Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Zero Emissions Drive

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Zero Emissions Drive

Article excerpt

ELECTRIC cars are whizzing around Gateshead as part of a green driving revolution. Gateshead Council staff are using the eco-friendly electric, hybrid and low emissions vehicles for tasks including maintaining Saltwell Park, site visits for new building developments and providing transport for vulnerable people.

And the council is also making sure residents and businesses in the borough can follow in its footsteps.

The first two fully electric-powered cars to join the council's fleet are the latest arrivals.

Charged from Britain's first publicly accessible solar-powered charging point at Gateshead Civic Centre, one of the vehicles is for the use of planning, conservation and trading standards officers, amongst others.

The other is used by staff who look after parks, gardens, play areas and cemeteries. A zero-emissions option for site visits, the five-door, five-seat cars have replaced the need for staff to use petrol or diesel models on site visits.

In total, 16 electric or hybrid vehicles are either already in use or on order to cement Gateshead Council's position at the forefront of environmentally conscious fleets.

They include four Ashwoods hybrid vans based on the Ford Transit which are already in use on duties including delivering school meals, assisting with the cleaning of buildings and helping with roadside recoveries right across Gateshead and beyond.

The hybrids are due to be joined soon by 10 fully electric Smith Electric Vehicles Edison vans, again based on the Transit which will help to keep the borough's parks, gardens and public places spick and span amongst other roles.

Low-emission technology is also being used in the fleet of vehicles which help transport vulnerable adults and children. The latest additions to the fleet use stop- start technology, automatically switching engines off when standing at traffic lights for example, and back on to get under way again. …

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