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The Nationís Ready To Get Plugged-In - New research released to coincide with the start of the smart fortwo electric drive consumer trials

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smart’s Plugged-In Report Reveals That Britain is Ready To Embrace the Electric Revolution On The UK’s Roads But Calls For Improved Infrastructure And More Information To Make It A Reality

Report findings unveiled today, reveal that the UK consumer is ready to embrace the electric revolution on the nation’s roads with about two-thirds of consumers stating that they’re willing to consider an electric vehicle if the charging infrastructure is improved. Over three-quarters of the UK agree that petrol/diesel emissions need to be lowered to reduce the amount of C02 emissions in the UK and 74% of respondents are prepared to do their bit [1]. The results form part of the smart Plugged-In report, an independent study by the Future Foundation commissioned to coincide with the start of the smart fortwo electric drive consumer trials in the UK.

The smart Plugged-In report also reveals that the majority of people believe local councils and communities have a responsibility to help make this a reality. 87% of the UK believe that local councils should invest more in the infrastructure to support electric vehicles (e.g. more recharging points away-from-home) and 84% think it’s the responsibility of their communities to make sure residents  can live 'greener' lives  with easier local recycling facilities, electric vehicle charging points and cycle lanes.

Commissioned to understand the UK perceptions around electric vehicles, the smart Plugged-In report coincides with the first London consumers taking delivery of their smart fortwo electric drives, as part of the UK’s biggest electric drive trial. Funded by the Government’s Technology Strategy Board, the nationwide trial is the first of its kind with over 340 vehicles being trialled on the UK roads. The programme sees 60 smart electric drives exclusively tested by residents in London and the South East for 12 months. A further 40 will be trialled by residents in the West Midlands.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said: “We are now on the brink of an exciting era of cleaner, greener electric motoring. London is already taking steps to ensure drivers in the capital will be able to embrace this new technology and plug in with confidence.”

“Britain is in the enviable position of leading the electric vehicle revolution in Europe, and the considerable momentum we have built up must not be lost. We must be prepared for the arrival of mass-produced electric cars by putting in place a suitable charging infrastructure now,” comments Calvey Taylor-Haw, Founder and Managing Director of Elektromotive, the world’s leading manufacturer of electric vehicle recharging stations. “The installations of Elektrobays in London are generating an extremely high level of round-the-clock usage, which provides a clear template for how the creation of a proven infrastructure is essential for electric cars to become widely accepted.”

Bethan Carver, Manager of Product Development at EDF Energy, said: “EDF Energy is installing charge points and smart meters in to the homes of the trial participants to help us better understand customers charging behaviour. We believe over 80 per cent of all charging will take place at home or work. Nevertheless, we believe some public infrastructure is important. This will help to address the public’s concerns over infrastructure highlighted in the report. EDF Energy has a partnership with Elektromotive and has installed 85 on-street charge points in London and across the UK and at our own sites in Brighton and London.”

Whilst revealing an enthusiasm and understanding for the ‘green’ benefits (69% of the UK believe owning an electric car would reduce their carbon footprint) and potential saving advantages of electric vehicles (the benefits highlighted by consumers were: money saving 61%, energy efficiency 54%, lower taxes 52%, lower insurance 46%), the report shows that there is still a need for more information: 73% of people would like to know more about electric cars. This thirst for information is reflected in the lack of knowledge and confusion around the perceived pit-falls including the maximum range of electric vehicles.  Findings show that 75% of consumers worry that they will run out of charge quickly and that they might not be able to travel as far as they need. However, dispelling this myth around the range, Professor Julia King comments “97% of our journeys in the UK are less than 50 miles[2] ” and Heiko Bornhoeft, Head of Product Marketing at smart reminds consumers “The smart fortwo electric drive has a potential range of 84 miles between charges which is more than most people’s daily driving requirements.”

61% of respondents also acknowledge that driving an electric vehicle could have money saving benefits. But how much exactly? On average, respondents in the smart Plugged-In Report state that they spend £1,100 on fuel a year. EDF Energy estimates that to charge a smart fortwo electric drive off peak or at weekends on the Eco 20:20 tariff will cost £1.51.  Based on three charges per week the typical annual electricity cost is £236 – a saving of well over £850 per year. “The saving on running costs of the smart fortwo electric drive isn’t limited to the massive saving in fuel  - drivers can also benefits from paying no road tax, free parking and not paying the congestion charge in London – making the economical benefit as appealing as the environmental. ” comments Heiko Bornhoeft, Head of Product Marketing at smart.

Bornhoeft concludes: “The start of the smart fortwo electric drive consumer trials is an important step towards the future of driving.  The smart Plugged-In Report shows that people are willing to consider an electric vehicle as their choice of transport but need more information before they actually commit to converting. The trials will enable us to start dispelling myths around electric vehicles and to communicate the benefits such as the zero emissions, the excellent range of over 80 miles per full charge, cost savings as well as exceptional safety features and long battery life of the smart fortwo electric drive.”

David Bott, Director of Innovation Programmes at the Technology Strategy Board said: "It’s great to see the smart fortwo electric drive being handed over to the first drivers. This London based experiment is part of a much larger UK –wide trial funded by the Technology Strategy Board and the Department for Transport. Low carbon vehicles are being put into the hands of real drivers in eight different projects. Vehicle performance and user behaviour is being monitored by computers in over 340 cars and data from trials across the UK will be collated and published in an act of open innovation designed to support the development of Low Carbon Vehicle technology”

[1] 74% of UK is concerned about what they can personally do for the environment Source: Plugged-In Report/Future Foundation

[2] Source: Professor Julia King, author of the government’s white paper “The King Review”.

-ends-

Notes to editors:
The research for smart was carried out online by The Future Foundation between 14/05/2010 and 20/05/2010 amongst a panel resulting in 500 respondents from a nationally representative, online sample.

The Future Foundation is a commercial think tank focused on making the future tangible for companies and consumers. Our insight and forecasts are based on rigorous consumer research across Europe. We conduct research in 27 EU countries – including France, the UK, Northern Ireland, Russia, and a range of Eastern European countries. In addition, we collect data from over 100 secondary sources to inform on a range of topics.

About smart:
Powered solely by electricity – the smart fortwo electric drive burns no fossil fuels and drivers can expect to achieve the equivalent of around 275 mpg (less than £3 per charge), and save 80% in fuel costs when compared to a petrol smart.
Zero emissions – the smart fortwo electric drive emits no carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, unburned hydro-carbons, particulate matter or any harmful substance....in fact it emits nothing at all.
Plug it in anywhere – the smart fortwo electric drive has its own charger on board (maximum output power 3.3kW), meaning it can be plugged directly into any UK mains 3 pin plug socket.
Tonnes of savings – compared to the industry average emission level, each smart fortwo electric drive will reduce C0₂ tailpipe emissions by 2.6 tonnes per year if driven a typical 10,000 miles.
Excellent performance – the smart fortwo electric drive can reach 38mph in 6.5 seconds, has an electronically limited top speed of 62mph (100kmh), and the ability to cover up to 84 miles (NEDC) between charges. The vehicle also benefits from rack-and-pinion steering, electric power steering, electric windows, and electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors.

About the smart fortwo electric drive trials:

  • The fully electric second generation version of the iconic smart fortwo has been selected to help create an electric car future for UK motorists, funded by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB).
  • From 29th June 2010, 100 smart fortwo electric drives will be handed over to UK consumers for a 12 month trial as part of the government funded Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator Programme.

  • The trial will see 60 smart fortwo electric drives being tested by residents in London and the South East and 40 in the West Midlands. smart is the only manufacturer conducting consumer trials in the London area.

  • The purpose of the trial is to understand the potential of electric vehicles, research consumer attitudes and perceptions and to inform developments to the smart electric drive vehicle before the car goes into full series production in 2012.

  • smart is the largest single supplier to the national TSB funded trials, supplying 100 of the 340 vehicles which will be supplied nationally.

  • The London and South East consortium involves smart, EDF Energy, Greater London Authority, Elektromotive and Westminster City Council. The West Midlands consortia is led by Ove Arup & Partners, and involves smart.

  • Amongst the first to receive vehicles in London include:
    - Livia Firth who runs Eco Age (an ethical design business with her brother Nicola Giuggioli)  
    - Gill Williams who runs http://www.greentravelguides.tv/  (a green travel website)
    - Paul Snow of electricab & Tiny Taxi who will personally assess vehicle suitability for future application to the world’s first fleet of zero emission  single passenger taxis
    - Lisa Wood who will personally use the vehicle in her capacity as Environment & Sustainability Manager at HSBC
    - Paul Burger MD of Soho Artists (performing arts management and promotion company)

Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator Competition
As part of the Low Carbon Vehicles Innovation Platform, £25 million has been allocated to highly innovative, industry-led collaborative research projects in the field of ultra low carbon vehicle development and demonstration. The competition focused on encouraging the development of industry-led consortia that can deliver in bringing significant numbers of vehicles onto roads quickly. The competition winners are delivering over 340 new innovative cars on the road in eight locations around the UK .

The programme is led by the Technology Strategy Board, as part of the Low Carbon Vehicles Innovation Platform, and co-funded by Department for Transport, Advantage West Midlands, One North East and the South East England Development Agency. Many car manufacturers are involved in the programme, including, Ford, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover, Allied Vehicles, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Mitsubishi and Nissan, alongside the wider car industry supply base, four energy suppliers, five universities, and three regional development agencies.

Demonstrator programmes are taking place in Glasgow, the North East, the West Midlands, Oxford, three projects in London (central London, West London, Westminster) and countrywide.

The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led executive non-departmental public body, established by the government. Its role is to promote and support research into, and development and exploitation of, technology and innovation for the benefit of UK business, in order to increase economic growth and improve the quality of life. It is sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). For more information please visit http://www.innovateuk.org/.

Partners:
EDF Energy
EDF Energy is one of the UK’s largest energy companies, producing around one-fifth of the nation's electricity from its nuclear, coal and gas power stations, as well as combined heat and power plants and wind farms. The company provides power to a quarter of the UK’s population via its electricity distribution networks and supplies gas and electricity to more than 5.5 million business and residential customers. It is the number one supplier of electricity to major business in the UK.

EDF Energy’s safe and secure operation of its eight existing nuclear power stations at sites across the country makes it the UK’s largest generator of low carbon electricity.  EDF Energy is also leading the UK's nuclear renaissance and has published plans to build four new nuclear reactors, subject to the right investment framework. These new plants would generate enough low carbon electricity for about 40 per cent of Britain’s homes. They would make an important contribution to the UK’s future needs for clean, secure and affordable energy. The project is already creating business and job opportunities for British companies and workers.

Through Our Sustainability Commitments, EDF Energy has launched the biggest environmental and social programme of any UK energy company.

EDF Energy is part of EDF Group, one of Europe’s largest power companies. Following the integration with British Energy in 2009, the company employs nearly 20,000 people.

Press Office: 0207752 2266  For more information please visit: http://www.edfenergy.com/

About Elektromotive
Founded in 2003, Elektromotive is the world’s leading provider of technology and engineering solutions for electric vehicle recharging stations.  The company’s main product is the Elektrobay, a recharging station for on-street or multi-storey car park use.

The simple-to-operate Elektrobay was first introduced in Westminster, London, in 2006, and there are now more than 135 units located across the capital.  A further 165 fully-operational Elektrobay charging stations have been installed in cities and shopping centres around the UK.  The Brighton-based company also exports Elektrobays to Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Iceland, Sweden, The Netherlands, Germany, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

Elektrobays are typically situated next to parking bays, within easy reach of an electric vehicle’s charging point.  The Elektrobay’s socket is located under a secure, weather-proof door, accessed using a personalised key fob.  When charging is in progress, the door locks shut to prevent interference.  With a power output of 240 volts AC and 13 amps in the UK, or 230 volts AC and 16 amps in Europe, Elektrobay is compatible with all fully-electric and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles.

For more information on Elektromotive, visit http://www.elektromotive.com/ For press information and images, contact PFPR Communications:
Emma Richardson: +44 (0)1622 766528 emma.richardson@pfpr.com

 

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