Birmingham is shaping the future of electric cars says Sandy Taylor, head of climate change and sustainability at Birmingham City Council.
Birmingham is leading the way to demonstrate electric cars in the UK.
In June, Birmingham was selected as a lead city to demonstrate electric cars in the UK.
The city council developed a consortium project led by Arup, based in Solihull, with partners from JLR (Jaguar Land Rover), Mitsubishi, Tata, Microcab, Mercedes Smart, LTI (London Taxi International), EoN Energy and with Aston, Birmingham and Coventry Universities, alongwith AWM and Coventry City Council.
The CABLED (Coventry and Birmingham Low Emission Demonstrators) Consortium has secured £15m from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) for Birmingham and Coventry.
Between Birmingham and Coventry there will be 110 electric cars. The first of these may be running on the streets before the end of this year, and the rest in 2010.
These will be available for a period of up to 18 months to selected users so that the car manufacturers and the TSB can secure additional user information on how the cars perform in real life situations.
Users will be selected from both Councils and other users in the city such as the health authorities and businesses. And plans are also being developed for members of the public to be able to try out these quieter and non air polluting cars.
The information gained from this project will inform the future plans of manufacturers and their partners, to develop low carbon vehicles for the mass market.
Birmingham will be installing charging points at selected locations in the city – some of these will be in the workplace, some in car parks, and some on the street as well as ensuring that the selected users can charge a car at home.
This is only the first stage of a much bigger plan to expand the locations and numbers of charging points across the city. Birmingham is working with another government and business supported body – the Energy Technologies Institute – to secure additional funding for more charging points. There will be further announcements in the autumn and Birmingham is closely involved in the preparations for this.
This second stage ties in with the Government’s planned £5000 per car financial support package to accelerate electric car sales from 2011 onwards. Birmingham will be ready for this opportunity.
The roll-out of electric cars and other vehicles in the city will bring real benefits to Birmingham:
* Electric cars and vehicles are much quieter and when introduced on a large scale will make the city a significantly better place to live in
* Electric cars also emit no direct emissions to pollute the air. This will help Birmingham to continue to improve its air quality and also improve health within the city
* Demonstrating that electric cars and vehicles are here to stay. These will provide real opportunities to demonstrate new skills and diversified jobs into the future
* Showcasing what Birmingham is doing to be a sustainable city and achieve its carbon emissions targets by 2026
Plans are already being developed to ensure that schools are fully involved as the project develops, and that every opportunity is taken of the numerous events and activities taking place in the city to showcase the cars as well as being used in the daily life of the city.
As the G8 world leaders agreed to limit carbon emissions by 2050 just this last week, the efforts which everyone can make to reduce our environmental impact in our every day lives can make a real difference. Developing and demonstrating electric cars is one of the ways in which Birmingham can lead.