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

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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)395-408
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Early online date12 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

© 2020, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


The Warwickshire Rural Electric Vehicle trial was generously funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and could not have occurred without their support


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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