TWO new electric cars are about to become a familiar sight on Exeter’s streets.

Exeter City Council has underlined its green credentials by purchasing a couple of Nissan LEAF electric cars for staff to use when out and about on official duty.

The pool cars will replace some of the Council’s ageing diesel-powered vans. As well as reducing climate change emissions, moving away from diesel power reduces particulate emissions and this will help improve air quality on Exeter’s streets.

Cllr Keith Owen, Lead Councillor for Environment, Health and Wellbeing, said: "We are already generating electricity from solar panels mounted on several of our buildings so it maes even more sense to use battery power for our vehicle fleet."

Only recently the City Council announced details of eight new electric vehicle charging points round the city to encourage more people to use electric vehicles.

The free charge points have been funded thanks to the City Council's successful bid for government funding from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles.

They are located at the following locations and are available for residents and visitors to the city, Council employees and fleet vehicles:

John Lewis Car Park

Guildhall Car Park

Mary Arches Street Car Park

Oakwood House office (fleet and staff only)

Matford Park and Ride Civic Centre (available by end of May) Cathedral and Quay Car Park (available by end of May)

Magdalen Street Car Park (available by end of May)

Electric Vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions, making a beneficial contribution to local air quality. For this reason the chargepoints installed by Exeter City Council are be free to use, supporting the use of electric vehicles and the practicality they now offer (parking charges still apply in Council car parks).

In some locations solar panels will offset the electricity chargepoints use, however longer term the Council will review the use of the chargepoints and the cost of this facility.

Signs advertising the charging facilities have been sponsored by Westerly Exeter BMW.