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More drivers joining the electric vehicle revolution

By Pete Madeley | Transport | Published:

The number of electric cars on the roads of the Black Country and Staffordshire has shot up over the course of a year, new figures have revealed.

Department for Transport data shows an increase of more than 40 per cent in electric vehicle use across both regions, which campaigners say proves that drivers are backing the "green revolution".

However, the figures also show that plug-in vehicles make up a tiny fraction of the total cars on our roads – just 0.2 per cent of 942,000 registered cars.

From July 2018 to September 2018 there were 1,142 registered electric or plug-in hybrid cars, vans and micro cars called quadricycles in the Black Country – up 41 per cent on the same period the previous year.

In Staffordshire the number rose 43 per cent to 1,443. Back in 2013 both regions had just 192 electric vehicles, 112 of which were registered in Staffordshire.

The West Midlands is at the forefront of electric vehicle technology, with Jaguar Land Rover a key player in the development of low emissions vehicles.

And the region's Mayor, Andy Street, sees the shift towards electric vehicles as a key element of a "clean air revolution" in the West Midlands.

Commenting on the latest figures, Mr Street said: “Making travel greener is not only something we need to do for the environment and the health of citizens here in the West Midlands, it’s an opportunity for our region to lead the world, given our heritage and expertise in automotive.

“It’s important to remember that modern diesel engines – some of which are designed and made her in the West Midlands – are among the cleanest and greenest on our roads.

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“But over the coming years, moving towards battery-powered and indeed driverless vehicles will be the natural shift of the market and this is something we need to prepare for.

"Indeed, we are already. The West Midlands successfully won more than £100m from Government for a national centre for development of batteries for transport which will help to accelerate this technology and establish us at the heart of this new industry.

“It’s encouraging to see the numbers going in the right direction in the West Midlands, but there will need to be a significant shift in the infrastructure to make battery vehicles more prevalent on our roads and there is an important role for Government to play in this.”

Over the past few years manufacturers have increased the range of their vehicles, and prices have lowered, helping fuel the rise in environmentally friendly vehicles.

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The latest Nissan Leaf, the UK's most popular entirely electric car, can now travel 235 miles before it needs to be recharged, 80 miles more than the previous version.

Over the next year BP will install charging points at its petrol stations, following Shell's roll out in 2017. Dyson has also said it plans to release an electric car by 2020.

One advantage electric car users have over other vehicles is that they do not have to pay road tax, as they do not release any emissions.

Electricity is also far cheaper than petrol and diesel, and green drivers have the satisfaction of helping save the planet.

However, in November, the Government reduced the maximum discount electric car buyers could get from £4,500 to £3,500.

Currently, the UK is committed to cutting emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 – a target MPs including Labour's Eleanor Smith and Jeremy Lefroy for the Tories want to see reduced to zero.

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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