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A fresh perspective

With rising fuel costs and the environmental impacts of travel becoming key issues for motorists, motor manufacturers have been investing heavily in the development of environmentally friendly electric vehicles.

The Source West electric vehicle infrastructure project is leading the way in developing a network of resources to support drivers who are switching to electric vehicles, through the provision of technology led initiatives. Source West is a partnership between Bath and North East Somerset Council, Bristol City Council, Gloucestershire County Council and South Gloucestershire Council. This includes the installation of vehicle charging points across the region, which is also part of a national network of points across the UK enabling drivers of electric vehicles to travel and charge them nationwide. This enables commuters to the city centres to charge their car for free whilst they are at work. Businesses across the region are also being helped to install electric charge points for use by their staff and visitors. Bristol City Council is also the UK pilot of the European Commission funded ICT for Electric Vehicle Enhancing the User Experience (ICT4EVEU) project. This project is looking at innovative uses of ICT to benefit electric vehicle commuters. Other partner pilot cities are in Slovenia and Spain. Being at the forefront of such sustainable travel initiatives is truly fitting for Bristol as the newly awarded European Green Capital 2015, and Mayor George Ferguson provides an exemplary role model as a ’green driver’.

You can find a wealth of information about “greener driving” at www. sourcewest.info the website that has been specifically developed to promote the initiatives, and which includes an electric vehicle comparison tool, and maps of charging points across the region and UK wide. Electric vehicle drivers can become members of the Source West network by applying online; and membership benefits include access to an interactive charge point website and an iPhone or Android smartphone app. There are 200 free memberships up for grabs to the first electric vehicle drivers to sign up. This will enable the driver to access any of the publically accessible South West charge points for free until 2015 (although car parking charges may still apply in certain locations.)

Source West has also recently secured central government funding for rapid charge points which can fully charge a compatible vehicle in only 20 – 30 minutes. Rapid chargers offer drivers a viable option for long distance journey. They will be based at various strategic locations including close to both the M4 & M5 motorways, providing linkage journeys to London and South Wales, and Devon and the Midlands.

Electric vehicles are not only available with four wheels,if you prefer two wheels to get around there are both electric motorcycles and bicycles, so you can choose a version that best suits your pace of life. If you fancy trying cycling with a bit of va va voom, and live in Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset or South Gloucestershire council areas you could try one of our electric loan bikes before you buy. For a small deposit you will be provided with everything you need to get going.

For more information contact the TravelWest road show team at travelroadshow@westofengland.org or tel: 0117 352 1105

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