Electric car trial to tackle carbon emissions

13 January 2009
Smart Car

Aston University and North Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust are piloting an exclusive electric car trial to help cut carbon emissions throughout the region.

The organisations are two of only 60 to have taken delivery of the latest smart ed (electric drive) car, which will be officially launched next year.

The iconic two-seater car, which is simply plugged into any UK mains three pin plug socket, emits zero pollution, travels 70 miles on a single charge, achieves the equivalent of 300 miles to the gallon and has a top speed of 60mph.

Aston University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Julia King, who sits on the Government’s Advisory Committee on Climate Change, will be among senior University staff using the car to attend regional meetings. Similarly, leading support services provider, Amey, which has taken delivery of the smart ed car for the NHS, will see the Mental Health Trust regularly using the vehicle for cross-city journeys.

Prof King, who also led the Government’s ‘King Review’ to examine how alternative transport and fuels could reduce carbon emissions from road transport, said; “I believe electric vehicles and car-share schemes are a fantastic opportunity to reduce congestion, noise and pollution from our streets and the smart ed is leading the way in alternative transport. Electric vehicles are one major way in which we can begin to use advances in current technology to help reduce the UK’s greenhouse emissions. I shall look forward to using the car, which forms part of Aston’s Transport Action plan to promote alternative and environmentally friendly travel.

Dermot Kelly, Managing Director at Mercedes-Benz UK, who officially handed over the vehicles to the organisations involved, said; “The smart ed market trials are an important part of our commitment towards developing sustainable transport solutions across the Mercedes-Benz business. With the planned launch of the new electric drive, smart continue to be a pioneer in the world of environmentally friendly and economical driving and we’re delighted to be working with both Aston University and Amey to realise the future of driving.”

Mel Ewell, Chief Executive Officer of Amey added; “As a major fleet owner and operator for councils and businesses we are always looking for new and innovative ways to minimise our own carbon footprint and help our customers to do the same. This year we are revising our company car policy to include greener options, and the smart ed vehicles has the potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions and running costs.”

To see the Birmingham Mail's video footage of the smart ed car launch, click here


For further information or images please contact:
Alex Earnshaw at Aston University on 0121 204 4549 or email a.earnshaw@aston.ac.uk or

Mo Milton at Nelson Bostock Communications
Tel: 020 7792 7442 Email: mo.milton@nelsonbostock.com

More about the smart ed trial:
A market trial of up to 100 units of the smart ed is currently being run in the UK and is being made available on a lease arrangement to selected corporate customers. The fully electric version of the popular smart fortwo has been developed in conjunction with Zytek Group, and is exempt from Vehicle Exercise Duty and London Congestion Charging.

More about Aston University and Professor Julia King:
Professor Julia King currently sits on the Government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change and is an advocate of alternative transport. In March 2007, she was also appointed by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, to lead the ‘King Review’ which examined the vehicle and fuel technologies that could help reduce carbon emissions from road transport over the next 25 years. For further information on Professor King, log onto; www1.aston.ac.uk/about/julia-king

More about Amey:
A further four smart ed’s will be piloted by Oxford based company Amey, a leading support services provider in the UK, who will be trialling the vehicles in major cities including Oxford, Birmingham and Plymouth.  As a major provider of fleet and logistics services to local and central government and businesses, Amey are involved in the development of a UK wide range of sustainable fleet management practices.

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