The two cities have joined together today (June 29), with a convoy of eco-cars travelling between the two to officially launch the latest stage of the Midlands journey to low-carbon motoring.
A number of electric vehicles including Mitsubishi, Tata and Modec will be making the 20 mile journey between two sets of charging points installed in convenient city centre streets; from Margaret Street in Birmingham to Croft Road, Coventry.
Charles Bradshaw-Smith, Head of Innovation at E.ON – and himself a participant in the CABLED project – said: “Coventry and Birmingham were the birthplace of the British car industry and it’s great that these two cities are now leading the way in bringing low-carbon motoring to our streets.
“Electric cars are perfect for commutes to work and for shopping trips to town – and we’re proud to help make eco-driving even easier by being the energy behind these charging points.
“Today’s event shows that electric vehicles are a genuine alternative to petrol and diesel cars – I speak as someone who has driven 7,000 commuting miles in my electric vehicle.”
Cllr Paul Tilsley, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “As a city with a rich motoring heritage, our challenge for the future is to be at the forefront of low-carbon vehicle technology – and the development of a charging point network for the CABLED initiative is a vital step towards this goal.
“Last year we drew up the Birmingham Declaration on Climate Change in which we committed to only buy electric or LPG vehicles by 2015. That is why we are delighted to be working with partners to deliver the infrastructure that will underpin this.”
Cllr Linda Bigham, cabinet member for City Development at Coventry City Council, said: “This is a big step forward in the initiative to reduce harmful carbon emissions and encourage people and businesses to use electric vehicles. There are seven charging points in Coventry which are now ready to use with more planned in the future for domestic vehicles.
Coventry City Council has purchased 45 electric vehicles as part of an ongoing programme to replace its fleet vehicles. These will be in use from September, and more are planned in the years ahead. These vehicles will produce fuel savings of almost 20 per cent, whilst also reducing carbon emissions by 20 per cent.”
Neil Butcher of Arup, project leader of the CABLED consortium said “Installation of public charging points is an essential part of the overall CABLED programme. Their availability will increase drivers’ confidence to use their cars for longer journeys. By monitoring usage of these points, we can gain vital insights on how many points will be needed and where we should install them, and hence prepare for the future mass introduction of electric vehicles.”
CABLED – short for Coventry and Birmingham Low Emission Demonstrators – is made up of 13 organisations that will develop and demonstrate 110 road-worthy vehicles to be trialled in the two cities over 12 months. The 13 organisations are Arup, Aston University, Birmingham City Council, University of Birmingham, Coventry City Council, Coventry University, E.ON, Jaguar Landrover, LTI Vehicles, Micro Cab, Mitsubishi Motors, Smart, Tata.
CABLED is the largest of eight consortia from across the UK to participate in the £25 million Technology Strategy Board’s Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator competition as well as being the first to begin vehicle trials. The aim of the project is to find out how the cars are used – and when they need charging – to get a better idea of the driver’s experience of electrical cars. Regional Development Agency Advantage West Midlands has supported the CABLED consortium from the start and has invested £2.5million in the project, ensuring the Region’s participation in the competition.
The Technology Strategy Board’s Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator Competition
Through its Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstration Competition, the government-backed Technology Strategy Board has allocated £25m to eight highly innovative research projects in the field of ultra low carbon vehicle development and demonstration. These projects will see over 250 new innovative cars on the road in several locations around the UK. To meet the UK’s commitment to an 80% cut in carbon emissions by 2050, the carbon output of transport – currently a quarter of all UK emissions – has to be significantly reduced. The vehicles that we drive need to be part of the solution. These projects demonstrate new and emerging low carbon vehicle technology in real world situations.
E.ON is working with CABLED to provide the charging infrastructure for the project’s electric vehicles. In addition, E.ON Engineering is carrying out work to understand and manage the impact of electric vehicle charging on the distribution network.
E.ON is one of the UK’s leading power and gas companies – generating and distributing electricity, and retailing power and gas – and is part of the E.ON group, one of the world’s largest investor-owned power and gas companies. We employ around 16,000 people in the UK and more than 92,000 worldwide;