Electric Vehicles and Rural Business: Findings from the Warwickshire Rural Electric Vehicle trial

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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to examine the impact of rurally based Small/Medium enterprises (SMEs) adopting electric vehicle (EV) technologies as part of their transport strategies. Existing research has demonstrated significant knowledge gaps relating to the impact of EV uptake on transport costs and planning for rurally based businesses. Instead, much of the literature has focused on the challenges faced by urban users of this technology. The paper extends the academic discourse surrounding the transition of the automotive sector to a zero emissions future by focussing on socio-technical factors in technology adoption. Importantly, the paper provides a rural emphasis on such change by reporting the results of a two-year EV demonstrator trial undertaken by sixteen businesses located in rural areas of Warwickshire, England, encouraging a much need shift in policymaking awareness. An important component of the research was to examine multi-level perspectives of technology adoption for rural firms and to question whether EVs would lead to locked-in transport technology pathways. The results of this trial gave a range of important insights into the outcomes of enterprises embracing commercial EVs for personal and business transport purposes. Evidence from the participants suggests that should EVs receive significant support in terms of infrastructure enhancement and technical developments they may prove a suitable substitute for existing transport provision in their rural locales.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In press)
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Volume(In press)
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 11 Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Low carbon mobility
  • rural transport
  • rural enterprise
  • path dependency
  • multilevel perspective
  • electric vehicles

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