Imagine being able to refuel your car right on your own doorstep. No ghastly fumes. No watching the rising price of petrol. Just a cleaner, greener, feel good top up before you drive off.

This is exactly what we had in mind when we decided to replace one of our existing cars for an Electric Vehicle (EV) and install an EV charging point. Always looking for new ways to reduce our carbon footprint, an EV moves us forward on our route to sustainability. By replacing one of our three diesel cars with an EV we will save around £260 a year on costs and 2.22 tonnes a year of CO2. It would roughly take half a hectare (or almost one football pitch) of forest to absorb this each year according to Forestry Commission research.

Changeworks' staff were given the opportunity to take an EV for a test drive. Everyone was impressed and supportive of the move to an EV. Here's some staff feedback:

“The vehicle is smoother and I felt very much in control and safe.”

 

“It just felt better not to be using diesel. It was comfortable and I felt more aware of how efficiently I was driving."

 

We now have a shiny red Peugeot Ion as part of our small fleet. The car was put to use straight away and is a welcome addition.

Driving an electric vehicle can have a positive impact on both our health and the environment through reduced emissions. Did you know an EV could realise a 40% reduction in CO2 compared to the average family-sized petrol car over a full life cycle (SMMT Electric Car Guide, 2011)?

We can save on fuel costs and vehicle tax too, as EVs are exempt from road tax. And with grants and an increasing number of charging facilities available in Scotland, it’s getting easier to go electric. As more electricity is generated from renewable sources, these savings will increase further.

But how much will it cost to recharge? Electricity isn’t cheap. According to Greener Scotland, the cost of charging depends on battery size, amount of charge left in the battery prior to charging and current electricity rates. But as a guide, charging an electric car from flat to full will cost from as little as £1.03 to £4.01 (SMMT Electric Car Guide, 2011). That’s an average cost of 2–3 pence per mile. We can also use the majority of the ChargePlace Scotland public charge points to fully charge your electric vehicle for free.

With this in mind, Changeworks has joined the growing network of free public Charge Points throughout Scotland. Paul Wilkinson, our Sustainable Transport Advisor explains:

“By installing a dual outlet charge point, Changeworks is able to share access to this resource. This is the first publicly accessible three phase 22kw charger in Edinburgh city centre! This means most cars can be charged to 80% within one hour. And in keeping with our commitment to sustainability, our electricity is from a 100% renewable resource.

 

The Scottish Government’s publication “Switched on Scotland: A Roadmap to Widespread Adoption of Plug-in Vehicles” outlines its plan to have approximately 50 miles between charge points on the major roads in Scotland by 2015. Typical EVs can run for around 100 miles depending on use: motorway driving consumes more energy than city driving; increased use of heating or air conditioning drains the battery faster; and aggressive driving styles also use more energy. However, with ongoing investment, advances and improvements, it’s expected venturing further for longer will become increasingly possible.

So all that’s left to do now is for us to plug in, charge up and drive off to a brighter, more sustainable future. We’ll let you know where our brand-spanking-new electric vehicle takes us. If you want to know more about electric vehicles, either for business or home use, or would like to know about any of our other Transport Services call Home Energy Scotland free on 0808 808 2282 or read on.

Lynne

Lynne Sneddon is Changeworks' Communications and Marketing Assistant