Saving the planet… for less? 250 electric vehicle charging points launch across Greater Manchester

By Tim Hyde

Commuters in Greater Manchester can now do their bit to save the planet a little easier – as a new electric vehicle charging point scheme launched across the region yesterday.

Electric car owners can charge their vehicles in one of the new 250 charging bays through the Greater Manchester Electric Vehicle (GMEV) scheme launched on Sunday by Transport for Greater Manchester.

The scheme will operate in all ten of Manchester’s boroughs paving the way for a significant increase in low carbon travel, with forecasts suggesting 1.7million electric vehicles to be on the road by 2020.

Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of TfGM committee, said: “Through the GMEV network, we are building a more connected city with greater, greener transport options available for both residents and visitors.”

The GMEV scheme is pivotal in helping Greater Manchester reach its legal targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 34% by 2020.

After significant investment by the government and private investors the GMEV provides an accessible and economical choice of travel for many residents and businesses.

Due to the government encouraging low carbon travel, electric vehicle owners do not have to pay road tax, which will cost only £1.48 over an 80mile journey.

Norman Baker, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, said: “It’s initiatives like the GMEV charging scheme that are bringing to life the Coalition Government’s ambition to put in place a comprehensive and effective national infrastructure.  This will enable ultra low emission drivers to make the journeys that they need to.”

As well as providing the means for economical transport the bays will help cut carbon emissions across Greater Manchester, as road transport represents one of the largest sources of CO2 emissions in the UK. The largest share of this comes from cars.

The rapid charging bays allow users to charge vehicles in three to four hours which is up to three times faster than charging at home.

Richard Guest, of East Didsbury, is now the proud owner of a Nissan Leaf yet was sceptical about the price of electrical vehicles at first.

But after learning you are entitled to a government grant when you lease or buy an electric vehicle, he says his opinion quickly changed.

Richard claims that one of the biggest benefits to owning the vehicle is the savings. His insurance is £500 cheaper, he doesn’t pay any road tax and he claims his fuel savings are around £1500 per year.

Richard said: “I have been surprised at how cynical most people are regarding electric vehicles but then once people actually get in the car for a ride they quickly change their minds about how far the technology has developed.

“My neighbours and work colleagues were amazed at the silence and the power from a standing start with one neighbour simply saying this is the future.”

The charging bays can be accessed when customers register through the TfGM website or access can be gained by registering via a mobile app downloadable from the website.

The number of bays will likely increase as private sector partners such as NCP, Manchester Central, Manchester Metropolitan University, Salford University and the Trafford Centre begin to provide their own charging bays.

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