Residents to get subsidised electric cars as part of trial

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Eight city residents are set to get a Nissan Leaf electric car and controllable at-home charging points as part of a Thinking Energy trial.

The trial, run by E.ON and Milton Keynes Council to develop ways to manage energy use in the home.

The latest part of the trial will see developers look to understand more about when and how electric cars are charged by their owners, and to what extent solar panels and batteries can help reduce the need for electricity from the grid – ultimately make driving electric cars extremely economical or even potentially free in the longer term.

Chris Rimmer, Programme Manager for E.ON’s Thinking Energy project, said: “Our Thinking Energy trial has been a tremendous success so far and we’ve learned a great deal from our participants. By delving into the detail of exactly how different people use energy in their daily lives, we’re already understanding more about how we can best meet future energy needs.

“We’re delighted to be able to extend this beyond the home and into the area of transportation. Electric cars are still a relatively new technology and we believe there’s still a lot we can learn about how they’ll fit with the homes of the future. Exactly when will people want to charge their electric cars? How do we power them from renewable sources? How do we make them as cost effective as possible to run? Can we really make driving electric cars free? These are all questions we’ll be looking to answer and we’re delighted our participants are happy to help us do just that.”

Andrew Geary, Milton Keynes Council Leader, said: “Milton Keynes is a clean, green borough with widely recognised Smart City credentials and we’re still very much at the forefront when it comes to new innovations to reduce the carbon footprint.

“I was very pleased last year to join a team of local luminaries representing Milton Keynes at the first ever annual flagship event of the EU-China Urbanisation Partnership, held in Brussels, looking at the way forward. We were invited to address the conference because of the growing reputation of Milton Keynes as a pioneer in the field of sustainable low carbon development and this latest development from E.ON can only enhance that reputation.”

In total, 75 local homes are participating in the three-year trial and have had ‘smart home’ technology installed in their homes. This technology includes Home Energy Management Systems which monitor electricity and gas consumption by using smart meters, and smart plugs which monitor and control the use of individual appliances such as TVs, PCs, washing machines and fridges. They have also had smart heating controls installed giving them precise and remote control of their heating.