Fleet News

London plays host to zero emission trials

LONDON fleets are at the heart of one of the biggest trials of electric-powered zero-emissions vehicles in the country.

A total of 15 organisations, including J Sainsbury, BT and the Government Car and Despatch Agency (GDCA), have been given the keys to Th!nk electric cars under the Th!nk@bout London sustainable mobility programme.

Each of the companies will run one of the two-seater Th!nk city cars, for 18 months. The companies will pay £80 a month - the commercial price is expected to be £300 - to cover delivery, service and maintenance. Rental company Hertz UK will offer operational support.

Kwik Fit and Ford developed the scheme in consultation with Friends of the Earth, while funding for the scheme was put up by TransportAction PowerShift.

Ian McAllister, chairman and managing director of Ford of Britain, said: 'These Th!nk city cars will substitute petrol or diesel vehicles for light delivery work and intra-office transfer of people and equipment. Electric vehicle usage will replace the reliance on fossil fuel vehicles in London.'

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone hopes electric cars will become more widespread among Londoners and London businesses: 'Electric vehicles are cheap to run, quiet, and do not pollute the air,' he said. 'In this case, because they use electricity from renewable sources, they avoid greenhouse gases too.'

The GDCA Th!nk will replace a diesel powered van used to provide deliveries of official documents to Government buildings, while the RAC Foundation will be using the car to assess the practicality and cost-effectiveness of battery powered motoring.

RAC Executive director Edmund King said: 'It seems like the cheapest form of motorised transport. In Westminster drivers can get free car parking at underground car parks and parking meters, the tax disc is free, the cars can be charged up for about 40p by plugging them in to a domestic socket, and the cars will also escape congestion charging.

'On the other hand, there are just six recharging points at car parks in Westminster, which could prove impractical for drivers that do not have their own garage.'

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