COMMENT: An energetic step on the road to a  cleaner city

The future’s bright: the future’s electric. And the introduction of new on-street charging points for electric vehicles in Portsmouth is a big step forward.

Portsmouth is blazing a trail with a network of charging sockets installed in lampposts and bollards in residential streets.

It might give an extra nudge to anyone thinking of buying an electric car, and is particularly relevant to a choked city like Portsmouth with its congested traffic causing worrying levels of air pollution.

Just think what a breath of fresh air that could bring. There are now more than a million electric cars in Europe after sales soared by more than 40per cent in the first half of last year.

The UK sold 30,040 plug-in cars and vans in the first half of the year. Sales of fully electric cars dipped by six per cent but plug-in hybrids surged by 50 per cent.

For some drivers the worry about buying an electric vehicle is the range of the battery which can necessitate recharging on a long journey. So the more charging power points are available, the more worthwhile it is to invest in cleaner travel.

Of course, charging up from a lamppost will not be free, and new technology has been developed so that users can pay as they go, either via a smartphone app or a smart cable that applies tariffs.

By the end of March, 37 charge points will be available in 32 Portsmouth streets as part of a scheme that cost upwards of £100,000, most of which was covered by a government grant.

And people power even had a hand in the first city installation. Adair Road resident Glen Arnold, who bought an electric car, last November, approached the council asking about a charging point near his home.

It’s always good to be first, and Portsmouth is blazing a trail with this new scheme.  Let’s hope it puts us on the road to a cleaner city.