Domestic charging points for electric vehicles have been installed in homes in the north east of England

The scheme, backed by regional development agency One North East, is part of a move to set up 1,300 points across the region by 2013. A total of 55 units are being fitted, allowing domestic users taking part in the Switch electric car trial to charge their electric vehicles at home.

The units also carry out safety checks before any power is transferred. Dr Colin Herron, from One North East, said: "This is another example of how our region will help the rest of the UK to roll-out electric vehicle infrastructure.

"Most people believe that domestic charging is going to be the means by which most people charge their electric car but we won’t know for sure unless they are used in real-world trials."

Ian Black, production director at Sunderland’s Nissan plant, who is trying out one of the first Nissan LEAFs in Europe described it as "very convenient". He said: "It only takes five seconds to plug the electric car in at night and five to unplug it in the morning, fully charged and ready for the next day’s driving."