East of England MEP Vicky Ford attended Millbrook Proving Ground, Bedfordshire, earlier today [Tuesday 21 February 2012] to unveil the latest electric vehicle charge points in the Source East electric vehicle charging network. The charging points, supplied by one-stop electric vehicle charging specialist POD Point, include three double-headed posts, one wall unit and one special rapid-charger – the ABB Terra 51.
Millbrook has worked with Source East, managed by EValu8 Transport Innovations – a company set up by the University of Hertfordshire – to purchase and install the charging points. Linking a growing network of facilities across the country, Millbrook's charging posts form part of the East of England's Plugged in Places project. They will be available to the proving ground's customers for vehicle development and validation work, complementing Millbrook's existing electric and hybrid infrastructure and supporting the growth of the alternative propulsion industry within the UK.
Commenting on the visit, Vicky Ford, MEP for the East of England, said: "Electric vehicles are currently being developed using expertise from across the East of England. It is therefore important that we have the structures in place to be able to charge them. It would be a shame if we were unable to utilise and enjoy our bright ideas due to lack of infrastructure. This is why I have supported the Plugged in Places project to build a network of charging points across East Anglia. Millbrook is a world leading automotive test organisation and the site's electric charging facilities, including the rapid charge point, will ensure that the proving ground is at the forefront of electric vehicle testing, continuing to bring global automotive business to the East of England."
Miguel Fragoso, managing director at Millbrook, commented: "It was a privilege to show Vicky around Millbrook and demonstrate our investment in alternative transport infrastructure. Over the course of the next three years, many more vehicle manufacturers will come to market with electric vehicles and it is essential that they are able to stand up to the demands of daily driving. We're committed to supporting the verification and adoption of alternative transport technologies and have worked closely with the Source East and EValu8 teams over the past 18 months to secure Government funding for the installation of 1,200 electric charging points across the East of England."
EValu8 Transport Innovations' managing director Keith Bevis added: "We are working with corporates, local authorities and smaller companies as they consider introducing electric vehicles into their operations. The network of charging points across the East of England will not only benefit the drivers, the environment and the economy but ultimately make the ownership of an electric vehicle an easy and enjoyable experience."
The Source East network will grow to around 1,200 points by March 2013. There are currently points in Norwich, Colchester, Chelmsford and Hemel Hempstead, with live points to follow in Luton and Peterborough. Organisations wanting to get involved in the scheme can access grants of up to seventy five per cent off the cost of the post and installation by working with EValu8.