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The electric car – from a trailblazer to today

1966. A pertinent year, and especially high in the nation’s minds with the draw for next year’s World Cup just complete. But it was not just a year of dubious goals and ultimate glory; it was also a key year for the electric car.

The Enfield 8000, a fully electric vehicle, made its first appearance in that year, borne out of a competition by the United Kingdom Electricity Council. It had a first production run of 100 – but the electric car revolution never took hold in the sixties. As a BBC report suggests, it was an idea a bit before its time.

Fast forward to today, and the Nissan Leaf – a vehicle which passed the 50,000 sales mark this year - is in production in Sunderland. And funnily enough, the North East is also the region that comes out tops in terms of electric vehicles per head.

In the last two years, 1,163 charge points have been installed in this part of the country, making it the largest regional charge network. Perhaps, then, it’s no surprise that people have the confidence to get involved in electric motoring, and recently, we have been encouraging more business fleets in the area to make a move towards electric through our Plugged-in Fleets Initiative.

The Leaf and other models look to have a promising future – so what’s next in terms of the development of electric vehicle technology? Well, it could be the dawn of wireless charging.

A trial by Volvo has shown going cordless to be practical, safe and efficient – all pretty key ingredients for mass industry and consumer appeal. Volvo themselves, whilst producing a hybrid, have yet to get a full electric vehicle into production, but given this interest in pushing forward electric motoring knowledge, it could well be a case of watch this space.

In other transport news, our FuelGood app recently piqued the interest of business TV network CNBC. If you’re not quite ready for electric but do want to make more fuel efficient motoring choices, you’d do well to follow their lead.

Gary Hartley is Energy Saving Trust's expert blogger. He has extensive experience researching and writing on a number of topics, with particular expertise in sustainable energy, policy, literature and sport. As well as providing regular blog content, Gary has also been published in numerous magazines and journals.

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