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Football club recruits EVs for fleet training

The club has already embarked upon a green revolution – the New Lawn stadium is powered with 100% renewable energy from solar panels and wind power, red-meat has been cut from the menu for players and fans, while matches are played on an organic pitch trimmed by a solar-powered robot lawnmower – and is now looking to tackle transport.

The pilot study will use a fleet of 11 Nissan LEAFs for players commuting to training from Birmingham, the Home Counties and across the West Country.

Forest Green chairman Dale Vince said: ‘Travel is one of the biggest environmental impacts in football, with teams and fans across the country covering millions miles every season by car and coach. We worked out that each week our playing squad could cover almost 10,000 miles travelling to and from training in Gloucestershire. Over the course of a season that adds up to almost 430,000 miles and generates more than 135,000 kg of CO₂.

‘The players took the first step themselves by organising carpools, which straight away cut carbon emissions and fuels costs by more than half.

‘The next step is to bring electric vehicles into the equation. We’ve teamed up with Nissan, who have supplied us with their new electric car, the LEAF, 11 of them in fact – which we’re going to run in a trial.

‘We believe we will cut travel emissions by over 80% by having most of the players substituting diesel and petrol cars for electric and recharging those cars using carbon-free renewable energy.’

Travelling on any journeys over 100 miles will be aided by the rapid-chargers being installed at motorway service stations as part of the Electric Highway deal between Nissan and Forest Green’s main backer, green energy company Ecotricity. In addition Forest Green’s stadium has an EV rapid-charger – powered by renewable energy from Ecotricity’s windmills – that is able to recharge a Nissan leaf in less than 30 minutes.

The vehicles are already proving popular with players too. Forest Green manager David Hockaday said: ‘Straight away I’ve had players coming up to me asking: “Gaffer when do I get one?” That says it all.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news - or gossip.

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