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Green Great Britain Week – Minister learns about ecodriving in pure electric Nissan Leaf

Green GB Week

Electric vehicles

The first Green Great Britain Week provides a new platform to showcase how clean growth is providing new jobs, growing the economy and supporting the mission to tackle climate change. This landmark week of action celebrates the opportunities created in renewable energy, electric vehicles and other environmentally-beneficial businesses.

There are roughly 31.3 million cars on Great Britain’s roads, and the switch to electric vehicles presents a huge economic opportunity for the UK, while cleaning up transport emissions. Currently 8% of the overall market is made up of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric vehicles. Sales of electric or alternative fuel vehicles are increasing too with 7,489 sold in August 2018, up from the 3,968 sold in August 2017.

With an estimated 40,000 premature deaths a year in the UK caused by air pollution, your choice of vehicle is a great way to support the clean growth initiative.

Electric vehicles (EVs) reduce emissions and combat air pollution. While the purchase price of electric vehicles and new technology can seem daunting, the long-term benefits and savings outweigh this initial hurdle.

Worldwide, the numbers of EVs are growing rapidly as increasing numbers of drivers realise their benefits. In 2016 there were over 750,000 sold worldwide, with almost a third of those within Europe.  

Electric Vehicle Taster Session

To support the week, Energy Saving Trust and the Department for Transport organised EV test drives for Jesse Norman MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Transport, and senior civil servants. The participants drove a Sunderland-manufactured Nissan Leaf around Westminster with trainer, John Hughes. Everyone commented on how smooth, quiet and easy to drive the car was.

Jesse Norman MP, John Hughes (trainer) and Carry Keay from Energy Saving Trust

This was an opportunity to introduce innovative features of EVs and tips on driving style to maximise range, in particular better anticipation. Like when you are riding a bike, if you can conserve your momentum and avoid sudden braking or acceleration, you will save fuel in a conventional vehicle or maximise the range of your EV. 

In an EV, using the e-pedal or regenerative braking when slowing down also allows you to convert the car’s kinetic energy to electricity to recharge the battery while you are driving. Applying these tips, participants could quickly see on the dashboard the difference they could make to miles and kWh efficiency. 

Phil Killingley, Deputy Head of the Office for Low Emission Vehicles commented: ‘I learned some really good tips on anticipation and reading the road ahead which I’ll be using when driving my own petrol car.'

on the road during the electric vehicle tasting sessions

The EV test drives gave the chance to discuss the benefits of the Energy Saving Trust’s subsidised ecodriving and EV Training for business drivers, available through approved training suppliers.

Watch our short video of Jesse Norman MP's reaction to the ecodriving training:

Benefits of electric vehicles

Electric vehicles benefit both businesses and individuals, reducing costs and environmental impact.

Driving a pure electric vehicle costs around £2-£4 per 100 miles. In comparison, driving 100 miles in a petrol or diesel vehicle will cost £13-£16 in fuel, roughly 5 times the price. There are public charging points across the country, and you can have a charging point at home too, if you’ve got a garage or driveway. Initiatives such as the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme funding can also make it possible for residents without off-street parking to charge their electric vehicles close to home.

Maintenance: Petrol and diesel cars require a number of parts to be maintained – oil, cooling systems, exhaust, the list goes on. A pure electric car has just three main components to attend to: the electric motor, the on-board charger and the inverter. Maintenance becomes simpler and cheaper. For some manufacturers and models you could save up to £1200 over four years by choosing EVs over petrol/diesel vehicles[1].

Tax and Clean Air Zones: Vehicles that are capable of producing zero emissions pay reduced or no vehicle tax, and are eligible for a 100% discount on congestion charge, subject to criteria. They are also likely to face no or lower charges in future Clean Air Zones.

Parking: Drivers of electric vehicles are offered free or reduced-charge parking in certain parts of London, including Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, and across the country, such as Milton Keynes.

Find out more about electric vehicle benefits.

Energy Saving Trust: electric vehicle initiatives and opportunities

Businesses, public sector fleets and universities across Great Britain are reducing emissions and costs.

Energy Saving Trust has worked with all kinds of organisations to help introduce new initiatives, including low emission vehicle fleets, home charging schemes and events to raise awareness. Reducing fuel use and mileage, managing grey fleet, fuel-efficient driving and adopting electric vehicles are all areas where Energy Saving Trust can provide support, information and bespoke advice.

Read our fleet management case studies to find out how organisations in South Yorkshire, Leeds and Cornwall took action to reduce emissions and cut costs.

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