How low can you go?
A whole lot lower, according to Milton Keynes Council who last year became one of four UK cities to receive significant government funding to boost electric vehicle infrastructure through the “Go Ultra Low Cities Scheme”.
With air quality a major concern in a growing city that expects to see a high degree of continuing car usage, Milton Keynes is now pushing to become international pioneers of green vehicle technology. This means leading the way in the field of ultra-low carbon vehicles and environmentally friendly transport solutions.
This is my kind of city, so I have been out and about in the area this week to find out a little bit more.
Under the Go Ultra Low Cities initiatives, the number of plug-in cars across the UK is expected to see an increase of around 100,000 by 2020 (numbers are currently at approx. 90,000). This is a great step towards saying goodbye to fossil fuel vehicles, following the government’s announcement that it plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
Milton Keynes has already given electric vehicle drivers the privilege of parking for free in 15,000 parking spaces across the city with its “Green Parking Permit.” It is also set to drastically up the number of EV charging points from the current 226 with the creation of EV Rapid Charging Hubs in the centre and new Destination Chargers providing free charging at hotels, supermarkets, sports facilities and restaurants.
EV Experience Centre
Whilst I was in the city, I paid a visit to the newly opened EV Experience Centre, smack bang in the centre of Milton Keynes’ shopping centre. With a fleet of over 50 test-drive electric vehicles across a range of brands, this place is designed to inspire all those intrigued at the idea of owning an electric vehicle or plug in hybrid, or to whet the appetite for those passers-by for whom the prospect has never crossed their mind. Shoppers can pop in for some advice, browse the range of cars, book a test drive, or book a week long loan to get some realistic experience of owning an EV.
The EV Experience Centre is totally brand neutral – a first in the UK – and their EV Gurus know all there is to know about switching to electric.
I met the lovely Giulia who showed me around the options available. She honestly couldn’t do enough for me – I think she took a shine to me – offering up a ride in my very own personalized owl-mobile aka the BMW i8 mini version!
How much could I save?
I learned that when comparing costs between EV and conventional you need to be thinking about the total cost of ownership:
- Fuel costs for 100% electric vehicles can be 80% less
- Pure electric vehicles costing under £40,000 are currently exempt from road tax
- Less maintenance compared to petrol and diesel cars and the exemption from the London congestion charge
- A plug-in grant is offered by the government of up to £4,500 off the price of an electric car and up to £8,000 off the cost of an electric van
Book me in for a test drive!
If you are in the UK, you can find out how to book a test drive, or week-long vehicle loan here: www.goultralow.com/choose-your-electric-car/
We can expect to see a huge uptake in electric vehicles over the coming few years, meanwhile, I am keen to explore the range of other initiatives under the scheme, including the use of bus lanes for EV drivers and an increase in the numbers of EV buses in the area.