"A CONSORTIUM OF GREEN vehicle experts has been formed to make Edinburgh the first electric car city in Britain. Last week an application was submitted by the consortium, led by former Ford marketing guru Ash Gupta, pictured below, with backing from Edinburgh City Council, to the Technology Strategy Board for a year-long trial to bring more electric vehicles to the streets of the capital. If the application is successful, the scheme is likely to be rolled out in the autumn.
Gupta, who lives in Edinburgh and has worked as a motor industry consultant for 30 years, was coy about the submission, saying that it was premature to talk too much about the plans. 'I really don't want to pre-empt any of the judging, and we're keeping the full details under wraps,' he said. 'I can confirm that we've presented our proposal and expressed our interest. We will have to wait and see if we are successful.'
The consortium has already selected the Mitsubishi i-MiEV as its preferred vehicle for testing. A four-seater saloon with zero emission, it is now being introduced in Japan. The electric battery, long a stumbling block for the development of electric cars, is guaranteed for 10 years and allows a range of 100 miles before recharging. The car has a top speed of 85mph and costs £12,500 new."
Councillor Phil Wheeler, convener of the city's transportation committee, said: "We'd like to make Edinburgh an international laboratory to judge the performance of the electric car. It's all very well trialling them in Amsterdam, where it is flat, but the hills of Edinburgh will put the new-generation electric cars through their paces."
Making Edinburgh an electric car zone will have implications for the city's heritage. Planning consent will be needed for electricity points to recharge the batteries. The Mitsubishi can be charged to 80% capacity in half an hour, although it takes 14 hours to recharge at home. Wheeler said that the trial might be conducted along with the City Car Club, a successful car-sharing scheme with thousands of members.
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