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Royal Borough residents given the chance to trial electric cars

George Roberts

Electric cars will be made available for Royal Borough residents to borrow for free as new electric vehicle infrastructure is introduced to the area.

At a launch event in Alma Road yesterday (Thursday), the council announced its plans for electric vehicles (EVs).

As part of the launch, Royal Borough residents will be able to borrow EVs for up to six months for free to give them a chance to see what they are like.

A limited number of residents will be able to choose between trialling ‘supermini’ and ‘family-sized’ cars.

Connected Kerb, which has launched the trial in partnership with the Royal Borough, has also installed five ‘drive-up’ vehicle charging points in Alma Road, which will be free to use provisionally. They hope to eventually build up a network across the borough.

The charging points will be integrated into signposts, bollards and kerb-level ‘armadillo’ units.

Council leader Cllr Simon Dudley (Con, Riverside), who drives an EV, said: “These guys have a really interesting product, it helps us develop our thinking on what’s the right thing to roll out across the whole borough.

“The biggest challenge is charging. If a car goes flat, it’s useless. You cannot go and get a can of petrol. It’s the whole idea about range anxiety and making sure that you're charged.”

Cllr Dudley added that over the next few years the council intends to build EV infrastructure across the borough.

He said: “Everyone should have access to EV charging. It’s the future. Everyone should be part of the future, no black spots.”

Drivers aged 25-65 who have held a UK driving licence for three years can register their interest in the trial by emailing beth.stavert@connectedkerb.co.uk

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