Pool cars & electric vehicles

You can use the Co-wheels cars to get to meetings or to sites that are not easy to get to by public transport. To use a Co-wheels car you just have to follow the instructions below to register.
Electric cars carpool

We have 21 cars, 19 based at the Civic Centre including 3 electric cars and 2 cars at Shearlegs Road for Construction Service users.

There are guaranteed parking spaces for the pool cars at the Civic Centre and Shearlegs Road.

Use of the pool cars helps us reduce our overall travel costs.


Have you registered with Co-wheels?

Gateshead Council now has over 400 drivers registered with Co-wheels. This is saving the Council money in mileage claims and helping reduce carbon emissions across the Borough.

You need to register with Co-wheels before you can use the vehicles. They provide the insurance and therefore need to have your details. There are just four easy steps.

  1. Email Go Smarter and ask for an invitation to join Co-wheels. You must provide a cost centre for joining and mileage charges. You should check with your manager which one to use.
  2. You will receive an invitation containing a link to register. Make sure you include your service and group so that you are assigned access to the correct cars.
  3. Co-wheels will then phone you to complete a driving licence check with the DVLA through a 3-way conference call (you won’t need your driving licence with you). This is for insurance purposes.
  4. Co-wheels will send you a smartcard which you use to lock and unlock the cars and login details so you can book the cars online.

Booking a Car

Once you have completed the registration process above, you will be sent a smartcard for access to the cars. When you have received this, you can book a car here.

Have you tried to book a car and none are available? Please let us know!

We need to know when there is unmet demand so we can assess whether we need enough cars. Please email Go Smarter.

Need to cancel or amend your booking?

The Co-wheels cars are really popular and in high demand. Please respect other users.

If your plans change please contact Co-wheels as soon as possible via the booking website or on 0191 375 1050. Always do this if you need to cancel, change driver details, or you are going to be late. If you return early, please use the on-board computer to end your booking.

If you need more help…

Co-wheels: 0191 375 1050 info@co-wheels.org.uk 

Gateshead Council: contact Caroline or Sarah by emailing Go Smarter or phoning extension 3308.

General Feedback on Co-wheels

If you would like to supply any feedback or suggestions on the use of Co-wheels cars, please email us at Go Smarter.


Using the electric cars

If you’ve never driven an electric car or have questions about them, find a guide to use of the Electric Pool Cars here

Charging the electric pool cars at the Civic Centre

It is important that the electric Co-wheels cars are properly charged between users. This maximises each car’s range and ensures everyone can complete their journey.

Any charging point at the Civic Centre can be used. Some have 3 pin sockets, some have Type II sockets. All cars have both 3-pin and Type II charging cables so can be charged at any post:

Using a charging post

Touch the charging card in the car to the yellow pad on the side of the charging post. If there is a flap on the front of the post, it will pop open, otherwise, the screen will activate and give instructions.

Use the lever under the steering wheel to open the charging port on the side of the vehicle.  Open the inner flap by pushing the black tab towards the car.

Using the correct charging cable from the car boot (check the type of socket on the post), insert the plug into the charging post. For a 3-pin plug close the flap on the front of the post until it clicks, for a Type II plug press the button under the plug. You must do this to start charging.

The light on the charging post will turn green indicating it is charging or a message on the screen will show the car is charging. Do not leave the car is charging until it is charging.

To stop the car charging, hold the charging card to the yellow pad on the side of the charging post.

If you have any problems with the posts, or a red light is showing, report the fault to Charge your Car using the telephone number on the charging post.

Using the charging canopy

If the charging posts are in use you can use the charging canopy. Park in one of the marked parking bays under the canopy. Any cars parked on the cycle lane/double yellow lines will be ticketed and the driver is responsible for paying tickets.

Use the 3-pin charging cable found in the car boot. The lever under the steering wheel will release the charging cap on the side of the vehicle.

To report a problem with charging under the canopy, please contact Parking Services on extension 3837.

To report faults with the cars, please contact Co-wheels directly. The number can be found on your Co-wheels key card.

Additional places to charge the electric cars

The cars can be charged at any Charge Your Car charging post. Visit their website to find a map of charging points. If you have any problems with the charging posts, please contact Charge Your Car on 0191 2650500. In Gateshead these include:

Northern Design Centre  Post Numbers  10070 & 10071

The Sage Gateshead  Post Number  20014

Heworth Leisure Centre  Post Number  20032

Dunston Activity Centre  Post Number  20033

Gateshead Library  Post Number  20061 & 20062

Council Car Parks and Charging Points Please check here to find which council car parks now have a charging point for electric cars.


Frequently Asked Questions

Where are the vehicles parked?

The vehicles are parked in marked bays in the Civic Centre car park.

Electric cars must be parked in an electric charging bay and left on charge. Electric cars must not be left in a standard occupational vehicle bay. If there are no free electric charging bays you must park in the Co-wheels bays otherwise the car will be ticketed and the driver will be responsible.

The cars are Shearlegs Road are parked in bays 4 and 18.

How does it work?

After you have registered to use the cars, you will be sent a personal smartcard. Go online to book a car for a minimum of half an hour. Your smartcard opens the car door and the car keys are inside the vehicle. And then off you go. Inside the car there is a fuel card and contact details for the car breakdown company. You must always leave the car with at least ¼ tank of petrol or on charge.

Further information is available here

Can I take passengers in Co-wheels cars?

The cars are insured for work-related trips.  If your work includes trips with passengers, then you can travel with them.

How far in advance can I book a car?

If you are very organised, the vehicles can be booked up to twelve months in advance. If a car is available they can be booked with just a minute’s notice however the cars are popular so you should plan ahead and book them as soon as you know you need to travel. Also, you must remember to cancel a booking that is no longer needed.

What information do I need when making a booking?

The use of the car is charged to each service. When you are making a booking you must enter your cost centre in the description box. Please also provide your service name. Please see details below on cost centres.

You will need to provide an Agresso budget code at the time you submit your booking. As you may know, Agresso codes are split into two parts – the account code and the cost centre. For all bookings, the account code will be 33010 (Car Allowances). You only need to add the cost centre for your service area. This will help to ensure that costs are allocated correctly and for that reason, bookings will not be accepted without a valid budget code.

Do I have to be based at the Civic Centre or Shearlegs Road to use the cars?

Staff based at the Civic Centre can use any liveried Co-wheels car at the Civic Centre.

Users from Care, Wellbeing and Learning can also use the two un-liveried Aygos.

Construction Services staff at Shearlegs Road can use the two Yaris based there.

The cars based at the Council should always be used as first choice. Cars based at other locations in Gateshead or Newcastle can be used in exceptional circumstances.

My service has its own pool car, which one should I use?

There are services that have their own pool cars available to staff. If your service has pool car, this should be your first choice if available, before booking the Co-wheels pool car.

What about the £250 insurance excess?

In the event of an accident whilst the car is being used for business purposes, the insurance excess will be paid by the council. If the cars are being used at weekends and evenings for personal use, the individual will be required to pay the insurance excess.

What do I do if there is a problem with the car I’ve booked?

If there is a problem with the car contact Co-wheels. You can do this by phone or use the direct link by pressing the button on the control panel in the car. It the car breaks down when you are out it can be recovered and Co-wheels will provide instructions.

Can I book a car when I’m on stand-by or on-call?

The cars are in high demand and must only be booked when a journey is going to be made. This does not include being on stand-by or on-call.

Can I use Co-wheels for personal journeys?

If you want to use Co-wheels for personal journeys, you must open a personal account with Co-wheels. You will need to provide payment details. The cars can be used in the evenings and at weekends by members of the public or for personal staff use.

Can I book a car out over night?

Cars can be booked out overnight if you have your managers permission to go straight to a meeting/site first thing in the morning or if you are working overnight. You must not use a Co-wheels car to make any personal journeys during this time unless you open a personal account with Co-wheels and make a booking on that account (this must be paid for by yourself).

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