Staff drive green miles free

Paul Newman, Hartlepool's station director pictured test driving the electic car.
Paul Newman, Hartlepool's station director pictured test driving the electic car.

POWER station staff are going the green mile as they enjoy an opportunity to drive an electric car.

Colleagues at Hartlepool Power Station are doing their bit for the environment as they each get a two-week stint at driving the Peugeot iOn for free.

The car, which is on a six-month trial, can be charged with low carbon power direct from the station from a new connection point.

Only members of staff who commute around 20 miles were given the chance to use the car, which has a range of 93 miles.

The employees can even use it away from work and it will then be charged back at the new point at the station during the working day - taking about seven hours.

Plans for quick charge points, which give an 80 per cent charge in just 30 minutes, are to be launched across the region and drivers can also download maps showing the nearest charging point from their smartphones.

Wayne Johnson, sustainability lead at the Tees Road-based plant, said the opportunity for members of staff to drive the car proved very popular.

He said: “The interest on site has been amazing, we offered people a chance to use the car and had 50 volunteers in under an hour.

“And having driven the iOn I can only say how remarkably unremarkable it is as it drives and performs just like any other car.

“But for the next few years it will be free to ‘fill up’.”

Mr Johnson added: “The station is part of the Charge Your Car scheme set up by North East England in 2010 and the plan is to have 1,300 charging points across the region by 2013.

“On today’s electricity prices it will cost around £2.40 to fully recharge a car which can then travel 93 miles.

“The cost could be even lower if the iOn is recharged off-peak and overnight.

“The charging scheme is free until 2013, with the data gathered from electric car owners being used to better understand their travelling habits and needs which in turn will make the systems more user-friendly.

“At Hartlepool Power Station, within EDF Energy, we are exploring providing local authorities electricity for free for two more charging points to help the scheme develop as the interest in electric vehicles is there and will only grow.”