Sunderland firm drives forward electric car revolution

Dr Colin Herron (front row, second from left) and the Zero Carbon Futures team.
Dr Colin Herron (front row, second from left) and the Zero Carbon Futures team.
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A SUNDERLAND company is helping some of the world’s biggest car firms with a major project to drive forward the green motoring revolution.

Zero Carbon Futures has teamed up with Newcastle University to deliver the Rapid Charge Network project, launched this month, which will see the installation of rapid chargers for electric vehicles throughout the UK and Ireland.

A total of 74 rapid chargers will be installed, covering more than 1,100kms of major trunk routes and providing links to five seaports and five international airports.

The network will build on what has already been achieved in the North East, which has the UK’s first regional network of charge points.

Funding for the Rapid Charge Network (RCN) project is being led by Nissan and is co‑financed by the European Union through the TEN-T programme, with further contributions from Renault, BMW and Volkswagen and ESB.

Dr Colin Herron, Managing Director of Zero Carbon Futures, said: “This is a significant project to the UK, which will support the development of a national network of rapid charge points giving drivers additional confidence that electric vehicles are a viable option.

“It is testament to the expertise that has been developed in this area by both Newcastle University and Zero Carbon Futures that we have been chosen as partners by the vehicle manufacturers involved.”

Zero Carbon Futures will be using its expertise gained by the development of the region’s Charge Your Car network, which has installed more than 700 public charge points and 12 rapid charge points into the North East.

A Newcastle University research team will be responsible for a study of the impact of the project on drivers, analysing driving data and charging patterns to help shape future investment.

“This project could be the game changer that encourages more manufacturers to develop EVs and more of us to make the switch to electric cars,” said Phil Blythe, Professor of Transport at Newcastle University and academic lead on the project.

“This will take drivers beyond the urban boundaries, addressing one of the main barriers to electric transport, which is distance.

“With rapid charging networks, EVs become a serious contender as a future mode of transport and our research will inform how best these networks can be implemented across Europe.”