The new Toyota Proace Electric is joining a new city electric vehicle initiative that lets businesses test zero-emission vans before deciding on a purchase. The Electric Van Experience (EVE) funded by Highways England, in this case, sees Nottingham City Council take delivery of nine Toyota e-vans.
Nottingham also added another three Toyota Proace vans to the council’s own vehicle fleet. The new test fleet is part of Highways England’s EVE scheme that sees the government agency handing £9.3 million to local authorities to encourage businesses with diesel van fleets to convert to electric. The scheme works by offering businesses a free trial of electric vehicles for two months.
In Nottingham, the City Council uses the EVE programme with loan times that can vary up to 30 days. The scheme is open to voluntary and public sector organisations as well as private businesses in Nottingham.
“The Electric Van Experience is a great opportunity for local businesses and organisations to test drive a range of vehicles,” said Nottingham Councillor Sally Longford, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Energy and Environment. The Toyota Proace, she added, was an “obvious choice – with a high capacity battery and one tonne of payload.”
The Toyota Proace Electric van is available with a choice of a 50 or 75kWh lithium-ion battery, giving a range of up to 205 miles. Fast-charging to 80% battery capacity can be achieved in less than an hour and there is no compromise in load-carrying ability or payload, according to Toyota.
The vans were purchased through the council’s ULEV procurement framework and will be maintained by Nottingham Electric Vehicle Services (NEVS), an exclusive service centre run by the council.
The city has ambitions of becoming the UK’s first carbon-neutral city by 2028 with the EVE being but one initiative. For example, in January 2020, Nottingham started a trial to charge e-taxis wirelessly, providing the test cabs free of charge to drivers.
“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, Customer Services Director at Highways England.
The Electric Van Experience has been funded with a £2.69m grant from Highways England. Councils in Coventry, Kent, and Sheffield are also setting up similar schemes.