More electric action, Mercedes urges UK

* UK needs more infrastructure * Paris will have 3000 cars next year * 100 electic Smarts on trial...

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What Car? Staff
30 September 2010

More electric action, Mercedes urges UK

British authorities must do more to accelerate the growth of electric charging infrastructure if they want British drivers to buy electric cars, according to Wilfried Steffen, president and chief executive officer of Mercedes UK.

Speaking on the eve of the Paris motor show, and highlighting a French scheme to have 3000 hireable electric cars on the streets of Paris from next year, Steffan said the UK was lagging behind its European counterparts in putting in place an electric car strategy.

'There has been so much pressure on the car industry to develop these products, and so much investment by the car industry to make them happen, but in the UK there is still not the infrastructure there for anyone to realistically run one,' said Steffen.

Mercedes' Smart offshoot is currently trialling 100 electrically powered Smarts Fortwos in the UK, 60 in the midlands and 40 in London, but Steffen says the company would like to increase its trials, but is hamstrung by the shortage of charging points.

'We would like to bring more cars to the UK, not because we make money from them, quite the opposite in fact, but because we would like to intensify our trials,' he said. 'But the truth is that people cannot use the cars as they would like because there are almost no charging points at present. More must be done.'