Tom Keighley

Businesses get behind the wheel of electric vehicles

Bdaily was at the GreenFleet North East showcase of electric vehicles at the Gateshead College Skills Academy for Manufacturing and Innovation (SASMI), as the region’s businesses were given the chance to get on the test track.

New cars and vans from Nissan, Peugeot, Toyota, Vauxhall, Renault and Smith Electric Vehicles were put through their paces by delegates from businesses, as GreenFleet and Charge your Car communicated the benefits of using them as company vehicles.

Firms at the event got the chance to meet a range of organisations who have already introduced electric vehicles to their operations, including Neil Ellison, sustainability manager at Stockton Borough Council.

Mr Ellison said: “The Council has incorporated electric vehicles as part of its pool and they are being used every single day for several journeys each day.

“The figures speak for themselves – in 9,000 miles we have spent just £213 on fuel and absolutely nothing on road tax or maintenance costs.”

Speaking at the event, Dr Colin Herron, managing director of Zero Carbon Futures, told attendees that the North East was striding ahead in terms of passenger and commercial electric vehicle provision.

He said: “In 40 years of working within the automotive industry, I have never witnessed the change that’s happening now.

“This is the most exciting period I’ve ever worked in as we’re seeing the transformation of 100 years of dominance of internal combustion engines to vehicles powered by alternative means.”

He added: “This is a real coup for the North East its the first time that Green Fleet have come to exhibit outside of London, so it demonstrates the importance of the region in pioneering electric vehicles.

“We now have more infrastructure than anywhere else so we are really leading the way in terms of low carbon vehicles.”

Josey Wardle, project manager at Charge Your Car said: “What we’ve seen in London is Boris nullifying the congestion charge for electric vehicles, and we know Newcastle City Council is thinking of similar ways to incentivise users.

“With the spread of 300 charging points now in the region, and 1,000 to be in place by 2013, users now have excellent coverage.”

The Charge your Car project has recently received funding in Round 1 of the Plugged in Places (PiP) scheme, funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and other regional partners.

It aims to develop a network of charging point for electric vehicles in the region, from residential locations through to business, public carparks and main roads.

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