Head of Agency Paul Williams said critics of the programme – which aims to provide a network of 200 plus charging points in and around Bristol – had failed to factor in future demand.
“For once, Bristol is ensuring the infrastructure is there to serve future usage levels rather than trying to identify locations once green travel has really taken off.
“Although we have not always seen eye to eye with Bristol’s Mayor on traffic and particularly parking issues, this is one occasion when we believe the city is getting it right. We must have the carrot before the stick.”
He went on: “Demand for electric car charging points may not be sky high at the moment, but it will increase over time as more motorists switch over to electric or hybrid vehicles. As a nation we are some way behind other countries in this regard; in Estonia for example there are fast public charging points on main roads an average of only 37 miles apart.
“An established and recognisable infrastructure is vital to the development of the hybrid market – as without a widespread and accessible network of charging points motorists will remain reluctant to commit to greener vehicles.”
Bruton Knowles has invested heavily in hybrids, with several West Country offices now operating Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs.
Paul Williams said: “We are determined to support the campaign to establish Bristol’s credentials as European Green Capital and road tested the Outlander PHEV – admittedly a few months before the charging point network was fully functioning.
“We were astonished how efficient the Outlander was on short range journeys around Bristol where the electric motor takes.
“From the point of view of a company driver they are also very tax efficient – the PHEV has emissions of just 44g/km which translates to a benefit in kind tax rate of just 5 per cent, much cheaper than comparable petrol or diesel vehicles.
“Fuel consumption ranged from 85/95 mpg around town to 40/50mpg on motorway journeys and you do not have any congestion charges. Plug-in cars are here to stay and the mayor’s clear commitment to the programme could help to persuade many more motorists to consider a switch.”
But fuel consumption is only part of the story; Bristol also has issues with air quality, partly due to its geography, and electric or hybrid vehicles can really play a part in cleaning up the air in cities, with obvious benefits to public health and well-being.
Paul Williams concluded: “Critics have labelled the electric car charging point programme as another one of George Ferguson’s vanity projects but we believe this scheme is essential if electric cars are to become a regular sight on city streets, and we applaud his vision in driving such measures through.”