A fleet of 10 new electric cars are available to rent in Bristol, following funding from the European Union research project REPLICATE.

The 100% electric Renault Zoe cars will allow more people to rent zero emission vehicles in Bristol. The cars are based at nine locations across the city, including on-street parking at Brunswick Square, Stuart Street and Effingham Road.

The national car club, Co-wheels, is hiring out the electric vehicles on a pay-as-you-go basis for its members.

Cllr Kye Dudd, Cabinet Member for Transport and Energy at Bristol City Council, said: “I’m delighted that there are new electric vehicles for hire in the city, as it means more people will be able to experience the benefits of modern zero emission cars.

“The electric vehicles will help us to reduce the impact of the city’s current transport system and improve air quality, as no carbon emissions are produced and many car club members choose to give up owning a car.

“For those who are thinking of switching to electric, the car club scheme is also a great way to try before you buy.”

To encourage take up of the electric vehicles, Co-wheels has launched an introductory offer for anyone who lives in Bristol. For just £1 new members can get £25 worth of driving credit added to their account, to use against the hourly car hire charge. There is also no monthly minimum spend required.

Richard Falconer, Director of Co-wheels car club, said: “There is a lot of interest from our Bristol members to have more electric vehicles on our fleet, so this is a brilliant opportunity.

“Many Co-wheels members don’t want to add another car to our busy roads and would rather use a shared vehicle when they really need one – and now they have the option to reduce the impact on our environment even more by using a zero emission vehicle.

“It also means we can expand our availability into new parts of the city we have not been able to serve before. Take a look on the locations section of our website for details of where our new cars can be found.”

The electric vehicles form part of Bristol’s REPLICATE research project, which encourages local people to try out the latest energy, mobility and ICT solutions.

The five year project, which has been funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, will also enable 14 smart electric charge point bays to be installed across Bristol for use by electric vehicle owners. Financial help is also available for homeowners in Ashley, Easton and Lawrence Hill to install a range of energy efficient measures to their homes such as a new boiler, loft insulation and solar panels.