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Electric van plans for Sheffield businesses to try before they buy

Bob Johnson and Mark Jones in front of electric van

30 Electric Vans will soon be available for businesses in Sheffield to trial in a new project being delivered by Sheffield City Council with funding from Highways England’s Designated Fund for Air Quality. The project will provide vans for a two-month trial period to let businesses ‘try before they buy’.

The £896,000 of funding from Highways England will primarily be used for 30 electric vans, but also includes an additional 5 rapid chargers, able to charge most electric vehicles to 80% in 45 minutes.

The first trials look to start before the end of the year. After two years, the trials will end and the 30 electric vans will either be absorbed into the Council’s growing fleet of ultra-low emissions vehicles, or sold to businesses who are interested in switching to electric vehicles. By facilitating the switch to electric vehicles, the project will reduce the levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide emissions in Sheffield, and on nearby motorways and trunk roads.

Bob Johnson, Cabinet Member for Transport and Sustainability said:

“This project will help to put some common concerns about electric vans to rest - concerns about range and how much they can carry. Another 5 rapid charge points means you’re never at risk of running out of juice in the city. Hopefully local businesses will start to see the positives in switching to electric - cheaper fuel, less maintenance and no harmful emissions from the diesel vehicles they’ll replace.”

Sheffield City Council will formally approve the project to begin spending at Cabinet on 15 July 2020.

Some local businesses have already made the switch to electric vans. Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens design and install bespoke kitchens using sustainable materials. The company was founded on strong sustainable principles and are currently running an electric van and an electric car and are looking to add 2 more electric vans in the very near future.

Rob Coles from Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens Rob Cole from Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens with an electric van

Rob Cole from Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens said:

"We love our electric vehicles, they're great to drive and it's reassuring knowing we're not contributing to the air pollution problem we have in the city. The new vans the Council have secured for businesses are great news for Sheffield and a welcome helping hand in supporting businesses to become more sustainable. I'd highly recommend other businesses making the switch to electric."

Christopher Plumb, Air Quality Specialist at Highways England, said:

“Everyone should be able to enjoy clean air, and electric vehicles can really help improve air quality on our roads.

“Over recent years we’ve made sure that over 95% of England’s motorways and major A-roads is within 20 miles of a rapid electric vehicle charging point. And over the next five years, we’ll be investing £411 million to do more to protect and improve the environment around our roads.

“We’re excited to be supporting Sheffield Council as it encourages more businesses to make the switch to electric, and we expect many more to start using electric vehicles when they see the savings possible.”

To see Sheffield City Council's plans for its own electric van fleet, see the latest news here or watch Councillors Bob Johnson and Mark Jones test drive one of Sheffield's own electric vans by clicking on the video below: