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February 2009

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A leading council official will be putting an electric prototype car to the test on Sheffield´┐Żs roads this week and keeping a daily blog of his experiences. The Smart Electric Vehicle (Smart EV) is currently on trial with Sheffield City Council's fleet and will be put through its paces in real world conditions by the Council's Director of Environment and Regulatory Services, Gary McGrogan.

Sheffield Council's Smart EV is one of the first of just 200 cars to be delivered in a UK trial for the introduction of a fully electric version of the popular two-seater Smart car. The Smart EV is powered by a 30kW electric motor, has a top speed of 70mph and is exempt from both Vehicle Excise Duty and congestion charges as it does not produce any harmful emissions that damage the atmosphere.

Makers Mercedes-Benz claim that the electric car is designed to bring a breath of fresh air to the streets and offers nippy in-town performance with 0-30 mph in 6.5 seconds. To put this to the test Gary McGrogan intends to drive the car around Sheffield's hills for ten days from Friday 13th to Monday 23rd February. He will update the Care4Air blog daily to let people know if the vehicle can match up to the performance of a standard petrol or diesel engine car.

Gary McGrogan said: “The Council took delivery of the new electric Smart EV last year and I was glad to be part of the drive for new cleaner and greener technologies in cars. We have been using the car as part of our fleet and decided to set up a blog with Care4Air to feedback information about how good the car is in everyday life.”

“I'll be testing the car for 10 days and will be writing regular updates of my experiences. The car has no exhaust fumes, so no CO2 emissions from the rear. There is no sound at all coming from the engine, no engine oil and no road tax. Hopefully, there will be no problems with it tackling life in the real world too!”

The car has an electric socket concealed behind the usual location of a fuel cap and houses its own chargeable battery on board. This means it can be plugged directly into any UK mains 3-pin plug socket to recharge. The car can travel up to 72 miles between charges, which typically take around 8 hours for a full charge.

Mark Daly, Care4Air Co-ordinator, said: “We hope that this blog will provide a valuable look into how an electric car fares in everyday life. Until the Smart EV becomes a reality for everyone to use, we would encourage people to do their bit by eco-driving to help lower emissions when using their own cars. You can find out more about how to eco-drive and its benefits by visiting our website.”

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