Electric Cars For Birmingham?

Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Trust and Aston University are taking part in an electric car trial on the streets of Birmingham. Both are trialling a number of 2-seater Smart Cars, modified to charge using a standard 3-pin electric socket.

This could prove a great solution for company car fleet owners and for city dwellers who need to potter around an urban area. But they’re not a great deal of use beyond that, with a limited mileage of 70 miles between charges.

Of course the argument is for longer journeys you can use a combination of public transport and park and ride facilities, but that's not yet feasible nationwide.

But it is a huge step in the right direction and a positive outcome of this trial could see the streets of Birmingham filled with small electric cars sooner than you think.

Now if only they looked better…


Sounds Great, But What Is A Digital District?

At today's regional launch of the Digital Britain report, Lib Dem group leader (and Deputy Leader of the City Council!) Cllr Paul Tilsley revealed Birmingham will create a "Digital District" spanning the Digbeth / Eastside part of the city centre.

He said, "Birmingham will create a ‘Digital District’ that brings together the innovative, learning and creative sectors enabled through a next generation hi-speed broadband infrastructure. Spanning several hundred acres from the creative industries in Digbeth, our science and technology sectors at Birmingham Science Park and our world class developments at Eastside, it will provide an exciting environment for our creative industries and young entrepreneurs."

Now I would say Digbeth, specifically the growing Custard Factory complex, together with Aston University and the Millennium Point campus of BCU already meet that description. So what else will be on offer above and beyond high-speed broadband?

While I'm not quite as sceptical as B:INS, I do hope this isn't just a rebrand of what is already there, and there will be some form of investment programme unveiled to provide the meat on the bones.

Let's wait and see...
Update: You can hear the Cllr Paul Tilsley speech here courtesy of Rhubarb Radio.