Leading Spanish electric vehicle brand, Silence, opened its ‘urban ecomobility’ headquarters, training centre and first UK retail store in Solihull.
As well as being a centre for electric vehicle development and production, the West Midlands will also pioneer a UK Clean Air Zone this summer, when Birmingham launches its charging scheme aimed at reducing emissions from petrol and diesel vehicles in the city centre.
John Edwards, one of founding partners of Silence UK, said: “Solihull makes the perfect location for investment, in the first phase of our launch and establishment of our UK headquarters. Not only is the West Midlands already a hub for electric vehicle businesses and research, but its leaders are focused on ecomobility and infrastructure.”
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, said: “We’re delighted that Silence have chosen to base their UK headquarters here in Solihull. Their investment reflects the confidence in the region as we position ourselves to be at the forefront of low-carbon future mobility.
“Transport currently accounts for 39% of Co2 emissions across the borough. Tackling this area is going to be key to unlocking our low carbon future and achieving our net zero carbon aspirations for the region by 2041.”
The regenerated site on Haslucks Green Road includes Silence’s first UK flagship retail store and service centre, covering over 700 square metres. It serves both retail and business customers, with the full UK range of Silence ‘e-moto’ all-electric motorcycles and scooters available for test rides.
Dan Storer, Chief Investment Officer at the West Midlands Growth Company – the region’s official investment promotion agency – added: “Silence joins the West Midlands’ leading automotive cluster at a strategic moment in its evolution. Building on a robust legacy of spearheading transport innovations, our region has a rigorous proposition to supercharge the future mobility ambitions of industry and Government.
“The decision for Silence to base its UK headquarters in Solihull is affirmation of the region’s potential to accelerate innovation in the sector and drive interest from foreign companies with aspirations to be part of a world-class automotive ecosystem.”
Electrified two-wheel travel is growing in popularity, as an easy and cost-effective way to cut costs and emissions. The electric 50cc and 125cc market grew 50 per cent in 2020 and is up almost 300 per cent in the first four months of 2021, growing by more than 550 per cent in April alone, according to the company (though we are not sure where these figures came from).
These changes are being driven across both the business and consumer sectors.
Last mile delivery and food delivery services have soared during the pandemic resulting in a boom in sales of light weight, smaller and sustainable modes of transport, particularly in urban areas.
COVID has also had a significant impact on the individual commuter with people turning to independent, private, and green transportation.
And new research shows the impact of choosing two wheels over four: travelling by micromobility instead of a car just once a day reduces an average citizen’s carbon emissions from transport by 67%, according to the University of Oxford.
Silence’s flagship retail store in Solihull will be one of several flagship stores opening across the UK, with the next sites planned for London and Manchester. A partnership model will also allow entrepreneurial businesses who want to join the EV revolution to retail Silence scooters. 10 jobs will be initially created in Solihull with an estimated 200 jobs to be supported across the UK as the company expands.