Sunday, 4 October 2015

Guest Post: Electric Motoring- Venturing Further Afield by Cllr Nick Hollinghurst

Hybrid vehicles, despite their complexity, are a good half-way house towards the goal of greener motoring - but all-electric vehicles are the full Monty.

However one thing must be taken into account, there is no fossil fuel back up and van-based generators, such is claimed to be as provided by the AA under its EVRescue scheme are very few and far between. So electric motoring does mean more thoughtful motoring and a certain amount of forward planning is needed for a return journey to somewhere more than 45 miles away or to a destination more than 90 miles away.

But more thought about motoring is not a bad thing. Whatever the fuel - whether electric, gas, hybrid, petrol or diesel - if we could all use our vehicles just 10% less then the benefits in terms of pollution, public health, carbon dioxide emission, road maintenance, traffic congestion, time and cost would be enormous.

However, Liberal Democrat Councillor Nick Hollinghurst, has found that longer journeys are not a problem. Recently he and his wife Rosemarie went to Bournemouth and back. On the way down they charged up at Reading and on the way back at Winchester, with a cup of coffee each time and charge times of 25 minutes each time.

With rapid chargers at nearly every motorway service area, at IKEA stores, friendly Nissan dealerships and with more spreading down the A roads at places like Roadchef, charging on the road is becoming easier all the time. There are now 9,320 UK charging points, of which 1,490 are the rapid charge type, spread over 3,550 locations and increasing at the rate of 4 a day. Fast chargers, and the slow 13-amp type, are also to be found at hotels, council car parks and at some public buildings e.g. Watford Town Hall. Now Tesla has got in on the act with 22 Superfast Chargers (for their super expensive cars!) on some motorways.

The picture shows Nick charging up in Cambridge at the Nissan dealership near the airport - a 30 minute charge and time to catch up on telephone calls and e-mails.

So don't be left behind - sign up for electric motoring while the grants that Ed Davey, the former Liberal Democrat Environment Minister, brought in are still available. Don't delay! David Cameron has already announced his intention to cut out all the "green crap" as he calls it - and George Osborne has already given notice of the reduction or termination of wind and solar power subsidies and green motoring grants and concessions.

You can receive a flat rate £5,000 towards an electric car regardless of size or cost. Each household can qualify for two grants (for two cars). And, until next September, you can get a grant of £700 towards a fast home charger.

Oh, and the charges are mostly free at the moment, but even when you have to pay it's only about £2.50 for a full charge - enough for 100 miles in a Nissan Leaf and 120 miles in a 2-door Renault Zoe. At the moment fuel costs work out at just over 2p per mile and on his first 850 miles Nick has saved about £150 compared to diesel in just 3 weeks.