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11th April 2011, 3:36pm
University drives electric vehicle study with City Council
Chris Bingham and car Staff at the City of Lincoln Council will spend two weeks travelling to external meetings in an electric car, thanks to the University of Lincoln’s School of Engineering and Cenex, the UK’s Centre of Excellence for low carbon and fuel cell technology.

The electric Smart Fortwo, which has a range of up to 85 miles and can be recharged from a domestic electricity socket, will be used by City Hall staff. The vehicle is being loaned as part of the government’s Smart Move study into the integration of electric vehicles into fleets, which is being managed by Cenex.

Electric cars are a lot cheaper to run than a conventional petrol car and it is estimated that the City Council could save around £50,000 a year based on current fuel prices, if its staff were able to use electric cars for council business.

According to the University’s Professor of Energy Conversion, Chris Bingham, the initiative shows that far from being the technology of the future, electric cars are the here and now.

Already this year Professor Bingham has been joined by a host of motorists who agreed to have their driving styles assessed whilst driving the electric powered car.

“I find that people are always amazed by how smooth the car feels,” said Professor Bingham. “People’s main concern seems to be about running out of battery power, however, research indicates that most journeys around town and to and from work are less than 15 miles for many people. This vehicle has a range of around 70 miles (nominal) from a single charge but this is dependent on how efficiently the car is driven, so this has been the focus of my recent research.”

Rob Smith, Business Services Team Leader at the City of Lincoln Council, said: “We’re delighted to take part in the Smart Move study and test drive the electric car for two weeks.  This will give our staff an insight into the benefits of driving an electric car and, as an organisation, it will give us an idea of whether or not an electric fleet would be beneficial for the council.”    

Findings from Professor Bingham’s research will contribute to his study into the impact of driver behaviour on charge conservation in all-electric vehicles, a collaborative venture with CENEX.

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