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UK: Are electric cars about to take off?

Last year, riding high on a promise to be the greenest government ever, the UK department of transport hailed 2011 as the “year of the electric car”. Subsidies were offered and councils were told to plan for an electric future. The long-promised revolution in the way we drive was finally here, it seemed.

British drivers had other ideas. The notion that electric vehicles are slow, impractical and even unsafe persisted, and only 1000 were sold.

But now there is a spark of hope.

On Tuesday more than 60 charging points went live in Oxford, making the city the “electric vehicle capital of Europe” with one charging point for every 2400 people – the best ratio in Europe.

The company behind the new network, Chargemaster, hopes that Oxford will set the pace for other cities preparing for a new generation of electric and hybrid cars coming on the market in the next two years. British cities dominate the top 10 list of electric-friendly locations. London has 654 charging points, the most in Europe.

David Martell, chief executive of Chargemaster, said: “Not only do electric vehicles have obvious environmental benefits, they also make the most financial sense.”


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