Declan’s Blog: Chambers’ Transport Form – A cure for range anxiety and Midlands Connect

Last week, our Transport Forum held its first meeting of 2024. The main topic of discussion centred around electric vehicles and we were pleased to welcome one of our Chamber members, Adrian Hide of Adrian Hide Consultancy, who shared his experiences of driving an electric car. 

The UK Government has announced a ban on the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars by 2035. That gives us eleven years to think about making the switch to electric vehicles and the clock is ticking!

Adrian made the switch two years ago and he described driving an electric car as “responsive” and “effortless”. The Regeneration system in some models allows the driver to select ‘one-pedal driving’.

The driver can use the system to slow the car without the need to press on the brake pedal.  When driving from home to our Transport forum meeting, he said he didn’t touch the brake pedal until he arrived on our car park at Commerce House!

“Range anxiety” is still seen as a barrier preventing more drivers from switching to electric vehicles, fearing that they will run out of charge and struggle to find available charging points. Adrian explained that this barrier can be overcome through forward planning by the driver.  Using the example of a recent journey to Exeter, he stopped for a short break at Gloucester Services and in the time taken to drink a coffee, he had topped up the charge on his car.  He added that there are electric vehicle charge points at more than 31,000 locations around the UK.

More businesses are installing charge points at business premises, recognising the benefits of both staff and visitors being able to charge vehicles on site. There is also a growth in hotels and other leisure venues installing charge points, in a bid to encourage more customers.  Adrian reported that charging the remaining 20% of battery capacity can take disproportionately longer than charging the first 80% of the battery and suggested that drivers need to have a mindset of topping up.

More of us will be making the switch in the coming years and Adrian’s presentation gave us plenty of food for thought.

We also welcomed Ciara Jagger of Midlands Connect to deliver an update.  Midlands Connect is a sub-national transport body (STB), funded by the UK Government as one of seven STB across the country.  Midlands Connect works with all 22 regional transport bodies and a number of stakeholder groups (including Chambers’ of Commerce), across a region which stretches from Herefordshire to the Lincolnshire coast.

We were interested to hear that Midlands Connect “continues to establish a strategic narrative for transport investment in the region”.   From a Staffordshire perspective, we are keen to keep pressing for improvements to the A50/A500, which connects the M1 and M6 and is regarded as the North Midlands Manufacturing Corridor and a key logistics route for the likes of JCB and Toyota.  We also want to see a major overhaul of junction 15 of the M6 and the approaches, which opens up access to/from the North Staffordshire conurbation.

Our Transport forum meets again on Tuesday 30th April.  If you have an interest in the latest developments on road, rail, air and sea, please contact me: