Switch EV

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Switch EV
Switch EV logo.jpg
General information
Type: Demonstration
Tested system/service: Electric Vehicle
Countries: UK ? test users
9 partners 49 vehicles
Active from 09/2010 to 2013
Phil Blythe
Future Transport Systems Ltd
United Kingdom
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Data catalogue Tools catalogue
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The Department for Transport expect that sales of electric vehicles (EVs) and plug in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) in the UK could reach 1,500,000 by 2030, and the Switch EV project is one of several to act as a trailblazer prior to wider scale adoption of electric vehicles across the UK.

Switch EV brings together a consortium of vehicle manufacturers, data collection experts and project managers. The project is running in conjunction with regional and national developments across the electric vehicle industry such as the development of recharging infrastructure, and is working closely with associated industry bodies such as breakdown service and insurance providers, supply chain industries and educational institutions to ensure the North East is leading the way in electric vehicle provision.

The Switch EV Project is being supported by the Technology Strategy Board and One North East.

Switch EV is one of only 8 projects across the UK to have won funding through the Technology Strategy Board’s Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator Program. It will see 44 brand new all electric vehicles on trial across the North East region from September 2010. The vehicles will be leased to organisations, councils, car clubs and individuals across the region, providing real life experience of living with an electric car.

Details of Field Operational Test

Start date and duration of FOT execution

Geographical Coverage

Switch EV is a North East regional project, with project partners from within the area. All of the vehicles will be on the roads within the North East, with an initial focus on Newcastle and Gateshead, to take advantage of the work the local authorities have already completed on recharging infrastructure provision.

Link with other related Field Operational Tests


Electric vehicles are set to become an everyday sight on the roads of the UK, and the major car manufacturers are developing electric, plug in hybrid and range extended vehicles, available for sale from 2011. Research is required prior to their launch to investigate the impacts that electric vehicles could have. This research covers many areas, from the recharging technologies to the real world performance and range of the cars, user behaviour, and environmental benefits to list a few.

The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) announced funding through the low carbon vehicle demonstrator programme to support regional projects taking a lead on developing and trialling ultra low carbon vehicles. Key sets of data will be collected, via data acquisition tools hard wired into all of the trial vehicles, which will be fed back to the TSB from all 8 regional projects, including Switch EV.

In addition, the Switch EV project will examine if electric vehicles are fit for purpose now, and will question their ability to act as a direct replacement to internal combustion engine vehicles in the future. Questions include:

  • How will driving an electric vehicle affect driving behaviour? The way individuals drive has an impact on the range of the vehicles, as it does on fuel efficiency in a petrol driven car.
  • Will trial candidates choose not to attempt some journeys because they are driving electric?
  • Will different routes be chosen because of “range anxiety”?
  • Will destinations be changed according to the availability of charging posts?
  • What patterns will emerge in recharging the vehicles?
  • Will trial candidates plug their vehicle in at every possible opportunity?
  • Will more recharging be done at work, home or in public areas?
  • Where should new recharging sites be built to support future electric vehicle drivers?
  • If electric vehicles are adopted in larger numbers, what will the environmental impact be?
  • What carbon savings are possible (for the full life cycle of a vehicle) with the adoption of electric vehicles?
  • What other air quality measures, for example particulates and carbon monoxide, will be affected?
  • Where will electric vehicles fit within the sustainable transport hierarchy?


Lessons learned

Main events


Summary, type of funding and budget

The project has been funded by the Technology Strategy Board, One North East, Nissan, Smith Electric Vehicles, Liberty Electric Cars, Avid Vehicles and the Transport Operations and Research Group at Newcastle University.

Cooperation partners and contact persons

Nissan are the lead partner for the project, as well as providing 15 of the first Nissan LEAFS to be seen in the UK.

Simon Bailes Limited is a major Peugeot Dealership and will be providing 20 electric iOn vehicles to the Switch EV project, as well as introducing the Mu concept into the North East.

Avid Vehicles Electric Vehicle design and manufacture in the North East of England.

Liberty E Cars will be providing all electric range rovers to the Switch EV trial.

Smith Electric Vehicles (SEV) is the world's largest manufacturer of on road commercial electric vehicles. SEV is providing an executive mini bus for the Switch EV project.

Transport Operations and Research Group at Newcastle University (TORG) will be collating and analysing data from the vehicles and trial candidates for Switch EV.

One North East is providing significant support for Switch EV as part of their drive to promote the ultra low carbon vehicle market in the North East.

Technology Strategy Board (TSB) is providing match funding for the Switch EV project, as one of 8 national ultra low carbon vehicle demonstration projects.

Future Transport Systems is an ultra low carbon transport consultancy, specialising in delivering projects that integrate electric and low carbon vehicles with infrastructure systems and stakeholder groups.

Main contact persons

   General Enquiries:
   0191 243 1622
   Future Transport Systems Ltd
   Milburn House
   Dean Street
   Newcastle Upon Tyne
   NE1 1LE
   Future Transport Systems Ltd
   Hethel Engineering Centre
   Chapman Way 
   NR14 8FB

Applications and equipment

Applications tested


A range of vehicles is included in the Switch EV trial, each with specific applications and suitable for different use. These will be the very first vehicles of their type on the roads in the UK, and in some cases the first in the world.





Edison Minibus

Smith Electric Vehicle


Liberty Electric Cars



Mu by Peugeot

Equipment carried by test users


SWITCH EV works with a diverse range of clients with demanding bespoke requirements. The scope of the infrastructure projects we've delivered can vary with our involvment ranging from purely providing strategic project planning to providing a one stop shop service that offers our clients a single procurement process for supplying, installing and maintaining charge points.

Test equipment


Pre-simulation / Piloting of the FOT

Method for the baseline

Techniques for measurement and data collection

Much valuable data will be collected through this trial, both directly from the cars through data aquisition tools hard wired into the vehicles, and from the electric car drivers included in the trial.

Data will be collected from all Technology Strategy Board (TSB) projects which are being delivered across the UK, to build a comprehensive picture of electric vehicle usage and performance. This will feed in to the development of a UK wide recharging infrastructure, as well as providing essential information to vehicle manufacturers for the future development of their cars. The information will also be essential for associated services and industries, such as energy generating companies, grid management operators, insurance companies etc.

Above is a visualisation of data captured from a Switch EV car whilst it completed a standard journey. It illustrates the energy consumption of the car whilst undergoing a typical journey, showing the energy being generated through regenerative braking and the energy being consumed through driving.

Recruitment goals and methods

Methods for the liaison with the drivers during the FOT execution

Methods for data analysis, evaluation, synthesis and conclusions

Sources of information