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Mini calls for Government help to speed-up electric trials

Date: 26 March 2009

Mini is calling on the Government to build an electric charging-point network to aid trials of electric cars ahead of a full launch.

The brand is currently conducting trials of its Mini-e in America and Germany, but any attempt to do the same in the UK would need more help from the authorities, according to Mini UK managing director Andy Hearn.

"We need an infrastructure where we can make sure the cars are evaluated," said Hearn. at the moment, the company has a project team in place to see how best to implement a trial, with cars potentially in the UK in early 2010 if everything goes smoothly.

"The UK project will start to get traction over the next six months or so," he said. "We've got to appraise to evaluate how it would work in the UK."

Trials would certainly take place in London, where there is a degree of charging infrastructure, with other cities including Birmingham also being evaluated.

The company is looking to work with sponsors and energy companies, and Hearn said Mini has some companies lined-up, although nothing will be revealed until they have confirmed.

The way the trials will work is still being ironed out, but fleets are almost certain to form an important part of it, even though the Amercian trials have centred on private volunteers. Hearn admitted there had already been interest from local authorities.