On Thursday 14 July, Electricity North West hosted a free event for businesses across Greater Manchester showcasing a wide range of electric vehicles and offering advice on transitioning to an electric fleet.

The Electric Vehicles Experience held at MediaCityUK was an opportunity for business leaders from a range of industries to gain independent and expert advice around the challenges of decarbonising vehicles.

The event was designed for businesses in all industries that are operating vehicles or thinking about how to deliver new charging infrastructure at their workplaces.

Delivered in partnership with Let’s Experience ElectricElevate and Bee Net Zero, the Electric Vehicles Experience aimed to help Greater Manchester to achieve its target to become carbon neutral by 2038, encouraging businesses to reduce carbon emissions before the ban of new diesel and petrol vehicles from 2030.

At the event industry leaders spoke about the key role that EVs play in the race to net zero and the challenges faced in meeting this demand.

Jonny Sadler, Strategic Decarbonisation Manager at Electricity North West said;Last year, we thought there would be 1 million electric vehicles on our region’s roads by 2030 but now we see it is more like 1.2 million. This agenda is fast moving.”

Talks covered the importance of embracing electric vehicles, challenges around charging networks and embracing electrification as well as advice on the grants and incentives available for businesses looking to transition to electric vehicles.

Paul George from Drax stated; “Many customers come to us quite reluctant and nervous about transition, but it is a huge opportunity for businesses of all sizes and sectors. Understanding vehicle and driver behaviour is important as you make the transition to EV. Understanding where your vehicle is driving to and how many miles they’re driving on a daily basis will help you understand which vehicles to electrify.”

Speakers also highlighted essential services and support on offer to businesses in Greater Manchester including Energy Saving Trust, a national trusted voice on energy efficiency and the Manchester Innovation Activities Hub (MIAH), a rapid upskilling, reskilling and retraining scheme by The Blair Project, Manchester Science Park and Bruntwood.

Nile Henry from The Blair Project and MIAH said spoke about the importance of upskilling the workforce to support the transition to electric vehicles.

He stated,The UK is leading the race in Europe on uptake for Electric Vehicles. We’re going to need 90,000 EV technicians by 2030 and so we need to scale up the skills adoption of that workforce. We need to train up garages and first responders. Green skills are a massive opportunity, worth £2million by 2035. We’re actively encouraging companies to get involved in this space.”

The Electric Vehicles Experience showcased the latest models of electric vehicles from e-scooters and bikes through to cars and vans. It gave business leaders an idea of the range of sustainable travel solutions now on the market and gave delegates the chance to test drive the vehicles as well as seek advice on which would be most suitable for their needs.

Over 25 exhibitors attended the event including electric car manufacturers, charging operators and installers, funding providers and general information from GM Chamber of Commerce, Transport for Greater Manchester and The Green Economy.

Currently there are between 15,000 and 20,000 electric vehicles on Greater Manchester’s roads. Research from Centrica states that 44% of businesses  last year added electric vehicles to their fleet highlighting a huge demand for change in the city-region.

Electricity North West hopes this event will be the first of many as they encourage more businesses to speed up their shift to a low carbon future.

You can view Electricity North West’s Electric vehicles tools for business here