* indicates required

Scheme aims to spark surge in electric vehicle fleets

An Electric Vehicle Experience Centre is set to open in thecentre:mk by October, part of an 18-point scheme that includes incentives for city centre businesses to operate a pool of electric cars for staff use.

Priority parking and use of bus lanes are among other plans under consideration in the council’s plan to reduce its carbon footprint by 40% by 2020, Brian Matthews (pictured) told a transport forum in Milton Keynes.

He added: “Electric cars can provide benefit for a growing city with ambition to grow further. We want to work with businesses to locate specific parking facilities for them so businesses can operate pool cars.”

Other measures under consideration by the council include two electric vehicle hub charging stations, similar to filling stations, at key points in the city. The authority is also looking at installing charging points close to the home of electric vehicles purchasers who do not have off-street parking.

Speaking at the Transport Innovation for Workplaces forum, organised by Go Travel Solutions which runs the Smartgo workplace travel scheme in Milton Keynes, Mr Matthews said that more than 200 charging points had been installed in Central Milton Keynes since the city won Plug-in Places status in 2010.

There are currently 5,000 charging ‘events’ per quarter, compared to 90 when Plug-in Places began.

Indian services giant Tech Mahindra, which has its UK headquarters in Milton Keynes, has built the Mahindra e20 electric car designed specifically for urban motoring, with a 79-mile range per full charge.

Chief executive Steve Parkinson told the forum: “There is a compelling argument for swapping a business fleet to electric vehicles.

"The advances in technology in the past two years have been absolutely incredible and we are all about developing transport solutions that bring more efficient low-emission benefits.”

Around 28,000 electric vehicles were registered on UK roads last year, with a further 10,000 in the first quarter of this year.

The government offers grants of up to £4,500 off the purchase price of electric vehicles.

Smartgo Milton Keynes chairman Richard Scott, who heads the employee forum at Blakelands-based Volkswagen Financial Services, said: “We can make a real difference in Milton Keynes to make it a better city to work in.”

The Smartgo scheme provides benefits and services to make commuting and business travel cheaper, easier and more sustainable. The membership package includes incentives and discounts, transport expertise and collaboration opportunities with other employers and transport providers.

Some of the city’s biggest employers are members, including drinks manufacturer AG Barr, Milton Keynes Council, Network Rail, Red Bull Technology, Santander, the Open University and Volkswagen Group. 

More from Milton Keynes: