Nottingham City Council has announced that it will offer businesses across the region free trials of new electric vans following a successful £2.69m Government grant.

The authority will buy 50 of the electric van vehicles for companies to use on a ‘try-before-you-buy’ basis, until March 2022, funded through the Electric Van Experience (EVE) Project.

Some cars and smaller vans will be included in the EVE fleet, but will mostly consist of larger (medium and long-wheelbase) vehicles.

The £2.69m grant was awarded through the Highways England’s Air Quality Fund, with the vehicles headed for the council’s municipal fleet after the trial period ends.

The funding can be broken down into £2.17m for 50 electric vehicles, £300,000 for participating businesses to cover the installation of charging equipment, £140,000 for two charge-point hubs and £80,000 for vehicle telematics, booking-management systems, in-car cameras and performance data.

Councillor Sally Longford, Deputy Leader of Nottingham City Council and Portfolio Holder for Energy and Environment, said:

“Once again our ambition and forward-thinking in Nottingham has enabled us to successfully secure further significant funding for innovative transport projects in the city.

“Following on from our popular Go Ultra Low Programme, where businesses could road-test an electric fleet vehicle for up to a month, I’m delighted that this latest funding will enable us to hand over the keys on larger electric vans for a trial period – totally free of charge.

“This gives business owners who are interested in switching from traditional diesel and petrol vehicles the ability to do that without the initial, up-front costs of buying an electric van. We can also help them with the additional expense of setting up charging points at their premises.

“I’m proud that we are increasingly held up as an exemplar when the national debate is around climate change and ground-breaking environmental projects. Our electric bus fleet and extended tram system have moved Nottingham well ahead of other cities around the country and we are lucky to have them.

“This is only the start, however. We will need to redouble our efforts in the coming years as we strive for our target to be the first UK city to be carbon-neutral by 2028.”

The project aims to improve air quality across the city and contribute to Nottingham’s carbon-neutral objectives by 2028.

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