Electric vehicles in Durham City – UK Case Study

  • PEOPLE project, UK case study, electric vehicles, EVs, research, students, Durham University, Durham County Council, Durham Energy Institute

Jack Heffernan, MA student, Durham University

Participating in the PEOPLE Project 2019, we are a group of masters students at Durham University who have teamed up with Durham County Council (DCC) to help Durham City prepare for the country’s upcoming shift towards electric vehicles (EVs).

Our research aims to answer the question: How can Durham County Council help sustain and encourage the growth of EVs in Durham City?’.

Following a successful meeting with the DCC, we have collaboratively set out several objectives to ensure our research effectively answers the question and provides data which is beneficial to both our project and Durham City’s development.

Our objectives are as follows:

  1. What are the dominant barriers to EV uptake and what relevant incentives are there for EV users in Durham City?
  2. Understand the current experience of EV drivers.
  3. Locate and understand the current available infrastructure.
  4. Identify valuable sources of information to EV users.
  5. Examine examples of uptake in other locations for comparison.

To reach these objectives, we will use a variety of methods including: interviewing current/previous EV owners, attempting to purchase an EV to understand the processes involved, as well as a review of existing academic literature. All of which, will be carried out in close contact with the DCC EV team.

We were recently gifted the opportunity to test-drive the Durham Energy Institute’s EV, by which we drove across Durham City between charging points. This proved to be an extremely insightful experience, building our understanding of owning/using an EV around Durham City.

UK case study, PEOPLE project, Erasmus+, electric vehicles, people-centred development

In the upcoming weeks, we are lucky to have arranged a meeting with Zero Carbon Futures’ Josey Wardle to gain greater expertise surrounding the future of EVs. In addition, an upcoming visit to Elmtronics- the UK’s leading supplier and installer of EV charging equipment- will be of great use to the project.

Although the project is still in the relatively early stages of progression, we are extremely excited about the potential the research holds and the opportunity to help prepare Durham City for the innovative years ahead.


Find out more about the PEOPLE project’s Learning Cycles and this year’s four exciting case studies.