The future’s bright, the future’s electric

A major event is planned that will strengthen Milton Keynes’ position as a leading player within UK discussions on electric vehicles (EV), supporting infrastructure, services and leisure, thanks to a new partnership between Milton Keynes Council and Electrica.Live, an organisation created to instigate debate around what the EV future looks like and how to achieve it.

A key focus of the event, which will be held annually and encompass Milton Keynes, the wider region and into the South East Midlands, is for businesses involved in the future of electric transportation to engage directly with consumers as well as local authority leaders, thereby helping Milton Keynes build on its Go Ultra Low City status which it was granted in 2016 following its Plugged-In Places selection in 2010. 

The event will encompass four key components: a Roadshow and School Outreach Programme that will travel through the region; Conference and Seminars allowing experts in their field to educate and engage on the potential an EV future possesses and how we get there; EV Performance Trial and Tour of Buckinghamshire and South East Midlands to test the latest EVs in real world conditions and demonstrate to the public the range, accessibility and reliability of the product; an Exhibition and Show highlighting the latest automotive products as well as the impact that electric power will have on our lifestyle and education.

Milton Keynes already has an envious reputation within the UK for leading the charge towards an electric future, which last year saw the UK’s largest universal rapid charging hub for EVs open, designed and constructed as part of its Go Ultra Low City programme. It is now aiming for 23% of all new vehicles sold to be electric or plug-in vehicles by 2022 as well as to increase charge point infrastructure and to promote innovative zero emission solutions. 

The event will explore all aspects of EV mobility and focus will also be given to bikes and scooters, taxis, buses and fleets of vehicles, last-mile delivery, and the aviation and marine sectors.

Commenting on the new partnership and proposed event, Brian Matthews, Head of Transport innovation at Milton Keynes Council, said: “We are very excited by the potential that exists within this event and how it strengthens our commitment to pushing forward with innovative transport solutions.  

“We want to ensure Milton Keynes, as part of its Go Ultra Low City status, continues to be at the heart of technological advance, and our mobility strategy which takes us up to 2036, makes very clear our commitment to promoting sustainable travel across all transport types and continued investment in ultra-low emission vehicles and associated charging infrastructure.

“We are looking forward to working closely with Electrica.Live as the event will help reinforce our position as totally committed to helping shape the low-carbon future.” 

The planned event will not only include the latest EV technology, but importantly, with partners who are experts in their field, discuss what the electric future looks like and the barriers that need to be overcome to get there.

Discussions will include:

- what needs to happen in terms of green energy production to meet the new EV demands

- infrastructure development and what needs to change to incorporate roadside fast charging, street charging and workplace and retail park charging

- town and city planning; exploring expanded and integrated cycle lanes for e-commuting as well as home charging

- how municipal authorities will be embarking on new clean energy solutions to the daily service industries that the public relies upon

- how commuting and travel will be transformed the exciting world of e-leisure and the life-style changes and opportunities that it brings

- the growth of e-motorsports from two wheels to four, from scooter racing to drone racing

- the rapid growth potential of the marine and aeronautical/aerospace sectors 

Commenting on the opportunity, Chris Bibb, Electrica.Live Director said: “By working with Brian and his team at MKC, our aim is to provide a platform to inform the public, business leaders and politicians on what the EV future looks like. Milton Keynes is integral to this future.

“Together we hope to accelerate the electric future by analysing and discussing the barriers that need to be overcome, what changes need to be made within society to reach our goals and how we change perceptions. It is crucial the public is included and brought along with this debate, as its understanding and confidence in all things EV is crucial if the exciting future is to be achieved.

“Over the coming months and years, Electrica.Live will be engaging directly with the public, business community and political world across the UK and Europe to help achieve the EV goal.”