SWINDON businesses are helping to lead the charge for electric vehicles as part of the borough’s bid to cut its carbon emissions.

The council gathered experts from around the town to show Orbital shoppers the benefits of making the switch from petrol to plug-in power and try test drives.

The discovery day aimed to clear up any confusion about these eco-friendly ways to get from A to B.

JustEVs and Simpson’s Subaru joined business partners Cleevely EV with a display of Volkswagens, MGs, Vauxhalls and other supercharged vehicles. E-Motion on Cricklade Road brought pedal bikes while West Swindon’s J&M Electrobikes brought motorcycles along.

Shaun Denman from JustEVs said: "The fuel crisis caused an increased level of interest in electric vehicles. It's been nice to drive past the petrol queues to a charging point.

"These cars are much cheaper to run, they do hundreds of miles before needing to recharge, and they're lower maintenance.

"We just need to educate the public to help give them confidence that they can do their usual daily journeys easily with an electric car, it's just a bit of a different thought process.

"It's a superior vehicle in a market which is going to grow quite quickly."

Simpson's Subaru sales manager Steve Fairclough has been in the motoring business for more than 20 years - the company itself has been in Swindon for 50 - and supplied the cars for JustEVs to sell.

He said: "It's not space-age, it's not too different, it's a car that drives exactly as you'd expect, but you'll never go back to petrol once you try one of these

"There's a misconception that they can be slow but there's a more instant response and it's faster than petrol.

"Swindon is somewhere people will travel to because it's an hour away from many big cities, so it's well-placed to take advantage of this new technology."

Coun Keith Williams is the cabinet member for climate change. He said: “There's a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about electric cars so this was a golden opportunity to dispel those myths, let people ask questions, speak to owners and see for themselves.

"They're not all Nissan Leafs and Teslas, there is a wide range of vehicles that can suit everyone.

"We wanted to give people the right information, whether they're considering buying one now or in the future when these become cheaper and make their way to the used car market.

"The power is generated from renewable sources, the infrastructure for charging points is good in Swindon, and home-charging is very common here."

The next event will be held at Lydiard Park on October 23.


THE biggest difference is the peace and quiet - that’s immediately clear.

Starting the engine is done with the soundless push of a button and other than a low hum, there is no indication that the journey is causing the car any effort at all, let alone that it’s going 60mph or just received a quick burst of speed to merge onto the A419.

This absence of noise became particularly obvious when I drove back to the office in my petrol-guzzling manual-gearbox VW, whose revving engine suddenly seemed intimidatingly loud.

Other than the zippy speed and relaxing silence, the most notable thing about electric cars is how they are almost exactly like the cars we’re used to driving.

The change of power supply has inspired manufacturers to get a little creative with how they design the gadgets and gizmos, but the inside of the MG Five still looked like the usual luxury four-seater and the outside looked like a ‘normal’ car.

This futuristic tech has been packaged into something which seems reassuringly-familiar and should not pose any hurdles for people wary of making the switch.

I would have got behind the wheel myself, rather than look on as a passenger, but I hadn't driven an automatic before and it would not have been wise for my first go to be on Thamesdown Drive...