More power to the people

IPSWICH: For years it has been a dream of motorists to eat up the roads for only 2p a mile – and now an East Anglian company is hoping to make that dream come true.

Future Transport Systems is behind an ambitious plan to set up more than 600 charging points for electric vehicles across the region.

They would give drivers of electric cars the chance to charge their vehicles at the end of a journey, effectively doubling their range.

Modern electric cars have a range of about 80 miles – enough to travel around a town like Ipswich but it makes travelling further afield to places like Norwich or Cambridge rather difficult.

The company wants to set up charging points in long-stay car parks and park and ride centres across the region, and is hoping to get government money from a special green fund to carry out the work.

Technical director Ian McDonald visited Ipswich yesterday with one of the new generation of electric cars due to come on to the market early next year.

He said: “There are government tax and subsidy changes coming in on January 1 which will make the vehicles much more affordable.

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“But there are issues about trying to find anywhere to charge when you get to the end of the journey – that is why the charging points are needed.”

His company is hoping that the government will pay half the �5.5million cost of the charging points. It already has a commercial sponsor which will allow drivers to charge up for free.

“We are looking to put them anywhere that people leave their cars for a long time – although for most cars a couple of hours on charge should be enough to provide them with a good range,” he added.

A Peugeot car was on show – it is due in the showrooms at the end of the year and first cars are expected to be sold in January once the tax rules have changed.

Alan Nicholson from Peugeot UK said the cost of the car had not yet been decided, nor had the way it would be bought.

The cost of batteries has deterred many people from driving electric cars – a Mitsubishi similar in size to the Peugeot on show yesterday costs �33,000.

Some commentators have said buying an electric car is rather like buying a “normal” car and your first five years’ fuel in one go.

n Would you drive an electric car? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail