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Companies thinking of making a move to electric vans in Nottinghamshire can try before they buy, thanks to the local council, says Dan Gilkes. Nottingham offers electric trials

Nottingham City Council has added nine Toyota Proace Electric vans to a growing fleet of EVs that are offered to local businesses  who are thinking of trialling an electric vehicle. The council’s Electric Van Experience (EVE) has a fleet of around 50 vans on offer, including Maxus e Deliver 3 and e Deliver 9 models and Nissan e-NV200s.

EVE offers electric vans on a free loan basis for up to 30 days, providing businesses and organisations with an opportunity to really trial the technology and see how it might work for their operation.

“The Electric Van Experience is a great opportunity for local businesses and organisations to test drive a range of vehicles, giving them the chance to experience first-hand the financial and environmental benefits,” said Councillor Sally Longford, deputy leader and portfolio holder for energy and environment.

“With the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles in 2030 and our own ambition of becoming the UK’s first carbon neutral city by 2028, we want to support local businesses and give them the confidence to make the switch to greener vehicles permanently. We know that different businesses have different needs and we can provide a variety of vans to suit any purpose.”

One local company that has already taken advantage of the trial is Asap Water Crafts, a provider of leisure and rescue jet boards, based within Nottingham. Company founder Ross Kemp currently runs a petrol Volkswagen Caddy van, but was keen to try out an EV.

“It was a great opportunity to trial an electric van. As well as cost savings, we realised that when we are visiting customers, it would be good to do so in an electric vehicle,” said Kemp.

Absolutely brilliant

“I tried a few lengths of journey and when delivering locally it was absolutely brilliant. I do have to travel longer journeys though, to our manufacturing partner in Weston-Super-Mare and that took a bit more planning. If the van had a range of more than 200 miles, then that would probably be enough. 

“I would highly recommend that all businesses try an electric van out though, it is very satisfying at the end of the journey.”

EVE has been funded with a £2.69m grant from Highways England and the vans were purchased through the council’s ULEV procurement framework. They will be maintained by Nottingham Electric Vehicle Services, a service centre run by the council.

“Our work with Nottingham City Council is just one example of us working with local authorities across the country to encourage businesses to make the switch to electric vehicles,” said Melanie Clarke, Highways England’s customer services director.