Stars charge ahead with Camden’s electric car trials

Camden’s stars have gone electric to promote the use of environmentally friendly vehicles and improve air quality.

In partnership with electric vehicle manufacturers Camden Council is offering local businesses free two-week electric vehicle trials to encourage more companies to consider zero-emissions cars or vans.

One of the main barriers to their uptake is a lack of willingness to invest in new technologies without seeing the benefits first hand. The trials give them the chance to find out for themselves that electric vehicles are great for inner London.

Vehicles currently available are: Nissan LEAF, Tata Ace EV Mini Truck, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Renault Kangoo Van ZE, with more vehicles due to be added as they become available.

To launch the project for Camden, comedienne and Camden resident Victoria Wood tested out an electric Nissan LEAF. Meanwhile other Camden celebrities – author Ben Elton and actor Derek Jacobi – have also shown their support for the trials.

Following her trial Victoria Wood said: “Electric cars are a great idea and I was really interested to see what it would be like to drive, especially as I have started to recognise what a problem air quality in London can be. Going electric took a bit of getting used to as it was completely silent but overall, the electric car was really nice to drive. It quickly felt just like a real car as I nipped about and it is so much better for the environment and improving air quality.”

Ben Elton said: “I often notice the polluted air in central London and think that schemes like this – which help to encourage businesses to adopt new cleaner and greener vehicles – are a really fantastic way to make London a nicer and healthier place to live. Electric vehicles make so much sense in London, with zero tailpipe emissions and being easy to drive, before long they’re going to make other cars look really old fashioned.”

Derek Jacobi said: “It’s great that Camden is working in partnership with these manufacturers to help local businesses try these cleaner and greener vehicles for themselves. It sounds like a really innovative and exciting project which will help to make London’s air much healthier and more pleasant.”

Camden Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainability and Transport Cllr Sean Birch, said: “Electric cars are a very important and practical way to improve air quality. Camden is the perfect location for electric car use and we want to get as many businesses as possible to take up electric, reduce the use of polluting petrol and diesel and protect the environment for us and future generations.”

Benefits of electric cars include:

* electric vehicles produce no air pollutants and can significantly reduce CO2 emissions
* they are extremely easy to drive
* they are quiet
* they are exempt from the London Congestion Charge and they provide tax breaks for company car drivers.
* they are exempt from road tax
* Electric vehicles qualify for a 100% first-year capital allowance
* they have extremely low running costs and they often benefit from reduced parking charges
* there is also a £5000 government incentive available

To book a trial call 0207 974 2260 or email airquality@camden.gov.uk.

It’s not just businesses that will benefit – early next year Camden Council will also be organising a day where residents can test drive electric vehicles.

The trial will include:

* The all-electric Nissan LEAF hatchback, which costs less than £2 to fully charge, and gives a potential range of over 100 miles.

* The Ace EV is a fully electric mini truck that can be charged from any 3-pin socket. It has a payload of 500 kg and there are three standard body  versions available: flat bed drop side, tipper or box van.

* The electric Mitsubishi i-MiEV city car is ideal for driving in London. As well as being zero-emission, it’s quiet, refined, can seat four people, reach 81 mph, and has a range of 93 miles.

* The 100% electric Renault Kangoo Van Z.E. makes much more sense than a petrol or diesel vehicle for short urban delivery cycles as it is zero-emission, easy to drive, and has very low running costs. It is also suitable for longer journeys as it has a range of up to 106 miles with payload of 650kg.

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