Businesses are being invited to test-drive a new electric van before taking a fully-funded one-month trial.

An event is being held next week in Nottingham where a range of vehicles will be on show for firms of any size, from the public or private sector, to consider for their fleet.

Organised by Nottingham City Council as part of the Electric Van Experience (EVE) project, this will take place outside the Arc Building on the NG2 Business Park, Enterprise Way, between 11am and 3pm on Thursday 5 May 2022.

Staff from the Transport team will be on hand to explain the benefits of an electric van, answer any questions and take interested businesses out for a 15-minute drive to help them decide if they’d like to sign up for a 30-day vehicle loan.

Use of the van is free with a nominal administration fee dependant on the size of the company. Voluntary sector and charitable organisations are exempt from this.

Funded by National Highways and delivered as part of the authority’s Workplace Travel Service, EVE was launched a year ago and enables companies to see how making the switch to electric vans could be the right move financially and environmentally.

Councillor Sally Longford, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Energy and the Environment at Nottingham City Council, said: “With the ban on the sale of new petrol and electric vehicles brought forward to 2030, we want to support businesses to plan ahead. Electric vehicles are the future but we understand that making the switch is still a big decision.

“Since launching in 2021, the scheme has proved popular and we’ve loaned vehicles to more than 70 businesses. We now want to ensure that more companies have the opportunity to try it out and see if this is for them.

“The idea is for firms to experience the benefits of an electric van for themselves before making any commitment. This isn’t available through dealerships or manufacturers, so it’s a unique opportunity and key to addressing the barriers that businesses face with electrifying fleets.

“Not only will they be able to experience first-hand the cost savings in maintenance and operation, but also the improved driving experience, giving them confidence to go ahead and make their fleets cleaner.

“As a council we’ve long been committed to improving air quality in the city, and this scheme will further help to reduce harmful emissions from the city’s and region’s roads.”

Providing the premises are suitable, businesses who take up the offer will be able to have a charge point fitted at no cost and will be invited to take advantage of the services offered by Nottingham Electric Vehicle Services (NEVS)

Lezli Hall, Property Manager at Castle Cavendish that have already participated in EVE said “We took part in EVE and tried out a Toyota Proace 100% electric van. Becoming more economically and environmentally sustainable is important to our business. The Electric Van Experience was helpful to get a feel for how electric vans perform and the type and size of vans we needed and helped us make the decision to invest in an electric van for our property maintenance services. We are looking forward to taking delivery of our own van in the near future.”

Andy Jinks, Midlands Regional Director for National Highways and funders of the Electric Van Experience said: “We’re working with councils across the country to encourage businesses to make the switch to electric vehicles and we expect many more to start using electric vehicles when they experience the savings possible. 

“We’ve invested £2.69 million in this initiative with Nottingham City Council – a key example of how we are using our air quality fund to benefit the environment and communities around our roads, as well as the people travelling and working on them.”

Businesses interested in the 5 May event should contact the Transport team at: transport@nottinghamcity.gov.uk so an accompanied test drive can be scheduled in advance.

More information on the Electric Van Experience, including how to apply, is available here.

Other grants and support is available through our Workplace Travel Service.

The initiative is among a host of schemes National Highways is investing in to improve air quality and tackle carbon emissions from road transport as the UK takes steps to become a zero-carbon economy by 2050.  The scheme has been made possible by National Highways’ Designated Funds programme, which is designed to benefit people, the economy and the planet with an overall investment of £936m between 2020 and 2025.

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