Wiltshire Council is installing electric vehicle rapid charging points across the county which can top up a plug-in car or van in just 20 minutes.
The council successfully bid for a £225,000 grant from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV)and provided match funding of £75,000 to install the rapid charging units at key sites in Salisbury, Warminster, Melksham, Trowbridge, Corsham and Chippenham.
The network was officially opened by Baroness Kramer at the Corsham chargepoint. She said: "More and more people are switching to plug-in vehicles, with more than 5,000 sold in the last three months. We need the right infrastructure to keep building that momentum. Providing charge points like these means people can be confident that they can charge their car when they are out and about.
"All new vehicles are expected to have some kind of ULEV (ultra-low emission vehicle) element by 2040. There has been a steady rise in the number of people taking up low emission vehicles, as more models become available and the nationwide network of charging points continues to expand. Driving costs are as low as 2p per mile."
The charge points are positioned close to major routes for mid journey top-up and suitable rest points, with businesses such as coffee shops nearby to accommodate drivers during the 20-30 minute recharge.
There will be two parking spaces available at each charging unit which will initially be free to use at the follow sites.
• Melksham: King Street SN12 6HB
• Trowbridge: Duke Street BA14 8AE
• Corsham Post Office Lane: SN13 0BS
• Salisbury: Brown Street SP1 1HE
• Warminster: Station Road BA12 8AE
• Chippenham Gladstone Road: SN15 3DW
Horace Prickett, portfolio holder for transport at Wiltshire Council said: “These charging points mean electric car drivers know when they’re in Wiltshire a charging point is never too far away.
“We are committed to green initiatives and having these very rapid and efficient charging points makes driving an electric car a viable option.”
The council has also been successful in acquiring a further £180,000 funding from OLEV to have charging points in public sector areas, including campuses and council premises, for staff, visitor and public use. This is due to happen next year with match funding of £60,000 from the council.
Wiltshire Council has already replaced 10 pool cars within its fleet by investing £110,000 in seven ultra-low emission and three electric vehicles. Further investment of £180,000 has been identified to replace another 10 diesel pool cars with a combination of electric, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and ultra-low emission vehicles. These cars will bring significant savings for the council in terms of fleet and fuel use.
There are five electric car charging points at County Hall in Trowbridge and a fast charger is at Bradford on Avon Railway Station.
The new green cars, together with a drive to reduce overall journeys to cut costs and environmental impact have already seen results. Between 2012/13 and 2013/14 Wiltshire Council reduced its CO2 emissions for pool car and business use by 120 tonnes.