EV Works – a new Hub for Sustainable Transport and Community Businesses in Brighton?

On Thursday 9th June we hosted an open day at our new EV Works site next to our depot in East Brighton. We exchanged ideas on how a sustainable transport hub could help meet the city’s transport and clean air goals, and contribute towards a carbon neutral Brighton & Hove in 2030. We also explored how we could use the space to support fledgling sustainability or community business initiatives.

We were thrilled to have representatives from across the city’s sustainable transport and business community: Brighton & Hove Council, Bike Hub, BTN Bikeshare, Compass Bus, Compost Club, Community Works, FareShare Sussex, UK Power Networks, Wild Drive Campers, an eCargo bike enthusiast, and even a representative from Fleet Bus User Group in Hampshire!

It’s really important to us that we have representation from across the community from the start as we develop the EV Works concept. It’s brilliant so many people came along and shared their ideas and experience.

Anthony, Innovation Lead at The Big Lemon

We were given a tour of Wild Drive’s brand new eCampervan, a test ride of Hourbike’s new eCargo bike, and Mike from the Compost Club explained how a site like the EV works could help him grow his startup compost collection and delivery service. We heard from Fareshare how a hub could help them meet their small business fleet day time charging needs and we started a discussion with BikeHub about establishing a new location for their cycle maintenance and training activity. And of course, we took the opportunity to show people round our new charging infrastructure, Higer buses and EV hire cars!

One of the most important things for us as we develop the EV Works ideas is feedback and ideas. Our Big Lemon clipboards and sharpies were put to good use while we enjoyed refreshments from Brighton Bier and Bagelman. We have collected some great initial ideas and feedback, so a huge thank you to everyone for taking the time to leave comments.

If you were not able to be there but still have a burning question, thought or idea it’s not too late, please use the link below to fill in our quick online survey.

Whats next? Based on how well this open day went we will be arranging more for the near future. Please stay tuned and we will share details of the EV Works as our plans develop and future events soon!

Meet “Om Shanti” the UK’s first solar powered electric bus!

Our new solar-powered bus got a tremendous reception when we had our official launch on Friday 28th April, at our depot in East Brighton:

Om Shanti
*Om Shanti* in the depot on launch day

We were joined by a great number of friends and supporters, and local elected representatives, including the city’s mayor, Pete West:

Our amazing supporters, sponsors, partners, Caroline Lucas MP, Pete West the Mayor of Brighton & Hove with the city’s first zero emissions bus powered by sunshine!

The media were there in force too, and we were especially pleased to have ITV Meridian along, whose coverage can be accessed here.

Big lemon makes History
We made history in The Argus

The specialist press was also present, and here you can see the extensive piece published by Bus And Coach Buyer.

There was a chance for everyone who turned up to have a ride on the bus and everyone seemed impressed. The interior has been tastefully refurbished and is unrecognisable from the vehicle as it had been. As for the drive, people expecting a milk float (as some still do from electric vehicles) were surprised  by both the smooth ride and the impressive acceleration.

The bus is now undergoing trials and awaiting formal clearance to operate as a passenger-carrying vehicle.

There was also a chance to be shot up in the air in a cherry-picker to see the new solar panels that are on the depot roof and that power our new buses, and to have a tour of the depot led by our CEO Tom Druitt.

The solar panels on the depot roof from the cherry picker

The bus used to be a regular diesel bus, and has been converted to a 133 kWh electric bus by Magtec in Sheffield. It is powered by a 21kW solar array on the roof of the bus depot, installed by Brighton Energy Coop and part-funded by Viper IT Solutions, Infinity Foods and Buddies Cafe as part of our M&S Energy crowdfunding campaign last autumn.

Tom & Pete West Placque Unveil
Pete West, the Mayor of Brighton & Hove and Tom Druitt and our Solar Bus Roof sponsor placque

The party was held at Dotties Cafe, a wonderful social enterprise cafe in East Brighton Park, with fabulous food kindly provided by Higgidy Pies and lemon based cakes and vegan curry from Real Junk Food Project, a fantastic collection of craft beers from Crafted Crate, “Lemony lemonade” from Karma Cola and local award-winning gin from Brighton Gin. Thanks guys, what a treat!