An innovative trial offering local businesses in Nottingham and Derby the chance to try electric vehicles before they buy has ended with 79 organisations planning to take on 158 electric or hybrid vehicles.  

More than £2.6m of funding from National Highways (and an equivalent of £1m from Nottingham City Council) made the two-year trial possible. The aim was to speed adoption of electric vehicles ahead of the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars, as well as contribute to Nottingham’s carbon-neutral ambitions and help clean up the city’s air. 

The trial in numbers: 

  • 55 electric vans purchased by Nottingham City Council 
  • 122 loans of vans – the council lent the vans for up to a month, allowing businesses to fully experience the pros and cons of going electric 
  • 61 free workplace charging points installed 
  • 73% of businesses and organisations involved in EVE responding to a survey plan to make the switch and buy or lease battery electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids. 

Feedback from local businesses has been very positive. Ross Kemp, from ASAP Water Crafts, in Roden Street, said: “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. 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.” 

With regards the higher cost of the vehicles still being a hurdle Ross pointed to the lower costs related to maintaining an electric vehicle as a positive: “No road fees, less maintenance required, and charging is cheaper than petrol”. 

Local businesses including funeral directors A.W. Lymm and Parcelhub who took part in the trial have now made the switch and invested in their own green electric vehicles.   

Managing Director at the firm, Matthew Lymn Rose, explains why they decided to trial the electric experience: “EVE has allowed us to trial electric without the up-front costs of buying an electric van and setting up the charging points. It was a great opportunity to see how it would integrate within the business.” 

Not long after participating in EVE, ParcelHub bought nine Maxus eDeliver 9’s for the business. They announced last year a commitment to invest £450,000 in the rollout of electric vehicles within their regional depot network, starting with Nottingham and Dinnington with additional all-electric vans added to the fleet across all sites as the electric charging infrastructure is expanded. 

The 55 electric vans used in the EVE trial will now join the City Council’s vehicle fleet, replacing older vans that used petrol or diesel engines. These are used for activities including deliveries, cleaning up rubbish and more – taking Nottingham City Council’s overall fleet to 42% electric.  

Councillor Angela Kandola, Portfolio Holder for Highways, Transport and Planning at Nottingham City Council, said: “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.” 

National Highways Regional Director Andy Jinks said: “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. 

“We know that emissions from vehicles using our roads contribute to poor air quality, posing risks to people’s health and wellbeing 

“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.” 

Nottingham City Council’s workplace travel service will continue to support local businesses and organisations by offering grants of up to £25,000 to install sustainable transport infrastructure in the workplace such as EV charging points, cycle shelters and pool e-bikes. For more information contact