CHRISTCHURCH and East Dorset councils have unveiled two new electric cars for staff.

The two Nissan Leaf vehicles will be used by the partnership’s civil enforcement officers as they travel between locations.

A grant of £21,000 was given by the county council’s sustainable transport fund as part of the Three Towns Travel project.

A government grant of £5,000 for each vehicle was also donated.

The full life cost of the vehicles over five years will be £36,000 less than two diesel-powered vans.

A council spokesperson said the cars are ideal for the civil enforcement officers as their car park duties involve short trips. The cars can be recharged overnight.

Cllr Margaret Phipps, portfolio holder for the environment at Christchurch, said: “The cars achieve an equivalent of 260 miles to the gallon, attract a zero road fund licence and have cheap servicing due to few moving parts.

“Adding the running cost savings to the environmental benefits means the vehicles are ideal.”

Cllr Mike Dyer, of East Dorset District Council, added: “These zero-emission vehicles will reduce the carbon impact of our services and cut air pollution.”