The results of a new study have shown that rural businesses can make significant savings by switching to electric cars and vans. The trial, carried out by Coventry University, Warwickshire County Council and Greenwatt saw 16 companies from a range of sectors swap their diesel vehicles for plug-in models.
Not only were the vehicles tested for their suitability in the work environment – visiting clients, making deliveries, travel for staff etc – but the savings, feedback and CO2 emissions reductions were also monitored.
A total of 17 vehicles made up the trial fleet, which completed a combined 211,934 miles over two years for the companies involved. One business saved £3,226 in fuel costs during that time.
Fuel savings were calculated by simply monitoring the price of diesel in the region – across three postcodes – and used against the recorded mileages for each vehicle. The cost of charging the electric vehicles was then deducted to estimate monthly savings.
The research also found that small businesses could benefit from additional marketing opportunities when using green transport, along with potentially reducing their carbon footprint.
Jason Begley, Research Fellow at Coventry University’s Centre for Business in Society, said: “Reducing carbon emissions from the transport sector remains an important and pressing concern that impacts all UK motorists. The role of new vehicle technologies is central to this process, but their introduction present a number of challenges for users.
“This is especially true for rural motorists who are more dependent than their urban counterparts on having access to a vehicle to ensure they can connect with vital services and maintain strong social networks for work and living.
“The WREV (Warwickshire Rural Electric Vehicle) trial is a timely reminder of the very different experience this group of motorists encounter on a daily basis, particularly for rurally-based businesses that depend on economic and effective transport solutions. The findings from this trial will help our understanding of their needs and inform policymakers and other stakeholders in their decision-making when it comes to carbon emissions, low carbon technology and rural motoring.”
Mike Woollacott, project director at Greenwatt Technology said: “This project has highlighted that there are many rural businesses whose driving cycles are ideally suited to the electric vehicle, especially when suitable charge points are installed.
“Our project participants across rural Warwickshire have experienced for themselves the benefits of ‘driving electric’ – no exhaust fumes and emissions, genuine fuel savings which can be reinvested back into the business, independence from fuel station refuelling – and the sheer enjoyment of the quiet, comfortable and easy driving style electric vehicles!”
Find out more about workplace charging here.