Electric vehicle scheme to help make Coventry green

Cllr Jim O'Boyle with Dev Bhamra
X The Business Desk

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Coventry City Council is encouraging businesses to switch to electric vehicles through its Electric Fleet First scheme.

Funding has been granted by the Highways Agency so businesses can use a van or car for at least two months on a free trial. The vehicles are fitted with telematic systems, recording usage patterns and calculating potential reductions in running costs.

The council will also provide businesses with advice on how to integrate electric vehicles into established fleets, award grants for vehicles and will subsidise costs of connection point installation from their approved partner EO Charging.

The incentive is designed to reduce pollution and improve air quality in Coventry as the 2030 deadline approaches for petrol and diesel car manufacturing to cease. The scheme joins Coventry’s move to convert the city’s buses to be all-electric by 2025.

Four battery powered Mercedes-Benz eSprinters, supplied by Midlands Truck and Van, are being offered to businesses operating in and around the city.

Cllr Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs, regeneration and climate change, said: “Coventry is leading the way when it comes to transport electrification. With more charging points than anywhere outside London, not only is Coventry one of the most convenient places in the UK to own an electric vehicle, but with UKBIC [UK Battery Industrialisation Centre], we’ve placed our city at the heart of the green industrial revolution.”

Coventry-based The Paneer Wrap Streetfood Company has already trialled an eSprinter, which travels 95 miles on a single charge.

Dev Bhamra, who heads the catering business, said: “I’m now seriously considering investing in a battery-powered Mercedes-Benz van. If we only worked in Coventry, it would be a no-brainer, as there are so many public charge points in the city that running out of power would never be a worry.

“The only thing that’s been holding me back is the fact that we also work in neighbouring areas, and in some of those the charging infrastructure is not as good. Once those places catch up, an electric vehicle will be by far the most practical option for a business like ours.”

Currently there are 400 public re-charging points in Coventry with the council planning to bid for funds for 400 more.