The aim of the WREV trial was to encourage small and medium enterprises in rural Warwickshire to evaluate the possibility of switching to electric vehicles.
The WREV trial was designed to support SMEs in rural Warwickshire in examining their options for switching to electric vehicles (EVs) in the hope that these businesses would be able to decrease fossil fuel costs, improve their carbon footprint and stimulate business development. For each participating business, the trial included:

• A feasibility study
• £2,000 in grant funding towards the lease of an electric vehicle for up to 2 years
• Installation of a free charging unit
• Monthly Reports on cost savings, usage and emissions
• Free EV eco-driving session
• Technical and project management support

Businesses that wanted to participate had to meet the following Regional Growth Network (RGN) conditions:

• Be in a rural postcode on the RGN post code checker
• Be a SME
• A proportion of the selected firms had to be led by women
• Come from different sectors
• Have the potential to create or safeguard jobs as a result of ‘added value’ provided by the project
• Provide evidence of belonging to local networks to which the benefits of EVs could be promoted to add value to WREV

WREV was led by Warwickshire County Council on behalf of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership. It was managed by Greenwatt Sustainable Solutions, a sustainable technology consultancy based in South Warwickshire, with research and evaluation support from Coventry University’s Centre for Business in Society.

Resources needed

The project was funded by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) through the Rural Growth Network (RGN), an initiative that was part of a package of measures designed to support economic growth in rural areas. The total budget for WREV was £152,000.

Evidence of success

Seventeen SMEs in rural Warwickshire from several sectors participated to the trial.
For the entire vehicle fleet, 211,934 miles were driven and it was estimated that £21,828 were saved on fuel expenditure. The fleet also saved an estimated 41,994,051 g/mile of CO2.
The businesses stated that there were additional advantages from adopting EV technology. For example, organisations in the events and renewable technologies sectors found that using an EV was beneficial in promoting their business.

Difficulties encountered

There were range anxieties due to lack of confidence in the vehicle to deliver the required range and shortage of public charging infrastructure in rural locations. Also, charging stations in urban areas were not being maintained or used correctly, providing a deterrent to attempt longer distances.

Potential for learning or transfer

Benefits are mainly savings on fuel expenditure and CO2 emission. The practice could be easily transferred to other sectors and regions and provide benefits to SMEs that want to try EV technology and evaluate if it is convenient and appropriate for their business.
In February 2020, the research team from CBiS and the project facilitator from Greenwatt, hosted a seminar with representatives from senior policy advisors from North Carolina, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Montana who are interested in setting-up similar trials in the USA. They intend to use the experiences of WREV to help shape their own projects in the future. So, despite the geographical differences, experiences of WREV, such as the rural driving day for participants, installation of charge points and the initial feasibility study before a SME joined the trial are applicable to all contexts and represent key benefits of the trial.
Main institution
Warwickshire County Council
West Midlands, United Kingdom
Start Date
October 2013
End Date
September 2016


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