Coventry Council is providing local business owners who want to trial an EV with battery-powered Mercedes-Benz eSprinters in a scheme funded by the Highways Agency.
Participants in the ‘Electric Fleet First’ scheme are offered the use of a van or car for at least two months.
All are fitted with telematics systems that generate reports recording usage patterns and allowing easy calculations to be made on potential reductions in running costs.
While electric cars have already been provided to a driving school and local taxi operators, the Mercedes-Benz eSprinters are the biggest of the vans being offered through the scheme.
The first proved so popular with local traders that Coventry Council has now added three more – all arrived via Midlands Truck & Van’s branch in Whitley, Coventry.
The eSprinter is powered by a 114 hp electric motor that drives the front wheels and it can travel 95 miles on a single charge.
Also, its 55 kWh high-voltage battery pack is securely mounted beneath the body, so does not impinge on cargo carrying space.
Five other English local authorities are running similar schemes with Highways Agency backing, the others being Bristol, Kent, Leeds, Nottingham and Sheffield.
Amy Shakespeare, Coventry’s Electric Fleet First Project Leader, said, “We aim to support local businesses who want to explore their options, by allowing them to trial an electric vehicle for an extended period in their day-to-day work, but without any need for a big financial commitment.
“There’s been a great deal of demand for these vehicles from business operators, which is why we now run four of them.”