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Demand for electric cars in Cumbria set to surge

DEMAND for electric cars in Cumbria is expected to grow strongly in 2014 as the number of charging points increases.
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Power to the people: Suzanne and Raymond Burgess from Solway Renewables Energy in Cumbria

Solway Renewables, based at Bowness-on-Solway near Carlisle, secured government funding last year to install a network of charging points, known as PodPoints.

The first went in at Wallsend B&B, at Bowness-on-Solway, in July.

There are now 70, mostly in private homes, B&Bs and hotels.

A step change will come if Cumbria County Council succeeds with a plan to install rapid-charging points in Carlisle, Penrith, Keswick, Cockermouth, Workington, Whitehaven, Kendal and Barrow.

These would be available to the general public and recharge an electric car in 30 minutes.

The council has applied for funding from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and is waiting for confirmation.

Suzanne Burgess, a director of Solway Renewables, said: “Things are looking really positive for 2014.

“We would have installed 100 PodPoints by now but the manufacturer had difficulty getting supply through because demand is so great.”

Typically, electric cars have a range of 80 to 100 miles between charges. Mrs Burgess believes that the wider availability of public charging points will give motorists confidence to buy them.

She said: “They are not viable for everybody but they are for a lot of people. At least half of motorists in Cumbria could drive electric vehicles.”

The council is planning to replace its pool cars with electric vehicles because they are cheaper to run.

It costs only £3 to £5 to travel 130 miles and the cars are exempt from vehicle excise duty.
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