The UK’s first multi-brand, electric vehicle showroom has opened in central Milton Keynes, with the ambitious aim of trebling the national take-up of EVs and plug-ins in the local area over the next five years.
The showroom, operated by Chargemaster as part of the Milton Keynes’ £9m Go Ultra Low City programme, won’t sell cars directly, and its 11 EV “gurus” are not salesman. They concentrate instead on educating people about the capabilities and advantages of electric vehicles and on showing them a selection of the latest EVs from VW, BMW, Kia, Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi, Chargemaster’s partners in the venture.
Q&A, David Martell, chief executive, Chargemaster
Will you be looking to attract visitors who are serious about electric cars?
Not necessarily. We’d like to talk to people who are simply curious about them, and want to reach the truth for themselves. We can help with all kinds of facts and figures, impartially delivered because we’re not selling anything. Or we can take people on a familiarization drive.
How does Chargemaster gain from such an apparently philanthropic exercise?
We’re convinced electric cars will play a vital part in future motoring. If that happens, as the country’s leading provider of charging points we’ll benefit. In the meantime, we’re aware of a lack of general knowledge about electric cars and we want to help address that.
When the number of EVs sold is still so small, how can you be confident about their future?
Three things: they’re a great answer to some of the difficult problems we’re facing, the population of EVs is increasing fast (5000 to 100,000 in five years) and the best models are easy to own yet great to drive. Latest forecasts say EV sales will reach 150,000 a year by 2020.
Read more: Autocar