Nick Clegg visited a Sheffield couple to make a point about the future of cars.
He called to see Simon and Mel Kingsley who are taking advantage of a new scheme that offers electric car charging ports in homes for free.
The couple, who live in Chorley Avenue, are looking to swap their two traditional cars for a plug-in hybrid car that could be charged from the 16 solar panels on their roof.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Hallam MP visited them along with representatives of Sheffield company Homeco Energy, which is installing the charging ports. The project is funded by a government grant from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles.
Residents can have a fully installed home charging unit, whether or not they currently own an electric or hybrid car.
Mr Clegg MP is urging drivers to follow the Kingsleys’ example. “There are huge advantages to using an electric or hybrid car. These ultra low emission vehicles not only help our environment, they also help put money back in people’s pockets as they are incredibly cheap to run.
“What’s more, electric cars are one of the most promising of our green industries and we want to secure the UK’s position as a global leader in both the production and adoption of these vehicles. This means we can lower UK emissions and create high-tech engineering and manufacturing jobs to boost our economy.”
Mr Kingsley, aged 64, an electronics engineer, said: “Our next car is going to be a plug-in car. It’s time for a change.”
The hybrid version typically allows the car to run for about 30 miles on the battery before the engine starts, he said, and typical journeys are around seven miles.
The Government scheme was a timely initiative, added Mr Kingsley, whose wife, aged 67, is a retired language teacher.
After the introduction of cheaper solar panels and electric cars with much better batteries, the charging infrastructure was now being improved.
“We have got to have electric cars. We can’t carry on using petrol forever.”
Homeco Energy director Chris Neil said: “ More and more car manufacturers are developing electric cars as they see the potential growth in the industry. We hope to add to this growth locally by making our car charging units so easy to access.”
Visit www.homecarcharger.co.uk; tel 2935019.