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Meet the E10 - that latest car to come off the Norfolk production line

PUBLISHED: 08:56 29 July 2014 | UPDATED: 09:55 29 July 2014

Baroness Kramer looking at prototype Zenos cars with founder Ansar Ali at Wymondham. Photo: Bill Smith

Baroness Kramer looking at prototype Zenos cars with founder Ansar Ali at Wymondham. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2014

It is the region’s newest sports car - fast, sleek in design and bearing a £25,000 price tag.

The lavish E10, which can do 0 to 60 in less than five seconds, is poised to be launched by a team of engineers at Zenos Cars, in Wymondham, this week.

Yesterday the Baroness visited the firm to inspect the car – which is hoped to shape the future development of similar lightweight sport models.

She said: “It is great to see a thriving automotive industry in the United Kingdom.”

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer added: “Companies at the forefront of technology are crucial to the UK’s economic growth and future prosperity.

Bus smart card scheme praised

While in Norfolk, Baroness Kramer praised the holdall bus smartcard scheme, which allows passengers to pre-pay for their journeys on many of the country’s bus services using a plastic card.

The minister, pictured above, who used the service to arrive at Thickthorn Park and Ride, said: “We are now getting to know more about journeys people want to do, telling us more about what people need. The flexibility of the service is the challenge – and Norfolk is rising to it.

“Norfolk County Council have been very forward looking in trying to achieve what they have. It is hard to achieve across the county and having an area which is willing to be cutting edge is crucial.”

The £2.5m scheme, which was launched earlier this year, is similar to the Oyster card commonly used in London.

It is hoped it will help other areas introduce a similar ticketing scheme elsewhere in the country.

Around 25pc of all passenger journeys on Park and Ride now use the cards, and it is hoped that by March 2015 this number will have increased to 50pc.

“The research we are funding will allow Zenos to push the boundaries on light-weight cars.

“This is particularly important for the future development of electric cars, where the use of lighter materials will have real benefits.”

Funded using private investment and a £240,000 grant from New Anglia’s Growing Business Fund, the car has been in the works since the company’s inception in 2012.

Ansar Ali and Mark Edwards, co-founders of Zenos Cars, insisted that the model was not a “dream car” to fulfil a love for flashy cars – instead calling it a “market driven” product.

Boost for car clubs

During her visit, Baroness Kramer announced a £500,000 boost to car sharing clubs around the country.

Baroness Kramer praised the Norfolk Car Club, which was set up four years ago by Rex Warner MBE and now boasts 20 cars and 500 members across Norwich, Reepham and Aylsham.

The scheme allows members to benefit from using a car without having to deal with the costs associated with owning one.

For a small membership fee, members are able to book cars in advance, paying a minimal hourly rate and the price of petrol.

The not-for-profit club has seen a dramatic rise in numbers, and hopes to expand from 17 designated car club spaces to 80 in the next five years.

Baroness Kramer said: “Car clubs cut congestion, reduce carbon and save people money will still giving people the freedom and flexibility to use a car when they want to.

“One of the special things about the Norfolk service is that it operates in rural as well as urban areas. People can see the logic of them in urban areas, but trying to see the effect it can play in rural areas is the difficult part.”

Under the government’s plans, more than 40 car clubs will bid for a share of the money, which will be administered by Carplus, to expand their services.

It is estimated that car club users save thousands of pounds a year on insurance, MOT and tax costs, while one rental car is thought to take the place of 17 individually owned vehicles on the road.

Mr Warner said: “We are delighted the minister has chosen to visit us to make this very important national announcement. It is quite an endorsement to have been chosen and I believe that reflects the significant progress we have made. We are moving closer to our aim of becoming the UK’s first not-for-profit city-wide car club.”

“The feedback to date is that it is certainly recognised as a well-rounded car. We know our markets and we are filling a niche which we don’t see as having much competition.

“It is affordable – most people we have asked put the car in the £44,000 to £50,000 bracket.”

After leaving positions at Lotus Cars, the duo combined their wealth of experience to set up Zenos in 2012 - when the plans for the E10 were borm.

Originally located on the Hethel Engineering Site, it was only in April 2014 that they moved to the current base on Wymondham Business Park.

Mr Ali said that the launch of the E10, memorable for its distinctive lime green panels, was the “culmination of two years of hard work”.

“It’s very pleasing to know there was real confidence in our business model and it is great that we can design, manufacture and employ staff for an innovative product right here in Norfolk,” he added.

The launch will create 24 engineering jobs - bringing the total amount of positions created by New Anglia’s flagship funding programme to 675.

What do you think of the car? Tweet your views to @EDP24

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