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Electric car revolution comes to city; CAMPAIGN: Fleet of green vehicles to be tested in Coventry.

Byline: Helen Thomas

ELECTRIC cars will soon be seen on the streets of Coventry after the city was today given the go ahead to lead a new national green campaign.

The city has been chosen to try out a fleet of the latest low carbon cars in a joint experiment with Birmingham.

The government today gave the go ahead for the trial - which will mean more than 100 fume-free electric cars on the streets.

The bid will see Coventry become one of the UK's first electric car cities.

The government's Technology Strategy Board says the city is the ideal place to try out the environmentally-friendly cars.

The joint bid with Birmingham involves the two city councils, universities and local businesses and is worth millions of pounds.

The consortium behind the project is known as Cabled (Coventry and Birmingham Low Emission Demonstrators).

It combines the expertise of six car manufacturers, engineering consultant Arup, Advantage West Midlands, E-on, the city councils and three academic institutions.

Cabled is the largest of the regional consortiums chosen to trial the cars and will receive 110 out of the 340 available vehicles as well as a share of pounds 25 million towards the trial, which will take place over the next six to 18 months.

Neil Butcher, project leader of Cabled and associate with vehicle design group at Arup, said: "The West Midlands' automotive expertise is globally renowned. Combining this with the capabilities of our academics and public sector partners ensures that the region will be at the forefront of developing the next generation of road vehicles.

"The appointment is testament to the consortium's collective dedication to developing sustainable, ultra low carbon vehicles.

All 110 vehicles will be tested in and around Coventry and Birmingham and include four electric models - the Mitsubishi i MiEV, Mercedes Benz smart Car ed, LTI's TX4E taxi and the Tata Indica Vista EV - as well as the hydrogen-powered Microcab and Land

Rover's Range_e hybrid vehicle.

Following today's announcement Coventry University will begin the driver selection process while all the information gained from the project will be analysed by Aston University and submitted to the Technology Transport Board.

E-on, Birmingham University and the two city councils will provide the electrical charging points for the vehicles across the two cities with the university allowing access to its hydrogen refuelling station.

Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board said: "The journey towards low carbon transport will not be easy, but the demonstrator programme, which we are launching is a major step in the right direction.

"With more than 340 cars being trialled in several regions across the UK, and with the involvement of large and small manufacturers, local authorities and infrastructure companies, it is the biggest project of its kind to date." Other trials will take place in Glasgow, the North East, Oxford and three in London..


ON TRIAL... The Mitsubishi i MiEV (left) and (above) the Tata Indica Vista EV, two of the new electric powered cars unveiled today which will be tested in and around the roads of Coventry over the coming months.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 23, 2009
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