Coventry and Birmingham Low Emission Demonstrators (CABLED)


CABLED is a consortium of 12 companies including: Arup, Aston University, Birmingham City Council, University of Birmingham, Coventry City Council, Coventry University, E.ON, Jaguar Land Rover, Coventry University Enterprises, Mitsubishi Motors UK, Mercedes Benz UK, and Tata Motors European Technical Centre.

CABLED is part funded by Technology Strategy Board and Advantage West Midlands.


With dwindling fossil fuel resources and the threat of global warming, there is a requirement to move transport away from oil-based fuels. Using electricity (or in the longer term hydrogen) as the power source, the carbon emissions are transferred from the tailpipe of the vehicle to the power stations. With today’s grid mix, this can lead to CO2 savings of around 40%. As the grid gets greener with renewable and nuclear energy coming on-stream, the savings get even better.

This project will develop the West Midlands and the UK as a leader in low carbon vehicle technology and its deployment. Much of the technology showcased by this project is engineered or manufactured in the UK, and could lead to significant future exports.

It will showcase electric cars and their usage generally and afford an opportunity for locally based car companies to develop and deploy their offerings in a real world environment. Data from the trial will be used to help develop the next generation of low carbon vehicles and the infrastructure required to support them. This project will support the product development activities of vehicle manufacturers, including Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Motors European Technical Centre and Microcab that are based in the West Midlands.

The Aims

  • Showcase low carbon vehicles (LCVs)
  • Deliver public charging infrastructure
  • Demonstrate long term, real world usage of LCVs
  • Collect data on vehicle usage
  • Publicise benefits and progress of LCVs
  • Demonstrate a variety of LCV technologies

The Challenges

  • Installation of supporting charging infrastructure
  • Vehicle development
  • Data collection and analysis
  • User selection

The Solutions

  • A network of public charging points has been installed in Birmingham and Coventry.
  • Charging points are installed at driver’s homes and a selection of workplaces.
  • A new hydrogen refuelling station has been installed at Coventry University and the University of Birmingham station has been upgraded.
  • Microcab, Tata Indica Vista EV and Land Rover Range vehicle development has been supported by the program.
  • Usage data is being collected from the demonstrator vehicles and regular updates are released.
  • Information on the users has been collected to allow predictions of the profile of likely early buyers of vehicles.

The Results

  • This project will give local authorities an opportunity to understand this transition and start to develop long term policy from hard data. These uptake figures suggest a considerable opportunity for the manufacturers, their supply chains and infrastructure providers, a good proportion of which could be in the UK. Developing the Midlands as a centre for low carbon vehicles will encourage inward investment from companies and countries with interest in the low carbon transport sector, and act as a showpiece of local capability.
  • The supplier base for low carbon vehicles will be strengthened by this project, and it is hoped that other manufacturers and suppliers will be encouraged to invest in the region as a centre of excellence for low carbon vehicles.
  • CABLED vehicles have covered over 200,000 miles in the first 18 months of the trials saving CO2. The zero emissions from the tailpipe will lead to reduced local air pollution.

Learning Points

This project will enable the district network operators, infrastructure planners and developers to be competitive in the application of low carbon transport infrastructures.

Knowledge and experience gained from this project on the planning and integration of EV infrastructures, billing and settlement models will be relevant and commercially exploitable in the near future as electric vehicles become more common both in the UK and across the world. The knowledge gained by the city councils on how to install public charging is already being disseminated to help other local authorities.

The progress of the project and the benefits of low carbon vehicles will be promoted widely through information papers, a dedicated website and regular meetings with users to discuss issues arising from low carbon vehicle usage.

This project will allow for the costs of mass uptake to be calculated along with the attendant environmental and economic benefits. These will include the cities reducing their carbon footprints (Birmingham have a target of 60% reduction by 2026), improving their air quality readings and reducing traffic generated noise.

The successful deployment of electric cars through this project will act as a catalyst to develop the supply chain in the UK for electric car components. A considerable expertise already exists and is used in the demonstration vehicles. This project will raise the UK profile and encourage overseas companies to look to the UK for component supply and potentially vehicle build.

SWM comment

This is an excellent project looking at ways to move transport away from oil-based fuels and cut carbon emission by up to 40%. The project will develop the West Midlands and the UK as a leader in low carbon vehicle technology and its deployment.


For more information please go to the CABLED website