Look out for more electric cars on the streets of Sunderland

More Nissan Leafs will be on Wearside's roads.
More Nissan Leafs will be on Wearside's roads.
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MORE electric cars will be motoring around Wearside as the second round of trials gets under way.

The North East trial, which involves a mixture of 44 Nissan Leafs and Peugeot iOns, is one of the biggest in the UK.

The pilot aims to discover how electric cars are used, the infrastructure needed to support them and what incentives are needed to encourage people to use them.

A fresh push is being carried out in bid to get more people interested after the number of people snapping up a £5,000 Government grant to buy an electric car fell from 465 at the start of the year to 106 in July.

More than 140 businesses, organisations and individuals across the region will lease an electric vehicle as part of the feasibility study involved in the second phase of the three-year trial.

These include Durham University, local authorities and the Port of Tyne, which has just taken a delivery of a new Nissan Leaf.

Once manufacturing of the Leaf starts at the Washington plant in 2013, the Port of Tyne will be responsible for shipping it across the world.

James Wright, Port of Tyne environmental officer, said: “It seemed very appropriate that our staff should take part in the Switch EV trial, particularly using the Nissan Leaf, as it will not be long now before we are seeing them exported all over the world from our site.”

The port is leasing the Leaf for six months while staff from across the region will be road-testing it for three weeks at a time.

There are 28.5 million cars on the UK’s roads, with just over 1,100 of them electric.

Nissan is investing £420million in a battery plant and production line at Sunderland, where the Leaf will be produced from 2013.

Organisations interested in taking part in the trial can email lois.warne@onenortheast.co.uk

Twitter: @sunechochief