Council tackles climate change with electric cars

Middlesbrough Council marked its commitment to fighting carbon emissions and climate change when it unveiled two emission-free, electric powered smart cars for its transport fleet last week. The council is one of a handful of provincial fleet operators that are running the smart ed (electric drive) cars as part of a trial set up by Mercedes-Benz UK.

The smart ed emits no carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons, particulate matter or any harmful substance. There are no fuel pumps as the smart ed is recharged directly from any UK mains three-pin plug socket. The vehicles are being leased from smart in a four-year deal and running costs will be around £1 for every 50 miles.

One of the smart eds will be used by the council's Area Care service to monitor the cleanliness of streets, shopping areas, open spaces, play areas, parks, industrial estates and car parks around the town. The second smart ed will be a pool car for use on official business by council staff and councillors. The council aim is that more people should see for themselves the benefits of driving around in an emission-free vehicle.

Mayor Ray Mallon said: "Reducing our carbon emissions and doing everything we can to tackle climate change is a high priority for the council. "These two smart eds show that the council is determined to keep up the fight to cut carbon emissions, and to tackle climate change - one of the greatest challenges to the future of our planet."

Dermot Kelly, Managing Director Mercedes-Benz Cars, said: "This market trial is an important part of our commitment to sustainable mobility and we're delighted to have the Middlesbrough Council as one of our partners in the trial."

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