The Automobile Association has joined an international consortium to support the development of a world-class electric vehicle infrastructure in the North East of England.
The AA joins Tesco, British Gas, CE Electric, and Capital Shopping Centres together with the Regional Development Agency One North East as it aims to place the region at the forefront of global electric vehicle development.
The group will provide high-profile locations for charging points, along with vision and technical advice and vital promotional work and leadership for the North East, as the region moves towards a low-carbon economy.
It is intended that this strategic approach will help the region show the world how to roll out electric vehicle infrastructure.
One North East will install 750 charging points over the course of 2010 and 2011 to provide future electric vehicle owners with the comfort that infrastructure exists in the region to charge them. The first 40 of these are already being installed in Newcastle and Gateshead.
Today's announcement follows the North East being named as one of the UK Government's Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator areas. The £10.7million project will see an initial 35 new electric passenger vehicles developed in the North East, including 15 Nissan cars, 10 Smith electric taxis, five Smith people carriers, a Smith executive minibus, two AVID saloon cars and two Liberty urban Range Rovers.
The development of electric vehicles alongside a network of charging points is part of One North East's £30m plan to base the car industry of the future in the North East, harnessing the region's global fame for engineering and manufacturing, and its developing renewable energy sector. Tesco will be supporting the project by installing electric car charging points at selected supermarket locations in the region.
Edmund King, AA president, said: "The North East is already planning for a low carbon future and the AA is supporting that vision. The North East electric car strategy has the potential to spark a personal transport revolution in UK cities.
"For the vision to work we need infrastructure, incentives, clean electricity and affordable, practical vehicles. Drivers want change. In a recent AA/Populus survey of 15,000 members 62% said they would consider buying a more environmentally friendly car. The AA will be working with Newcastle University and ONE NE to help this amazing vision become a reality."