Businesses can ‘try before they buy’ electric vehicles
Highways England has announced a multi-million pound investment that allows businesses to try electric vehicles for free before they buy.
Local authorities will receive £9.3 million to encourage businesses with diesel van fleets to make the switch to electric.
It works by offering the businesses a free trial of electric vehicles for two months.
Following a successful pilot with the Energy Saving Trust and a launch with Leeds City Council earlier in the year, councils in Coventry, Kent, Nottingham, and Sheffield are working to set up their own schemes.
Jim O’Sullivan, Highways England Chief Executive, said: “We are 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.
“This is a key example of how we are using designated funds to benefit the environment and communities around our roads as well as the people travelling and working on them.”
Over the last five months, electric vans used for the trial scheme in Leeds have also been driven more than 10,000 miles as part of the city’s emergency coronavirus response. The vehicles have been used in a number of ways including delivering local food parcels to those self-isolating or shielding, transporting key council key workers and supporting the work of vital third sector organisations.
Councillor James Lewis, Deputy Leader of Leeds City Council said: “Since launching the EV Trials scheme with Highways England in January, we’ve had a great response. Hundreds of local businesses and charities have already signed up to the scheme and its fantastic to see so many organisations leading by example.
“It’s still early days, but it’s really promising to see participants starting to invest in electric vehicles of their own. Every organisation choosing to switch to EVs is making a real difference—helping to clean the air we breathe and tackle the climate emergency.”
For more info on Highways England’s Designated Funds programme visit: highwaysengland.co.uk/designated-funds