Exploiting the business potential of electric vehicles

An open innovation network is helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to exploit the business potential of the Electric Vehicles (EV) charging network in the East of England.

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" We have been delighted to support businesses across the East of England to develop new products and services through this scheme. By seed funding new collaborations, we hope that lasting relationships can be created and more innovations will emerge from the partnerships. The environmental benefits created from some of the innovations created can have applications beyond the borders of the East of England. "

Dr Keith Bevis, Managing Director of EValu8 Transport Innovation

The “Innov8 with Evalu8” project is part of a wider programme known as “Evalu8 Plugged in Places” that stimulates the development and uptake of low carbon transport in the region. The project is building on the innovation potential created by the introduction of electric vehicles and the research data they can provide.

Taking advantage of EV opportunities

Innov8 with Evalu8 provides support for SMEs installing electric vehicle charging infrastructure – this allows companies to take advantage of the opportunities emerging from electric vehicles, and make fundamental changes to their business approach and processes by virtue of their adoption.

So-called innovation vouchers are on offer for companies to work with a partner of their choice to develop new products or services in the broad area of sustainable transport. These vouchers are vital for any potential products to reach the marketplace.

Moreover by creating a live “test bed” of data coupled with the knowledge gained from the development and rollout of a new fuel technology, new products and services for the EV industry and related markets can be supported.

150 SMEs stand to benefit

By the time the project ends in March 2015, it is expected that 150 SMEs will have received grant and consultancy support from the project, 30 companies will have engaged in new projects with similar businesses and 25 jobs will have been created. Two successful start ups are also foreseen, while 100 SMEs will have integrated new products, processes and services into their businesses. These could include electric bike services as well as energy efficiency and software products.

The umbrella Evalu8 project plans to accelerate the development and uptake of electric vehicles in the region by providing a contribution to reducing CO2 emissions and developing low carbon economic growth. It is charged with the installation of over 600 charging posts, which will provide an integrated network for a sufficiently rapid take-up of electric vehicles to stimulate business opportunities and a reduction in CO2.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Innov8 with EValu8” is EUR 1 843 007, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 699 178, from the Operational Programme “East of England”, for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

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