BRENTWOOD, England – UK Transport Minister, Norman Baker MP, has opened a new solar-assisted electric vehicle charging facility at the Centre of Engineering and Manufacturing Excellence (CEME) in Dagenham.
CEME is a public-private partnership between Ford and local education providers, offering opportunities to improve skills, education and employment. CEME is located next to Ford Dagenham and handles the majority of the company's training requirements and incorporates the Ford Apprenticeship Programme.
Ford Transit Connect Electric vehicles were the first users of the new facility, known as eTap, installed by Essex-based Use The Sun Ltd.
Users of electric vehicles who visit CEME will now be able to charge their vehicles on site. The driving range of current generation pure electric vehicles is significantly lower than petrol- or diesel-engined vehicles and the wider availability of charging points of this sort provides an opportunity to boost an electric vehicle's range.
The eTap provides a mix of solar and mains electric power to charge up to six electric vehicles. It has 45 solar panels, which provide electricity to a central distribution point where it is routed to the car chargers with excess demand being met through the national grid. Users in general will pay for charging by phone, similar to many car parks, on an hourly basis with the charging stopped after the paid-for period.
The Transit Connect Electric, on sale now, is Ford's first electric vehicle to be made available in Europe. Five electrified Ford vehicles, including a Ford Focus Electric, Ford C-MAX Hybrid and the Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid, will be introduced in Europe and North America by 2013 as part of Ford's electric vehicle programme.