A plan to create a network of charging points for electric vehicles is unveiled
Nine cities and towns in the UK are to have charging points for electric and hybrid fuelled vehicles under an £11m development plan.
Birmingham, Coventry, Glasgow, London, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Newcastle and Sunderland will be the first to benefit from the scheme.
The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) is behind the development of the plan.
It will eventually go national with the aim of creating a compatible network of recharging points, a spokesman said.
The new plug-in facilities and the attitudes of users to the network will be monitored to assess location of sites and costs of charging.
A number of trials are already under way across the UK with the largest involving 340 vehicles some of which are totally powered by electricity and others with carbon fuel engines charging on-board batteries.
Most journeys in cities and larger towns are about 40 miles on average and the government believes electric cars are ideal.
The aim is to have 50,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2015 but present technology limits even the most advanced units to 150 miles from a two-hour electric charge.
The aim of ETI is to develop a self-sustaining market through offering incentives to drivers.
Developing mass market
Their scheme is called the Joined-Cities Plan and was unveiled at Low Carbon Vehicle Show at the Millbrook vehicle testing ground in Bedfordshire.
ETI chief executive David Clarke said: "Enabling plug-in vehicles to compete effectively in a market alongside petrol and diesel vehicles with their extensive infrastructure is a challenge.
"These plug-in vehicles are currently unknown to most consumers, who will want to know if they will be versatile, will they be affordable and will they be as easy to refuel/recharge.
"Through the Joined-Cities Plan we will help to enhance the versatility and ease of recharging.
"Other aspects of the ETI project will determine what it will take to reach a self-sustaining mass market."
London mayor Boris Johnson, who was at the show, said: "Moving to using electric vehicles which emit zero pollution will have a major impact on cutting carbon emissions, improving air quality and reducing noise pollution.
"I want to make it much easier to go electric which is why in London we are planning to roll out 25,000 charging points.
"So I'm delighted that the capital is part of the joined cities network helping to speed up the electric revolution across the country."