On National Clean Air Day (15 June), a Nottingham resident has become the first person in the city to have a home smart charger installed for his electric car. The smart charger has been installed free of charge through the Electric Nation project.
Nottingham is part of the Go Ultra Low City Scheme and the city is leading the way with many initiatives that are improving local air quality, which is benefiting people’s health. Such efforts are being recognised today, as former US vice president turned eco activist Al Gore presents Nottingham City with the Ashden Award for Clean Air in Towns and Cities, for developing greener transport that has helped Nottingham achieve the lowest emissions per head of population of all large UK cities outside London.
Air pollution is associated with 40,000 early deaths each year, and the annual costs to the health service and society are more than £20 billion. Air pollution increases the risk of some serious illnesses, and can make existing conditions, like respiratory disorders, worse. It increases the risk of getting lung cancer, and contributes to about 1 in 13 cases. National Clean Air Day is raising awareness about how to reduce the amount of air pollution we create, encouraging discussion and collaboration to beat pollution together, and providing tips about how to avoid harmful air pollution.
Electric vehicles (EVs) have zero tailpipe emissions and therefore help to provide a solution to the challenge of poor local air quality. The UK Government has ambitious targets for the uptake of EVs, and sales are currently increasing at a rapid rate.
While the UK electricity system has plenty of capacity to deliver energy to EVs currently and for the foreseeable future, smart charging can play an important role in ensuring electricity network upgrades are kept to a minimum as the number of EVs increase.
Smart chargers can provide added functionality for electric car owners too, and enable charging to be managed at peak times while ensuring that their vehicle is still charged when they need it. In order to trial how smart chargers can help address the challenge of increasing number of EVs on local electricity networks, the Electric Nation project is recruiting new EV owners and providing a free* smart charger, so it can learn from the data – and the feedback – from trial participants.
Nottingham’s first Electric Nation participant, Peter Slack, comments: “I am excited to be part of this forward-thinking project run by Electric Nation. Our old family car had come to the end of its working life, and with second-generation electric vehicles available, the time felt right to go electric. I researched the available EVs and settled for a new Nissan LEAF. The electric LEAF is easy to drive; there are no gears, so you just press and go! It’s quiet, comfortable and quick. Our LEAF will primarily be used for urban and ‘extra urban’ travel (up to 100 miles a day) meaning almost all of its charging will be done at home.”
“The Electric Nation project has provided and installed a high quality smart charger which is now in regular use. This has been a great success so far and we look forward to contributing to Electric Nation’s research, especially into the ‘human factors’ aspects of electric vehicle ownership and charging patterns. I hope this research will ensure that many more people can enjoy the electric vehicle experience, providing us all with a clean air urban environment and cost-effective travel.”
Cllr Jon Collins, Portfolio Holder for Strategic Infrastructure, Nottingham Council, said: “The health of people in Nottingham is a top priority for us which is why we are keen to show support of the National Clean Air Day to highlight what is being done to improve air quality in the city. We are really proud that Nottingham has been recognised as an exemplary core city which has been pioneering green and clean initiatives that are rapidly developing to improve the air in Nottingham.”
“Nottingham has an excellent reputation for providing sustainable travel solutions which in turn will help reduce congestion and air pollution in the city. Travelling on our clean buses and trams, together with cycling and walking, helps improve air quality, has health benefits and can also improve access to jobs, education and training. Working with the pioneering project, Electric Nation, this supports Nottingham’s Go Ultra Low project in increasing the uptake of electric vehicles to improve air quality in the city.”
Electric Nation is a Western Power Distribution (WPD) and Network Innovation Allowance funded project. WPD’s collaboration partners in the project are EA Technology, DriveElectric, Lucy Electric GridKey and TRL.
The Electric Nation trial is taking place in the WPD network areas in the Midlands, South West and South Wales. This area includes Nottinghamshire and Derby, which will use £6 million of Go Ultra Low funding to install 230 charge points and offer ULEV owners discounted parking, as well as access to over 13 miles of bus lanes along key routes across the cities. The investment will also pay for a new business support programme, letting local companies ‘try before they buy’.
The Electric Nation project is seeking to recruit 500-700 people buying or leasing new electric vehicles (of all makes and models, pure electric and plug-in hybrids) to take part in the largest trial of its kind. Trial participants will get a free* smart charger installed.
Places on the trial are now filling up fast, so any new EV owners who want one of the latest smart chargers installed free of charge are advised to apply as soon as possible.