Electric dreams for Nottingham as EV rally comes to town

Electric bin lorries

This week a nationwide electric vehicle (EV) rally, including electric cars, vans, motorcycles and HGVs, visited Nottingham as a city that is really plugged into the EV revolution.  

The ‘EV Rally Capital City challenge’ saw around 50 electric vehicles setting off from Cardiff and travelling via Bristol, London and Leicester before arriving at Nottingham City Council’s Eastcroft Depot, where using what the organisers describe as its ‘innovative facilities,’ the whole rally could be charged. This is the council’s recently-installed ‘vehicle-to-grid’ system which uses giant solar-powered batteries to charge up to 40 vehicles at a time – usually the council’s own fleet vehicles. 

But the EV rally visit is just the latest in Nottingham’s electric credentials, with a 2022 report finding that Nottingham City Council was the leading council in England on the electric vehicle transition, while Nottingham’s investment in publicly accessible charging infrastructure network has resulted in the most rapid and ultra-rapid charging points in the UK. Other key achievements include: 

  • Eastcroft is home to Nottingham City Council’s electric vehicle fleet, which includes street sweepers, bin lorries and vans. In a world first, two fully electric purpose-built bin lorries started their rounds in 2020. The sparkling new, clean and green answer to bin collections, the lorries save up to 70 litres of diesel and 360kg of CO2 every day. 
  • Eastcroft is also the base of the CleanMobilEnergy vehicle-to-grid project, a smarter, more efficient way to generate, use and store energy. Nottingham City Council uses the batteries in forty V2G capable electric vehicles and two giant batteries as part of an integrated system. The batteries can feed power back into the grid at times of high demand and store energy when there is a surplus. The pilot aims to show how technology can be used to improve energy demands caused by changing the fleet to electric vehicles. 
  • Nottingham is currently home to one of the largest e-scooter trials in the UK, with the data being used by the Government to decide whether to legalise e-scooters.  
  • Lime launched their e-bikes this spring, with hundreds of electric bikes available to hire around the city. 
  • e-cargo bikes are available via Nottingham City Council for local businesses to trial FREE of charge. 
  • The new Broadmarsh bus station and car park building opened in autumn 2021, with a record-breaking 81 electric vehicle charging spaces, powered by solar panels. 
  • Nottingham’s electric tram network covers 32km, carrying up to 20million passengers a year. 
  • Following a successful funding bid between Nottingham City Council and Nottingham City Transport, the first 12 Yutong single deck electric buses are being finished off, ready for the Red 50, Pink 30 and Blue 39 routes at the end of the year. 
  • Nottingham City Council recently wrapped up nationally-funded trials for the Electric Van Experience and WiCET (wireless charging of electric taxis), both of which will have their learnings rolled out nationwide. 
  • Solar-powered electric vehicle chargers are in use at Queen’s Drive Park & Ride with more coming soon. 
  • Our electric fleet is saving around £950,000 and 1,162t CO2 a year – equivalent to planting 44,685 trees. 

Taken together, these electric initiatives offer alternatives to car journeys, improving local air quality. Government research shows that both short and long-term exposure to air pollution can lead to a wide range of diseases, including stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, trachea, bronchus and lung cancers, aggravated asthma and lower respiratory infections. 

Councillor Angela Kandola, Portfolio Holder for Highways, Transport and Planning said: “Nottingham City Council continues to lead the way in electric vehicle transition. From just two electric vehicles six years ago, our own fleet is now at 42% electric vehicles including the first electric bin lorries in the world. We have also rolled out lots of public EV charging points across the city.  

“We are proud of our progress so far, but there is still much more to do to bring down dangerous levels of air pollution and help us meet our carbon neutral 2028 goal.”