NEW charging points are set to appear across the county in a bid to increase the use of electric cars.

Hampshire County Council is investing £2.7 million to provide 40 electric car charging points for vehicles across the county.

As part of the proposals, rapid vehicle charging points which only require 30 minutes until a full charge will be installed at south park and ride in Winchester, Romsey Rapids Leisure Centre car park in Romsey, the A31 Furlong car park in Ringwood and the Civic Way north car park in Fareham.

Meanwhile, six fast charge points which require three to four hours charge will be installed at South Street car park in Gosport as well as South Park & Ride and Romsey Road in Winchester.

The council will also look to convert 156 of its own vehicle fleet and 23 staff pool cars on a phased basis from diesel to electric power.

Councillor Mel Kendal, the county council’s executive member for economic development, said: “There are now more than two million electric cars in the world, and in May this year a record 4.4 per cent of new cars sold in the UK were hybrid or electric models.

“However, more work is needed to power a further surge which is why we’re delighted that so many local partners joined us today to share plans and ideas.

“As a county council it’s important we show leadership, but recognise we stand a much better chance of succeeding by working together with partner authorities and the private sector.”

The council’s new venture is part of its ongoing energy and carbon management programme, to reduce carbon emissions and cutting long-term energy costs.

Since 2010, the council has claimed that it has saved £29.9m in energy costs and cut carbon emissions by 35.8 per cent.

It comes as the car industry responds to tighter emissions standards that will apply across their fleets from 2021.

From electric vehicles, to self-driving technology, to investments in ride-sharing and taxi companies, carmakers are trying to get a toehold in areas that have the potential to upend the automotive sector.

Volvo announced last month that every car it launches from 2019 will have an electric motor, marking the end of cars that have only an internal combustion engine and placing electrification at the core of its future business.

The announcement, it said, “represents one of the most significant moves to embrace electrification, and highlights how, over a century after the invention of the internal combustion engine, electrification is paving the way for a new chapter in automotive history”.