Private firms back North East's electric transport plans

Major names in the private sector are supporting the development of an electric vehicle infrastructure in the North East of England.

Tesco, British Gas, CE Electric UK, the AA and Capital Shopping Centres have teamed up with Regional Development Agency One North East as it aims to place the region at the forefront of global electric car development.

The group will provide high-profile locations for charging points, along with technical advice and promotional work. This strategic approach is intended to help the region show the world how to roll out electric vehicle infrastructure.

One North East will install 750 charging points during 2010 and 2011 to provide future electric vehicle owners with the assurance that infrastructure exists in the region to charge them. The first 40 of these are already being installed in Newcastle and Gateshead.

The North East has been named as one of the UK Government’s Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator areas. The £10.7million project will see an initial 35 new electric passenger vehicles developed in the North East, including 15 Nissan cars, 10 Smith electric taxis, five Smith people carriers, a Smith executive minibus, two AVID saloon cars and two Liberty urban Range Rovers.

The development of electric vehicles alongside a network of charging points is part of One North East’s £30m plan to base the car industry of the future in the North East.

One North East chairman Margaret Fay said: "The advent of mass electric vehicle usage will change the way people live their lives. We are taking the first significant step in preparing the region for electric vehicles by bringing together energy supply experts and the owners of some of the most obvious sites to place charging points.

"However, it doesn’t stop here and much more work is to be done in the coming months on this exciting project that could change the way we live in the North East."

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