Rural businesses in Warwickshire have plugged-in to a project designed to test the efficiency of electric cars in rural areas.
Ten rural businesses across a variety of sectors including farming, car maintenance, local deliveries and business services, have been selected to take delivery of the new Nissan LEAF as part of the Warwickshire Rural Electric Vehicles project (WREV).
The 100 per cent electric cars have been supplied by Nissan on a sponsored lease and were presented to representatives from each firm during an official handover outside the Offices at the Rural Innovation Centre at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire.
The project is part of the Warwickshire Rural Growth Network funded by Defra and led by Warwickshire County Council, on behalf of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) – with project management being supplied by South Warwickshire-based Greenwatt Technology.
The Rural Growth Network is among five pilot projects across England which has been created to support small firms in rural areas as part of a major initiative to boost the rural economy.
Key figures from Warwickshire County Council and the CWLEP along with representatives from Nissan, Greenwatt Technology and APT Technologies attended the largest handover of electric vehicles to have taken place in the county.
Businesses including Roylands Farms on Manor Road in Warwickshire, MJ Tec at The Ridgeway in Stratford-upon-Avon and Arden Business Solutions on William James Way in Henley-in-Arden are among the 10 firms selected for the pilot project with each receiving a £2,000 grant to contribute towards the two-year contract hire costs of an electric car.
Each company will also benefit from 12 months project monitoring and support as well as being able to track their journey experience throughout user assessments.
Dedicated charging points have also been installed at each business premises by APT Technologies, based in Middlesex, to provide quick, easy and safe charging for the electric cars.
The companies were selected following a free feasibility study which assessed more than 20 businesses with rural postcodes to determine whether electric cars would represent a suitable investment for the company.
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, CWLEP Board Director and Leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: “It is a fantastic project for the CWLEP to be involved in as it will not only encourage rural businesses to examine and test the benefits and opportunities available when using an electric vehicle but it will also help to stimulate rural business development across the county.
“There are a number of benefits for businesses with local low mileage journey routes to adopt an electric car including significantly reduced fuel costs, zero annual fuel tax as well as an improved value to their ‘green’ credentials. “