’re playing in something so visible and worthwhile.”

Congratulations to Audra and her team for reaching 5,000 EVs.

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