Better Late Than Never: Longbridge caretaker tests out electric cars for Birmingham City Council

July 2nd, 2015 § Comments Off on Better Late Than Never: Longbridge caretaker tests out electric cars for Birmingham City Council § permalink

Caretaker Gary Chalke demonstrates his electric works van which he can keep and charge on his driveway at home in Longbridge

Caretaker Gary Chalke demonstrates his electric works van which he can keep and charge on his driveway at home in Longbridge

A caretaker from Longbridge has been selected to test out electric cars for the whole of Birmingham City Council.

The authority has installed a charging point in Gary Chalke’s home to see if it can save thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ cash from its budgets.

Over the next three months, Gary, a district neighbourhood caretaker, will be tasked with using a low carbon Nissan e-NV200 van to measure its cost-efficiency.

If the trial is successful, and money is seen to be saved, more council staff will be asked to drive electric vehicles and offered the British Gas charging points, either at home or their workplace.

What is an electric car?

An earlier trial involving a pool car, a Nissan Leaf, used by care workers found that, as well as having zero carbon emissions, the car cost £1,660 less to maintain and tax over five years compared to regular council vehicles, and saved 6.2p per mile on running costs – cositng 3.3p instead of the 9.5p per mile for diesel.

Council cabinet member for neighbourhood management John Cotton said: “The results from the initial trial are encouraging and show there are clear advantages to making our fleet of vehicles greener.

“But we need to test a number of different scenarios to get the most out of such technology. Doing this the right way will save the council and the taxpayer money, while also helping to address issues relating to air quality and the health and wellbeing of our citizens.

“This latest trial will help shape a green vehicle fleet for the council in future.”

Andy Butler from British Gas added: “Innovative trials like this demonstrate that using electric vehicles as part of a council’s fleet can bring significant benefits – from saving money to improving local air quality.

“Electric vehicles are also really convenient for council staff as they can be charged at home or at work while they’re parked. The charging point we’ve installed is as easy to use as plugging in a mobile phone, so we’re confident that it will support the neighbourhood caretaker in their duties.“

Have-a-go EVs: Northampton has UK’s first entirely electric pay-per-use car club

November 27th, 2014 § Comments Off on Have-a-go EVs: Northampton has UK’s first entirely electric pay-per-use car club § permalink

The UK’s first entirely electric pay-­per-­use car club service, ‘E-­Car Club’, has been launched in Northampton.

Northamptonshire County County officially launched the scheme yesterday, giving visits a chance to test one of the three new ‘zero emission’ cars which will soon be available in the town.

Users can sign up to the scheme online book slots to hire the E­-Car for £5.50 an hour or £45 per day. Members can also book a vehicle by smartphone, online or by calling the E­Car team. The cars can be reserved for as little as an hour at a time or as long as several days.

The charging points will be based in Albion Place, next to Royal and Derngate theatre, which is where users would pick the car up from and return them back.

It costs £50 to sign up to the E-Car Club scheme online ( – or £25 up to Christmas – and members have to be at least 19-years-old and they must have held a full drivers licence for a year.

Once signed up, the users are given a card, similar to a London Oyster Card, which enables them to ‘unlock’ their car and use it.

This video goes through the whole procedure step-by-step.

» Read the rest of this entry «

Electric vehicles: it’s time for businesses to wake up to the benefits

March 10th, 2014 § Comments Off on Electric vehicles: it’s time for businesses to wake up to the benefits § permalink

With new models, new technology, improvements in infrastructure, and Government subsidies, more and more consumers are realising the cost and carbon benefits of electric vehicles – it’s time businesses did too, says Andreas Atkins, head of Electric Vehicle Services, British Gas.
In 2013, sales of fully electric vehicles (EVs) doubled to more than 2,500, along with huge rises in sales of diesel and petrol hybrid cars. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) predicts further growth this year, fuelled by a large public awareness push from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles.
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First carbon-zero taxi service hits UK roads

October 8th, 2013 § Comments Off on First carbon-zero taxi service hits UK roads § permalink

The UK’s first all-electric carbon-zero corporate taxi service hits UK roads this autumn. Starting in London, Thriev plans to put 1,000 cars on the road by the end of 2014, bringing low-cost, low-carbon transport to UK businesses.

The fleet will be charged by the British Gas network of charging points.

The new service will be the first of its kind: an extensive network of rapid units capable of charging a car from 20% to 80% in 20 minutes. The entire charging network across the UK, one of the largest of its kind, will see each unit of electricity matched with a unit of 100% British renewable electricity, making Thriev the UK’s only carbon-zero car service. » Read the rest of this entry «

Free EV charging points scheme tabled

July 6th, 2013 § Comments Off on Free EV charging points scheme tabled § permalink

ELECTRIC car charging points are now available free of charge under a scheme from British Gas and Chargemaster, partly using money made available by the Government to help build a nationwide charging infrastructure.

The news means that anyone interested in buying a plug-in car can have a charging point installed at their home or even at a friend or relative’s house, although the home owner themselves has to make the request to have the point installed.

Until now most charging stations added further expense to electric vehicle (EV) ownership, but it is hoped that the new initiative, in conjunction with the decreasing prices of plug-in cars like the latest Nissan Leaf and the stylish Renault Zoe will encourage people to switch.

The package, to be installed by British Gas, includes a 16-Amp wall-mounted and data-enabled charging box that will allow owners to keep track of energy usage and program the system to work only when electricity is at a cheaper overnight rate. British Gas offers a tariff specifically designed for EV owners to let them take advantage of overnight charging savings.

Not only that, but the new deal includes access to the POLAR public recharging station network run by Chargemaster, whose 1,800 recharging points are spread throughout many UK cities.

The deal is open to anyone, whether a British Gas customer or not. Andreas Atkins, Head of Electric Vehicle Services at British Gas, said: “This offer is a milestone for the UK’s electric vehicle market.

“The number of electric vehicles on the road is predicted to hit 1.5 million by 2020 and the Government funding scheme which makes this offer possible is doing a lot to help reduce the cost of owning an EV even further.

“As the offer is open to anyone it’s a great time for the friends or family of EV drivers to install electric vehicle charge points at their homes. For example, if someone is making a regular journey to and from a relative’s house then having a charge point at both destinations could be worthwhile.”

David Martell, Chief Executive of Chargemaster Plc commented: “Chargemaster is pleased to work with British Gas on this project. Providing free Homecharge Units and free membership of POLAR is a great opportunity for EV owners to get the most out of their electric motoring.”

Electric cars heading for Stratford on Avon

June 14th, 2013 § Comments Off on Electric cars heading for Stratford on Avon § permalink

ELECTRIC cars could become a regular sight on the town’s streets thanks to a new sustainable transport project.

Unlike most vehicles, an electric car does not run on fuel but instead moves using electrical energy stored in batteries.

And after working with Alcester-based Greenwatt Technology, Stratford District Council has secured a 60 per cent grant towards the cost and installation of four electric vehicle charge points.

British Gas has recently installed charge points in Bridgefoot and Church Street car parks with council chiefs hoping the initiative will not only demonstrate their commitment to reducing CO2 emissions but also encourage electric cars as an efficient, low carbon alternative to public and private transport.

» Read the rest of this entry «

Research reveals predicted electric car boom at UK hot spot cities

November 23rd, 2012 § Comments Off on Research reveals predicted electric car boom at UK hot spot cities § permalink

New research released today by British Gas reveals a predicted boom in the take up of electric cars in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Epsom and Brighton.

The study, which draws on Mosaic consumer classification data and references Green Segments insights from Experian, the global information services company, found that London’s East End is set to see a big boom in electric cars; with nearly 1 in 6 – over 36,000 – Stratford residents likely to buy one.

And with the recent regeneration of the area resulting in the development of a number of new eco homes, the electric car would certainly fit right in.

The new research identifies an emerging trend for electric cars in areas across the UK. It analysed the most likely types of people to buy an electric car, and then mapped out where in the UK these people live. The top five towns or cities likely to see an electric car boom are:

1: London

2: Glasgow

3: Edinburgh

4: Epsom

5: Brighton

British Gas is at the forefront of supporting this innovation. It is helping to make electric cars more accessible to more people by making them simple, quick, easy and safe to run through specialist advice and the installation of home charging points.

Dan Taylor, Director of New Ventures at British Gas said: “Electric cars are a safe and more environmentally friendly way of getting from A to B and there are now more ranges on the market, a developing infrastructure and increase in charging point availability. Our new research shows that driving an electric car can fit into a wide variety of lifestyles, so it’s no surprise to see a predicted rise in people embracing the technology and seeing the electric car as an increasingly viable option.”

Nigel Wilson, Managing Director, Data and Analytics at Experian Marketing Services said: “Our research shows that electric cars could soon be commonplace on the UK’s roads and suggests and shift in trends among UK consumers. Interestingly, the typologies of a typical electric car owner vary and can be quite surprising, particularly for those consumers who are reluctant to change other environmentally impactful behaviour.”

Experts predict that by 2020, electric vehicles could account for approximately ten percent of all cars sold in the UK. This equates to roughly 1.2 million UK households owning an electric vehicle.

British Gas is the preferred supplier of home charging units for the Nissan LEAF electric vehicle, the new Zero Emissions range of Renault EVs, Toyota’s new Prius Plug-in Hybrid, the Vauxhall Ampera, the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Hitachi Capital’s EV lease offering, in the UK. These deals mean British Gas is on track to be the largest supplier of car charging points in Britain’s homes, supporting 70% of the domestic market this year.

Experian’s Green Segments classification categorises all UK consumers into types based on their awareness, behaviour and attitude towards ‘green’ issues, climate change and the environment. These types have been analysed to identify their likelihood of buying an electric car, and then their location in the UK identified.


by ClickGreen

Renault Zoe wins RAC Future Car Challenge

November 5th, 2012 § Comments Off on Renault Zoe wins RAC Future Car Challenge § permalink

The UK’s most affordable electric car is also its efficiency champion, as the Renault Zoe claimed the title as the Overall Production Car winner at Saturday’s RAC Future Car Challenge.

The third annual challenge, covering a 63 mile route between Brighton and London saw a host of electric, hybrid, hydrogen and low emission petrol and diesel cars pitted against each other.

Renault ZOE winner 2012

A reverse run of the classic London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, which itself took place on Sunday, spilt vehicles into two distinct classes; production and prototype.

Those taking part ranged from enthusiasts and independents driving their own vehicles to major car manufacturers including Renault, Mercedes-Benz, Vauxhall,BMW and Jaguar Land Rover. Many of the vehicles, such as the Vauxhall HydroGen4, Jaguar XJ_e PHEV and Renault ZOE are not yet on sale and have rarely been seen on UK roads.

Starting on Madeira Drive, on the Brighton seafront, the cars take a scenic route through the South Downs countryside before heading into London to join the Veteran cars for the Regent Street Motor Show.

Celebrity drivers

The event attracts a host of famous names, with participants this year including our columnist and Red Dwarf actor, Robert Llewellyn in a Vauxhall Ampera, Smooth DJ Mark Goodier in a Mitsubishi i-Miev, British Olympic swimmer Ross Davenport in aToyota Prius Plug in, Coronation Street actor Tony Hirst in a Nissan Leaf, and Top Gears’ former Stig, Ben Collins Gear in a Nissan Leaf.

Many of the famous names took part in association with British Gas, which entered a number of vehicles.

Celebrity drivers clockwise from top left are Olympic swimmer Ross Davenport, former Stig Ben Collins, actor Robert Llewellyn and land speed record holder Don WalesBen Collins, now Hollywood stunt driver said, “Over the years I’ve driven practically every car on the planet. The pace of change in technology has been phenomenal, especially for electric and hybrid cars where fuel efficiency is finally being matched by performance. That’s how Audi won the Le Mans 24 hours this year and how I hauled an electric-powered supercar like the Tesla around the Top Gear track as fast as a Ferrari!

“It’s great to be involved in the RAC Future Car Challenge with British Gas, because it’s British Gas which is rolling out the charging infrastructure to make electric cars and vans a practical reality. This superb event showcases just how far electric vehicles have come, how easy they are to use and how affordable they are to run”.

First introduced in 2010, the challenge is designed to showcase the possibilities of energy efficiency of modern vehicles. A real-world test of vehicle capabilities, the cars are judged on their efficiency rather than their speed.

This year the number of awards categories had been increased for production vehicles and prototype vehicles and included most energy efficient vehicles by size and type (saloon, sports car, light commercial vehicle etc.) best electric, extended range, hybrid, hydrogen and internal combustion engine vehicles.

Winners in the production class included the Vauxhall Ampera in the Most EnergyEfficient Regular Car class, the Mercedes-Benz E300 Hybrid in the Most Energy Efficient Luxury Car class, Renault Kangoo Z.E in the Most Energy Efficient Light Commercial Vehicle and the Vauxhall HydroGen4 in the Fuel Cell Vehicle class.

Prototype winners included the SAM Moto-e3 in the Most Energy Efficient Small Car class,  the Windreich AG ME 2012 in the Best Pure Electric Vehicle (EV), the XAM 2.0 in the Best Extended-Range Vehicle class and the Jaguar XJ_e in the Most Energy Efficient Luxury Car (E&F).

Electric dreams – is it time to plug in?

September 3rd, 2012 § Comments Off on Electric dreams – is it time to plug in? § permalink

Electric car being charged

The electric car market still faces two big challenges: winning over consumers and creating the correct infrastructure

Electric cars have been around almost as long as the internal combustion engine. In fact, at the end of the 19th century, it looked briefly as though electricity, rather than oil, would be the dominant fuel for cars.

But oil won. In 1824 Joseph Fourier had observed something called the greenhouse effect, where certain gases might trap the sun##Q##s heat in the atmosphere and lead to a rise in temperatures globally. No one, however, connected carbon emissions with oil being used in cars. The internal combustion engine went on to transform the world.

Electric car from 1971Electric car design dates back over 100 years; this is one from 1971. Photograph: Edwin Karmiol / Rex FeaturesA century later, we know all about greenhouse gases, and the electric vehicle is making a triumphant comeback. Car manufacturers are keen to reduce their emissions, and electric vehicles are one obvious route to travel. In 2004 the Tesla Roadster, one of the funkiest electric vehicles ever seen, was unveiled to general amazement. A vice-chairman at General Motors famously exclaimed: “How come some tiny little California startup, run by guys who know nothing about the car business, can do this, and we can##Q##t?”

Nearly 10 years on several car manufacturers have launched some kind of electric vehicle – amongst the most popular are Nissan##Q##s family car Leaf, Mitsubishi##Q##s i-MiEV and the Vauxhall Ampera. But the electric car market still faces two big challenges: winning over consumers and creating the correct infrastructure.

The cars themselves will have to manage the first job. Consumers will probably be slow to cross over, but eventually, most car manufacturers believe, electric cars will play a significant role in helping us to decrease our carbon emissions, alongside other technologies such as hydrogen. (The fact that it##Q##s cheaper to recharge an electric vehicle than to fill a tank of petrol will help too!) But the vital infrastructure – the electrical charging points that electric vehicles need – is also slowly coming together, with over a thousand public charging points now available around the UK and many more on the way.

Progress has been very slow – a century and counting. But now it##Q##s on your marks, get set, go!

Charge your car at home

British Gas is playing its own role in the electric car revolution by offering a home charging solution for electric vehicle owners.

British Gas home car charging unitThe home charger is installed by British Gas engineers, who survey your home and advise on the best location (inside or out) for a charging point. The home charger includes a dedicated circuit – an important safety measure to protect your home##Q##s domestic circuits from overload.

The Wall-Box charger comes in a simple black casing, with key access which prevents unauthorised use and also makes it safer. A smart meter allows customers to take advantage of the British Gas off peak saver tariff, which means you can recharge when electricity prices are cheaper.

For more information,

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