ELECTRIC cars will be refuelled in the streets of Brighton and Hove using the first charging points outside London.

Plans to introduce the charging points are expected to be given the go-ahead next week - despite there currently being only three electric cars in the city.

Points will be sited in Bartholomews in the city centre and Ditchling Road, near The Level.

They could be in use within a few weeks.

Calvey Taylor-Haw, managing director of Brighton-based Elektromotive Ltd, has won the contract to provide the chargers to the city.

He said that the number of electric cars in the area would increase as all the major car manufacturers introduce new models to the market next year.

Mr Taylor-Haw added: “If the public start to believe the infrastructure is coming through, they will have more confidence to buy electric cars.

“In 12 months you will be seeing plenty of them on the city streets.”

Locations for three further sites are still under consideration but they are expected to come into use by the end of this year.

Mr Taylor-Hall said the cars take six hours to fully charge from empty and a 10,000 mile trip would cost under £200.

The same distance in a petrol powered car would cost £1,200.

An electric car can travel about 100 miles on a full battery. The charging point scheme, which will be funded by a £130,000 European Union grant, and is part of the council’s sustainable transport policy.

The city’s few electric car owners already receive 50% discounts on parking permits in the city.

Brighton and Hove City Councillor Geoffrey Theobald, cabinet member for the environment, said: “The city has a reputation for being innovative. Becoming the first area outside London to provide on-street public charging points will benefit residents, visitors and businesses.

“Electric vehicles themselves produce zero emissions and so are much better for the air quality in town and city centres than petrol and diesel powered vehicles. As well as the environmental benefits, fluctuations in oil prices have also increased interest in electric cars."