Join the electric revolution in Bristol

Councillor Donald Alexander is pictured, smiling, with trees and College Green in the background.
Today’s guest blog is from Councillor Don Alexander,
Cabinet Member for Transport and Labour
Councillor for Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston ward.

We’re long past the days when the whir of an electric vehicle (EV) was a new and unfamiliar sound. According to Zap Map, the UK’s leading app and digital platform for EV drivers, more than 760,000 electric cars were registered in the UK at the end of April 2023. 15.4 per cent of all new car registrations are battery electric vehicles.

Electric vehicles form part of our arsenal in the fight against climate change and reducing air pollution.

So, whether you’re an electric convert or just beginning to think about the possibilities, here’s an introduction to all things EV and how we’re helping support the switch to cleaner transport in Bristol. You can also read more about how we’re getting businesses into EVs with our free trial scheme.

Choosing an electric vehicle

Although often still more expensive to buy than most petrol and diesel vehicles, EVs are generally considered to be cheaper to run with lower maintenance and refuelling costs. The range of makes and models available are growing steadily so there’s lots of choice.

First things first, you’ll need to decide which vehicle is right for you. We’ve worked with independent experts, the Energy Saving Trust, on driver training initiatives in Bristol and suggest you check out their guide to EVs as a starting point.

An electric vehicle is pictured

Charging an electric vehicle – a quick intro

We understand that the decision to go electric is closely linked to the availability of charging points nationally and locally so here’s the low-down on chargers:

  • EV charge points are operated by a range of providers, some run privately and others are maintained by public bodies, like ours (Revive) which is backed and owned by the four West of England local authorities.
  • Anyone can use a public charge point. You’ll need to sign up for an account with the charger provider, or use contactless payment where available, then you can plug in and pay for the electricity you use.
  • There are different types and speeds of charging. Standard or slow charging is for long dwell times such as charging at home. Fast charging is what you will find at destinations like shopping centres and leisure centres and could charge a car between four and 12 hours depending on the vehicle. Rapid or ultra-rapid charging can charge a vehicle in 15 to 60 minutes depending on the EV and are typically found at service stations and on key routes in cities and towns.

Charging in Bristol

According to the government’s most recent report, there are more than 35,000 charge points across the UK, a number which has been growing since records began in 2015.

That report also shows that, in the South West, there are more than 2,500 chargers with more than 150 of those units in Bristol (an increase of 11 per cent in the last year).

Locations for Revive charging bays have been informed by the demand from people who live in the region. Help develop our network by suggesting locations for future sites.

Charging at home

There are rules around how to charge your vehicle at home to ensure the safety of everyone using Bristol’s streets. Find more information about home charging.

Electric vehicle parking in Bristol

Many of the city’s car parks, including the Park & Rides, now have vehicle charging bays. See a full list of places you can charge while using Bristol City Council car parks.

Other ways we’re supporting the use of electric vehicles

Councillor Don Alexander is pictured on the left of the image, standing next to a blue electric vehicle.

We helped Zedify, a zero-emissions delivery service, to set up a place near the city centre where deliveries are made by lorry. These goods are then delivered to houses and businesses by electric bikes and vans. Zedify and other similar delivery services are now operating successfully in the city.

We’ve replaced 10 per cent of our own vehicles which we use to deliver our services with electric vehicles.

We offer 50 per cent match funded grants to businesses launching sustainable travel initiatives, which includes installing electric vehicle charge points for staff.

Businesses can try an electric vehicle for free

It’s been a year since we launched Bristol’s electric van loan scheme giving local businesses the chance to borrow an electric vehicle, for free, for between four and eight weeks.

As we’re halfway through the two-year scheme, funded by National Highways, there is still time to try an electric vehicle, but you will need to sign up soon as the scheme is proving popular with businesses across the city.

We have a range of small, medium and large vans available as well as  five cars (for smaller independent traders such as hairdressers) and two hackney carriage taxis.

In the last year over 150 firms have tested one of our EVs to see what they’re like and how they would fit into their business.

We asked them to tell us what the experience was like and 91 per cent said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the driving experience and 97 per cent said they would recommend the EV trial to other businesses.

Visit our website for more information and to sign up for a free EV trial.

Two electric vans are pictured, with an electric vehicle charging point on the right of the image.