Electric van experience completed in Nottingham and Derby

Two-year trial funded by National Highways and Nottingham City Council offered local businesses a chance to try electric vehicles – and has seen significant results. 

The Electric Van Experience (EVE) trial was provided with more than £2.6m from National Highways and an equivalent of £1m from Nottingham City Council. Its aim was simple: to speed up the adoption of electric vehicles ahead of the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars, in the process aiding the region’s ambitions to be carbon neutral and have cleaner air.

Electric van that took part in the Electric vehicle experience trial in Nottingham and Derby

As we’ve reported before, there’s a lot of ignorance about electric vehicles. For example, a survey conducted by Peugeot UK found that less than half of drivers knew that battery-powered electric vehicles emit zero emissions. That lack of knowledge means people are less likely to make the switch to greener technology. 

Giving people – and businesses – the chance to try electric vehicles for themselves can make a big difference. As a result of the trial, 79 organisations now intend to invest in 158 electric or hybrid vehicles.   

Nottingham City Council bought 55 electric vans which were then loaded to local companies for up to a month so that they could assess the pros and cons. A total of 122 loans were made during the scheme. 73% of the companies involved said they now plan to buy or lease battery electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids. 

Ross Kemp from ASAP Water Crafts was one of those who took part in the trial. ‘If it wasn’t for the Electric Van Experience, I don’t think I would have had the confidence to buy an electric car for the business,’ he says. ‘There are still some unknowns regarding electric vehicles. However, thanks to EVE, I was able to answer questions like how to charge, how to work with cables and what kind of electric car would fit best with my company’s activities.   

‘Knowing that I did not have to go to the petrol station and knowing that you’re not polluting and it’s good for the environment, made each journey more fun and rewarding.’ Mr Kemp adds that while electric vehicles are currently expensive, they have lower running costs, with, ‘No road fees, less maintenance required, and charging is cheaper than petrol.’ 

The 55 electric vans used in the trial will now join the council’s vehicle fleet used for work such as making deliveries or collecting rubbish. This addition will mean 42% of Nottingham City Council’s fleet is now electric.  

The trial also saw the installation of 61 free workplace charging points.  

Councillor Angela Kandola, Portfolio Holder for Highways, Transport and Planning at Nottingham City Council, says: ‘It’s fantastic to hear businesses and organisations in Nottingham and Derby have had a great experience with their loan of an electric van and that this trial has provided confidence in making the switch in the future.  

‘We’ll look forward to seeing the final report and hearing the learnings from other councils who have taken part, so that as a country we can remove some of the barriers to electric vehicle adoption and help us on our way to limiting harmful emissions and air pollution.’  

Andy Jinks, Regional Director at National Highways, adds: ‘We know that emissions from vehicles using our roads contribute to poor air quality, posing risks to people’s health and well-being. 

‘We want to do all we can to look after the wellbeing of our customers – everyone who uses our roads and those who live or work near them. That includes making a difference when it comes to air quality.  

‘That’s why we were delighted to be able to support the EVE trial and are even more delighted to be celebrating its success. It’s great to hear so many businesses have had an opportunity to try out electric and hybrid vehicles without any pressure or commitment and are now planning to take the leap and add this cleaner, greener technology to their fleet for their benefit as well as that of the rest of the community.’  

In related news, the newly formed industry association ChargeUK announced that it will provide £6bn investment for new charging points by 2030.

Photo courtesy of Nottingham City Council


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