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Communities invited to test impact of electric cars on national grid by driving a Nissan Leaf

6:00am Thursday 27th June 2013 in News By Joe Willis. Regional Chief Reporter

TEST DRIVE: Communities have been invited to test the Nissan Leaf.

ENVIRONMENTALLY conscious communities in the region are being invited to test the impact of electric vehicles on the national grid by trialling a Nissan Leaf car.

The pioneering My Electric Avenue project is seeking clusters of at least ten households in the North-East and North Yorkshire willing to use an electric car for 18 months.

Participants will receive an all-electric Nissan Leaf five-door family hatchback at an subsidised monthly rental of £100.

Organisers say they will benefit from up to 85 per cent savings on monthly fuel bills with the vehicles able to travel 80 to 100 miles for just £2 to £3.

The £9m project is part of Ofgem’s Low Carbon Networks Fund programme, which supports projects sponsored by network providers to explore innovative technology.

It is hosted by Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution and led by EA Technology, with the support of partners including Nissan, Northern Powergrid and North-East-based consultancy Zero Carbon Futures.

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The scheme is the first of its kind in the UK.

Lois Warne, technical advisor at Zero Carbon Futures and a project manager for My Electric Avenue, said the trial offered a unique opportunity for communities to test drive an electric vehicle and to experience the benefits they provide.

She said: “The North-East has already made significant strides in the transition to electric vehicles, so it’s great news that communities in this region are being given the opportunity to take part in the My Electric Avenue electric car trials.

“It is essential that we are prepared for when electric cars become commonplace in years to come and the technology that is being trialled through the project will monitor and control the electricity demand from charging electric cars and, in the long-term, will save expensive and potentially disruptive work being carried out to upgrade the electricity network.”

Andrew Spencer, project manager for Northern Powergrid, added: “This project will allow us to test the ability of a unique device that can schedule the charging of electric vehicles by smoothing out the load across the evening.”

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