Government backs green car club
The new transport minister has reiterated the government's "unwavering, long-term commitment" to decarbonising road transport.
Speaking at the launch of a new electric vehicle car club in London today, Baroness Kramer said the drive towards low-carbon vehicles was not just about tackling climate change, but to make the UK "a global leader in green vehicle technologies and engineering".
Meanwhile, on the other side of London, Prime Minister David Cameron was being criticised for comments that were construed as the government reneging on some of its green energy commitments.
Unlike green energy perhaps, decarbonised motoring is a policy and sector the government still has confidence in, not least given the £500m made available by the chancellor in the 2013 spending review to develop the ULEV (ultra low emissions vehicles) market between 2015 and 2020. And the UK's low-carbon transport ambitions moved up a gear today with the launch of the first entirely electric pay-per-use car club.
E-Car Club, which launches in East London before a nationwide roll out, will allow businesses to reduce the cost and footprint of their fleets, make electric vehicles available to local communities and tackle urban air pollution.
The new Renault Zoe and the Renault Fluence are available in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets in partnership with social landlord Poplar HARCA, which owns around 9,000 homes in the local area. The organisation and its residents will benefit from access to a low-carbon, low-cost transport solution, whilst the pay-per-use club membership will make electric vehicles available to the community in an area of long-standing social and economic deprivation.
Each E-Car will achieve a 50-75kg reduction in nitrous oxide emissions per year and a 1-2kg reduction in particulate matter emitted in urban areas, helping to improve air quality and reduce health impacts.
The new car club combines the increasing popularity of pay-per-use schemes with the improving performance and reduced price of electric vehicles. The total cost of ownership for an electric fleet is lower than for petrol alternatives at car club utilisation levels and offers a considerably more sustainable, lower emissions solution, said co-founder Christopher Morris.
"We expect this to be the first of many such schemes and look forward to launching hubs across London and the South East in 2014," he added.
Last week, Hertz signed a partnership with Imperial College London to provide low emissions and electric vehicles to staff and students on campus.