Brixton is home to London’s first shared electric van

(l-r) Stafford Geohagan, Healthy Eaters; Hammant Patel-Villa, Courtesan; Orsetta Hosquet, Urban Growth; and Michale Smith, Brixton BID
Trying it for size (l-r) Stafford Geohagan, Healthy Eaters; Hammant Patel-Villa, Courtesan; Orsetta Hosquet, Urban Growth; and Michael Smith, Brixton BID

Brixton is home to London’s first shared electric van. Based on Pulross Road, the government and council funded van will be available free to local small businesses for a 12-month trial period.

Local business people and councillors joined providers and sponsors to launch the scheme this morning (3 December) on Electric Avenue outside Healthy Eaters.

The scheme, believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, is the result of collaboration between Lambeth council, Brixton BIDZipcar for Business and Cross River Partnership’s Clean Air Villages programme.  The partnership a public-private partnership that has been responsible for regeneration in central London for 25 years. The project is funded by Lambeth council and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

The programme is designed to encourage small businesses to start sharing a greener and cleaner electric van with other local businesses, all free of charge. It is hoped that it will

●      Encourage businesses to scrap highly polluting vans

●      Reduce the number of vans on the road, helping to tackle the area’s high congestion and pollution levels

●      Reduce parking demand

●      Ensure local businesses can continue to operate in the current and expanded Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

Zipcar electric van

In an earlier initiative, 14 Brixton butchers worked together to negotiate with existing suppliers, reducing the number of suppliers servicing the area from 11 to five.

This reduced congestion and idling and had a substantial benefit on the area’s air quality. It also made financial savings.

The butchers achieved a 55% reduction in the number of meat vans delivering to Electric Avenue and an 8-10% saving in product costs.

Electric Avenue was the first market street in London to be lit by electricity in the 1880s, but Brixton Road is now one of London’s most polluted streets.

The government department DEFRA is funding the overall scheme through the Cross River Partnership Clean Air Villages Programme, Lambeth council is funding the van itself, which is provided and run through Zipcar for Business. Brixton BID is bringing local businesses on board.

Cllr Claire Holland, deputy leader of the council and cabinet lead for environment and clean air, said: “I’m proud that right here in the heart of Brixton we have got London’s first electric van solely for the use of local businesses.

“We are determined to help Lambeth’s local businesses transition to low-carbon ways of working and electric vehicles and cargo bikes are the way forward.

The van outside Healthy Eaters on Electric Avenue with (l-r) Cllr Claire Holland, Lambeth council deputy leader, environment and clean air; Kate Fenton, project director for Cross River Partnership; James Taylor, Zipcar UK general manager; Cllr Irfan Mohammed
The van outside Healthy Eaters on Electric Avenue with (l-r) Cllr Claire Holland, Lambeth council deputy leader, environment and clean air; Kate Fenton, project director for Cross River Partnership; James Taylor, Zipcar UK general manager; Cllr Irfan Mohammed

“We all need to play our own role in tackling the climate crisis and by choosing to use electric vehicles, small businesses in Lambeth are leading from the front.”

Susannah Wilks, Director of Cross River Partnership, said: “We are delighted to be launching a shared electric vehicle for businesses in Brixton. It is a first for London, and we are sure it won’t be the last.

“We’re not there yet, and we all have a part to play. We look forward to delivering future air quality improvement projects as part of our Clean Air VillagesClean Air Thames, and Healthy Streets Everyday programmes.”

Zipcar UK general manager James Taylor said: “We are very proud to be the chosen partner for this exciting initiative. He said the company wanted to be fully electric in the UK by 2025.

“We cannot hope to achieve this ambition alone, and it’s only by coming together with other businesses and organisations that we can proactively tackle London’s pollution crisis and help make it the greener and cleaner city we all want and need it to be,” Taylor said.

Hammant Patel Villa, BID management board member and director of the Courtesan Restaurant, said: “We are very pleased to be among the first Brixton businesses to benefit from this new shared electric van scheme. We believe it will allow us to significantly reduce our emissions.

“We’re prepared to implement a slightly more rigorous schedule when it comes to our deliveries and collections with the shared van, in return for benefits around the reduced hassle and cost of owning a van, plus the knowledge that we are working together with our local business community to make Brixton a cleaner place to live, work and play.”

(l-r) Julia Nicholls, Squire & Partners; Laverne Walker, Sackville Travel and BID co-chair; Cllr Irfan Mohammed, council business champion; Hammant Villa-Patel, Courtesan; James Taylor, Zipcar, Cllr Claire Holland; Michael Smith, Brixton BID; Stafford Geohagen, Healthy Eaters; Matt Browning, Lambeth council's sustainability officer; and Kate Fenton, Cross River Partnership project manager
Brixton business people back the scheme (l-r) Julia Nicholls, Squire & Partners; Laverne Walker, Sackville Travel and BID co-chair; Cllr Irfan Mohammed, council business champion; Hammant Villa-Patel, Courtesan; James Taylor, Zipcar, Cllr Claire Holland; Michael Smith, Brixton BID; Stafford Geohagen, Healthy Eaters; Matt Browning, Lambeth council’s sustainability officer; and Kate Fenton, Cross River Partnership project manager

BID director Michael Smith said: “Local businesses can now actively address clean air and carbon footprint issues whilst making savings. The Brixton BID is committed to the roll out of this partnership with Zipcar, Cross River Partnership, and Lambeth council, extending this electric van service to as many Brixton businesses as possible.”

The 100% electric Renault EV Kangoo Maxi ZE van will be stationed by a charger on Pulross Road.

Any small business based in Brixton can apply by completing a hire agreement with Cross River Partnership via https://www.zipcar.com/en-gb/business/electricbrixton.  They must meet Zipcar’s usual eligibility criteria

Once signed up and approved for the scheme, businesses can book the van using the free Zipcar app, and drive it free of charge for short business trips in and around Lambeth

Participating businesses will be responsible for charging the vehicle when needed at the charging point on Pulross Road.

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