Mitsubishi has supplied six electric i-Mievs in the north east as part of the Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Programme (LCVPP).
Two cars will become part of the fleet at Gateshead Council, two at Newcastle City Council, one at Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and one at Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council.
The i-MiEVs arrive in the region following the Green Vehicle Congress 2010 event that was held by Cenex (the UK’s first Centre of Excellence for low carbon and fuel cell technologies) in Gateshead in March, and will form the next phase of the ‘Smart Move’ trial, a major part of the collaboration between Cenex and Regional Development Agency One North East.
Robert Evans, chief executive officer of Cenex, said: “The i-Miev deployed in the Smart Move project will provide valuable learning concerning electric vehicle acceptance and future market development.”
The delivery of the new electric vehicles to the North East follows the first part of the Cenex ‘Smart Move’ trial which involved all four of the local authorities now using the i-MiEV and gave hundreds of drivers the chance to drive an electric car through placements in vehicle fleets and at public test drive events.
One of the key findings of a report into the trial found that vehicle fleets like those at local authorities could provide a successful early market for electric vehicles.
Both Gateshead Council and Newcastle Council are already part of the Department for Transport’s Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Programme, which is helping selected public bodies across the UK to update a number of commercial vehicles in their fleets with electric vans and trucks.
As well as these electric cars, Gateshead Council has also ordered 10 electric and four hybrid vans to replace diesel powered vehicles.
The two i-MiEVs add to Newcastle City Council’s current fleet of 19 electric powered vehicles with an additional four electric panel vans due for delivery within the next few months.
Councillor Jennie Beaumont, Stockton Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “We already use some electric vehicles to collect rubbish from public bins but this is the first time we have our own electric car for general use.
“We’ve got £26,000 of funding from CENEX which reduces the cost to the Council to £387 per month for a four year lease period. This will eventually pay for itself by the savings made in paying petrol claims for staff when travelling around the Borough carrying out their duties or attending meetings.
“In return for the sponsorship, we’ll be providing information about the car’s performance to CENEX for research purposes to help the car industry with future electric car development. Just about every car manufacturer is investing in electric cars so our experiences will help shape the future of car travel in the country.”