Chris Dunn of North East Lincolnshire Council, addresses Grimsby Renewables Partnership. Below, Examples of electric vehicles in the North East Lincolnshire Council fleet.

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 26 Jul 2018

ENERGY generation is a constant focus of business development on the South Bank of the Humber, and North East Lincolnshire Council is now looking closely at use as it sets its stall out to lead on the green ideal.

Chris Dunn heads up the local authority’s vehicle fleet and told how the team is embracing electric as he addressed Grimsby Renewables Partnership.

Mr Dunn said: “We have set our vision to be a nationally and internationally recognised for low carbon energy and the UK capital for energy industry.

“In December 2016 we took delivery of the first electric vehicle, a Nissan eNV200 Combi people carrier, and since then we have replaced 23 diesel-powered vehicles with 22 all electric vehicles, alng with an electric vacuum litter picker, and this equates to 14 per cent of our fleet is now electric.”

Read more: Council takes delivery of 11 new electric vans as part of bid to become UK’s energy capital

He said 2p a mile running costs could bring savings of £60,000 when combined with service benefits and road tax exemptions, with zero emissions meaning an estimated saving of 100 tonnes a year of C02. Bought with government grants of 20 per cent up to the first £8,000, the incentive is there, with an estimated fuel saving alone of £900 on each vehicle.

“The vehicles are primarily used for frontline council operations, carrying people and deliveries,” he said. There are also street-cleaning vehicles and the first fully electric refuse truck prototype is anticipated in 2019, with the current vehicles mustering just three miles a gallon.

But what of the borough?

Mr Dunn was also able to give latest figures there.

He said: “Electric car numbers are rising on the roads in North East Lincolnshire – but they’re still a tiny minority. The number of electric vehicles on the roads of the Grimsby area increased by 65 per cent in one year.

“Latest figures suggest that North East Lincolnshire is getting on board with the green revolution. Recently released Department for Transport statistics show the number of registered electric vehicles in North East Lincolnshire for each quarter of the year.

“From January to March 2017 there were 86 electric vehicles, however, by the latest quarter, from January to March this year, that figure had grown to 142, a jump of 56. In 2013 there were just six.”

He also talked through some of the challenges, such as charging for an area that has a large number of terraced homes with no off-road parking. Even street-light adaptions require the lighting columns to be road-side of a path to avoid trip hazards, a factor not always the case.

“Almost nine million electric vehicles will one day have to be charged away from home, because 43 per cent of British households do not have access to off-street parking, according to estimates by National Grid,” he said.

Having earlier given a potted history of EV development, the stage was handed over to Binbrook’s Myenergi, with Jordan Brompton addressing members.

She told how the two-year-old start-up, which specialises in maximising the use of green technology “bridges the gap between renewables and electric vehicles,” with a team motivated by making clean energy work best. “Kids in London can’t go out at dinner time if pollution levels are too high,” she said, “we have got to do something”.

Jordan Brompton addresses Grimsby Renewables Partnership.

“When it comes to car manufacturers, some are dragging their heels a little, they have their products and huge infrastructure in place in which to sell diesel and petrol cars, but Jaguar Land Rover’s range will be fully electric by 2020, and Hyundai and Nissan are also leading the pack. The rest will have to catch up.”

Read more: When Kryten got Zappi-d: Grimsby-area green energy firm is now fully charged

It is not just manufacturers though.

“When it comes to charging points this is one of the most sparse areas of the UK, she said. “Typically, we are playing catch-up, and it is a shame when we have the Energy Estuary right here.

“One of my personal missions is to get the big companies to say ‘we are here’ and get these charging points in place. They should be there when you pull up at a pub, at a shop. You don’t have to charge from nothing to full, you can just top up on the go.”

Mrs Brompton told how Myenergi was just shy of £1 million of sales since launch in November, including Australia, with the team boosted from six to 23.

“The world is waking up to this technology,” she said. “We have created a really friendly brand. Car chargers are a bit boring, just a socket on a wall ‘this is the EV100R, buy that’ – we are something different, we are trying to humanise it.”