Electric vehicle Pod Centres to launch

A network of charging points and stations for electric vehicles will be launched across Greater Manchester in the autumn.

Private sector company Manchester Electric Car Company together with its partners will launch the first of 300 charge points and six stations, known as Pod Centres.

The Pod Centres will be located at Manchester Airport, Manchester city centre, the former Roxy Cinema site in Oldham, Media City UK in Salford Quays, Stockport and the Trafford Centre, with more to follow. Manchester Electric Car Company's medium term plan is for around 25 Pod Centres across Greater Manchester.

The programme to establish the network of charging points will be delivered over a two year period until March 2013. A consortium from Greater Manchester, led by the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, secured £3.6m through the Government funded Plugged In Places scheme.

This has been match funded by a private consortium led by Manchester Electric Car Company, which will manage and deliver the Manchester Electric programme along with its partners.

People will be able to buy electric vehicles including cars, vans, scooters and bikes at the Pod Centres and there will also be centres where drivers can lease, hire and charge electric vehicles, as well as being able to join an electric car club. Domestic appliances, also known as smart charging systems, that will enable drivers to charge their vehicles at home will also be available a the stations.

Ron Stratton, chief executive officer of Manchester Electric Car Company, said: "Electric vehicles, from family cars to scooters or fleet vehicles, are going to transform the way we live and work. With new vehicles being released by major manufacturers, and with the cost of motoring continuing to rise, now is the time to switch over. The future is electric.

"These charging points and Pod Centres are just the start. I expect to oversee a tenfold increase in the number of charging points over the next few years."

The Greater Manchester scheme is sponsored by AGMA and the Greater Manchester Environment Commission.

Manchester Electric Car Company is working closely with AGMA to look at how the scheme will fit with public transport. A smart card is currently being developed which drivers will use to be able to access the charging points, as well as use them on public transport.

Manchester Electric Car Company said electric vehicles are cheaper to maintain because they have fewer moving parts than motor vehicles and don't have exhaust pipes, engine oil, head gasket or spark plugs.

Electric vehicle owners will not have to pay road tax or congestion charges. Manchester Electric Car Company added that charging an electric vehicle is also much cheaper and far more economical to run than a fossil fuel run motor vehicle.

The Committee on Climate Change, an independent climate advisor to the Government, said that the UK needs to have 1.7m electric vehicles on the road by 2020 if carbon reduction targets are to be met.

Legally binding emission reduction targets are also in place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 34% by 2020.

Delivered by the Office of Low Emission Vehicles, the Government is co-funding the roll out of over 9,000 charge points by March 2013 to London, the North East and Milton Keynes in the first wave. An additional 4,000 charge points will then be rolled out to Scotland and Northern Ireland, Manchester, the Midlands and the east of England in the second wave.

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