WARWICKSHIRE is gearing up for a petrol and diesel-free future.
Council chiefs were this week set to agree a wide-ranging electric vehicle strategy in a bid to encourage residents to plug in rather than fill up when they make a journey.
The strategy, which follows hot on the heels of the announcement of a wider government scheme to phase out the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, includes exploring everything from lamppost vehicle charging points to e-taxis and e-car clubs.
It also highlights the need to work with housing developers and businesses to install more charging points, and there are also plans to offer people electric vehicle ‘drive and ride’ demonstrations.
The county council also plans to work closely with district and borough councils to develop the strategy, which is set to start with a lamppost charging trial.
And the authority plans to practice what it preaches by providing work-based chargers for staff, and also to consider the possibility of an electric vehicle lease scheme for employees.
The strategy comes with a vision statement which reads: “Warwickshire County Council will provide the infrastructure necessary to enable residents, businesses and communities to use electric vehicles every day and for any purpose.
“Electric vehicle users will be confident that they will be able to recharge their vehicles quickly and conveniently, taking advantage of their lower cost operation and in doing so making a major contribution to air quality in the county through reduced emissions from road transport.”
The strategy follows growing concerns over air quality in the county. Leamington has just been named as one of 44 UK towns that exceed pollution level guidelines set by the World Health Organisation (WHO), and there is an acknowledgement other towns in Warwickshire are being increasingly choked by traffic fumes.
The strategy has a strong foundation to build on with 55 electric vehicle charging points already in operation at 24 locations dotted around the county.
And Coventry and Warwickshire is also recognised as a national hotspot for low emission vehicle innovation.
The region is home to a number of big names firms which are leading the way in researching, developing and manufacturing electric vehicles, incluiding
BMW, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Aston Martin, Tata Motors and Dennis Eagle.
The National Automotive Innovation Centre, located at the University of Warwick, is also set to open early next year. The centre will bring together academics, students and industry to develop the low carbon vehicle technologies of the future.
JLR also recently revealed plans to manufacture the next generation of electric cars in Coventry, subject to government support,
The county council’s cabinet was set to discuss the strategy yesterday (Thursday).