Hundreds of drivers in northeast England will have the chance to take part in a new electric vehicle trial announced by Cenex, the UK’s Centre of Excellence for Low Carbon and Fuel Cell Technologies.
The pilot-scale fleet trial, announced by Cenex and regional development agency One North East at the National Low Carbon Vehicle Event, will see four electric Smart cars deployed in the region for six months from October 2009 that more than 500 people will use over the duration of the trial.
Technical data from the trial will be collected from on-board instruments. Three cars will be on the roads of the northeast, with one primarily based on a test track and fitted with more sophisticated monitoring equipment.
The trial is aimed at accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles in northeast England.
Robert Evans, chief executive officer at Cenex, said: 'We hope the trial will enable large numbers of potential users in the northeast to gain hands-on experience of driving an electric vehicle for the first time. The feedback and data we collect will also help to give vehicle manufacturers and technology specialists a real insight into the opinions of their future customers and will assist in the development of electric vehicles tailored to the needs and preferences of end users.'
North East England is also hosting a major electric vehicle demonstrator project that will see 35 electric passenger vehicles developed in the region. It involves One North East, Nissan, Smith Electric Vehicles, AVID Vehicles and Newcastle University and from late 2009 will see vehicles including cars, taxis, people carriers, saloons and a minibus trialled as part of the national Technology Strategy Board-funded programme.
One North East has also created a partnership of private sector names including Tesco, British Gas, CE Electric, the AA and Capital Shopping Centres to develop an electric vehicle infrastructure in the region. The agency is in the process of installing 750 charging points for electric vehicles.