Last month, the West Midlands police department in the UK took delivery of an i-MiEV for official duties. This weekend, the first batch of cars – 25 Mitsubishi i-MiEVs – in a large fleet of electric vehicles entered the area, giving the public a taste of what the police have been enjoying for a while now. The trial fleet includes 110 electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen vehicles in Birmingham and Coventry, with 340 throughout the UK. The UK's Technology Strategy Board is funding the program with £25 million in it's Ultra Low Emission Vehicle Demonstrator Competition. The vehicle breakdown goes like this:
- 40 Smart Eds
- 25 i-MiEVs
- 25 Tata Indica
- 10 hydrogen cars from Microcab
- 5 Land Rover Range_e plug in hybrids
- 5 LTI electric taxis
UPDATE: Added three pictures from the EVCast's Nikki to the gallery.
MITSUBISHI i-MiEV LAUNCHES UK'S LARGEST PUBLIC ELECTRIC CAR TRIAL IN WEST MIDLANDS
The Mitsubishi i-MiEV has today become the first zero emissions fully electric city car to be used on the government funded Technology Strategy Board user trials.
It has a top speed of 81 mph, a range of 100 miles1 and can be trickle charged from flat to full in seven hours at any UK three-pin socket – costing under £1 for a full charge. In addition the i-MiEV can be fast-charged from flat to 80 per cent in just 30 minutes using the quick charger.
Mr Genichiro Nishina, President and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors Europe, said: "Mitsubishi Motors takes an holistic approach to environmental and sustainability issues at every stage of the vehicle's design, production and in-service lifecycle. The i-MiEV is the most prominent element of our basket of environmental solutions, which makes the prospect of ultra-low carbon transport a present-day reality".
Endorsing the programme as an i-MIEV driver in the trials, Quentin Willson, said: "These first EVs that go on the Technology Strategy Board's trial mark the start of a seismic shift in the sort of cars we drive and how we power them.
"The Mitsubishi i-MiEV is a forerunner of a transport revolution that eventually will change the world. At last here's an electric car that doesn't look like a church pew, seats four, does 80 mph and costs less than a quid to charge. What is there not to love?"
This is the first stage of a Government-supported UK-wide project to trial electric and ultra low emission vehicles – and begins in the West Midlands today. The keys to 25 Mitsubishi i-MiEVs (Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle) will be given to independent drivers – including automotive expert Quentin Willson – to test over the next 12 months by the CABLED (Coventry and Birmingham Low Emission Vehicle Demonstrators) consortium in Centenary Square, Birmingham.
The CABLED consortium will manage the project after being confirmed in June as one of eight successful teams in the £25 million Technology Strategy Board Ultra Low Emission Vehicle Demonstrator Competition. The consortium brings together the expertise of 13 West Midlands-based organisations within the engineering, automotive manufacturing, academic, public and infrastructure sectors, and is led by global engineering consultancy Arup.
The project is worth £15 million and will trial 110 vehicles on the roads of Birmingham and Coventry. UK-wide, 340 vehicles are being tested using funding from the Technology Strategy Board. As well as being the largest, CABLED is the first consortium to begin vehicle trials and has recently gained further public backing thanks to £2.5 million funding awarded by Advantage West Midlands (a regional development agency).
Neil Butcher, Arup's project leader of the CABLED consortium said: "Less than 1% of the vehicles registered every year in the UK are electric and most of these are currently used in London. We think that by 2020, low carbon cars will be commercially viable, and it's important that we start to understand the public's reaction and provide the necessary infrastructure to prepare for this.
"Today's launch is a landmark occasion for the UK automotive industry, and this project will begin to examine the points where the vehicles meet the built environment – energy generation, battery charging and driver behaviour. This is an important first step on our roads to a low-carbon future."
Drivers selected for the trials of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and 85 other vehicles were chosen through an application process led by Coventry University. The other five manufacturers that will roll out vehicles in 2010, include:
* Smart ed x 40 electric cars
* Tata Indica x 25 electric car
* Microcab x 10 Hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles
* Land Rover Range_e x 5 plug in hybrid vehicles
* LTI x 5 electric taxis
Martyn Mangan, automotive cluster manager for Advantage West Midlands, said: "The West Midlands is expertly positioned to co-ordinate these trials, as home to the UK's largest regional automotive industry and around 60 per cent of our annual industry research and development is commissioned here.
"CABLED is also a shining example of the West Midlands' advanced capabilities in manufacturing, engineering and infrastructure. It will play a key role in the wider availability of low emission vehicles on the UK roads, and Advantage West Midlands is fully committed to its development."
The consortium also benefits from a firm commitment to developing the necessary infrastructure to co-ordinate the trials from E.ON, Birmingham City Council and Coventry City Council, who will provide electrical charging points for vehicles across the two cities as well as access to the University of Birmingham's hydrogen refuelling station. During the trials, Aston University will be analysing and reporting its conclusions from the data generated by the vehicles.
Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board said: "We created the Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator competition to act as a catalyst for industry, the public sector and academia to collaborate to provide low emission vehicles and solutions to powering them.
"The journey towards low carbon transport will not be easy, but the demonstrator programme is the biggest project of its kind to date and is a major step in the right direction."