School of Engineering



The North East’s Switch EV electric vehicle trial is one of eight national trials of electric & hybrid vehicles. It is funded by the TSB’s £25m Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator Programme.

Project leader: Professor Phil Blythe
Sponsors: Technology Strategy Board (Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator Programme) £10.5m project with £840k to Newcastle University
Partners: Nissan, Future Transport Systems, AVID Vehicles, Smith Electric Vehicles, Simon Bailes Peugeot and Liberty Electric Vehicles
Start/end dates: 2010-2015

Project details

The programme’s primary objective is to understand what barriers there are to mass adoption of ultra low carbon vehicles such as electric cars.

The Switch EV consortium has delivered 44 new and innovative electric vehicles, from five suppliers, onto the roads of the North East. In that time members of the general public are invited to use the vehicles for six months as they would their conventional petrol or diesel powered cars.

The research team from Newcastle University have equipped all the vehicles with loggers that track the vehicles and how they are driven and also monitor where the cars are charged and how much energy they are consuming.

The team also meets with the drivers to understand their experiences with the cars and judge their suitability and the potential barriers to their mass adoption.

To date more than 95,000 driving events have been recorded with the data loggers and over 23,000 re-charging events. The project has enabled the research team to understand the key technical performance parameters of electric vehicles, driving behaviour, perceptions of use of electric vehicles and recharging behaviour. 

This research has informed the wider community on:

  • the barriers to adoption of electric vehicles
  • how to educate drivers to drive electric vehicles more efficiently
  • the CO2 footprint of electromobility and re-charging behaviour in terms of where and when drivers wish to charge
  • optimal charging post locations
  • policy support issues
  • incentivising drivers to use off-peak electricity for EV re-charging

Academic staff

  • Professor Phil Blythe


  • Dr Graeme Hill
  • Dr Yvonne Huebner
  • Miss Myriam Neaimeh
  • Mr Craig Higgins
  • Ms Visalakshmi Suresh