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St Andrews: Motoring towards a carbon-neutral future

Tuesday 14 April 2015

Derek Watson, Quaestor and Factor of the University of St Andrews, Ben Fletcher, Senior Product Manager for Renault’s EV range, and Matt Eastwood, Car Club Development Manager (Scotland) for Carplus.

The University of St Andrews, together with Transport Scotland and operators E-Car, today launched Fife’s first ever all electric, community car club.

St Andrews now has a fleet of 10 electric vehicles (8× Renault ZOE hatchbacks and 2× Renault Kangoo vans) which businesses, residents and visitors can hire by the hour; making the it Scotland’s most densely populated EV town.

The launch, hosted in the town’s central Church Square, gave residents and visitors the opportunity to meet with organisers: Derek Watson, Quaestor and Factor of the University of St Andrews, Ben Fletcher, Senior Product Manager for Renault’s EV range, and Matt Eastwood, Car Club Development Manager (Scotland) for Carplus. The theme of alternative energy also continued with pedal-powered smoothies, and a pedal-powered scalextric, allowing competitive visitors to put their fitness to the test.

The E-car Club represents a positive step in reducing the town’s carbon emissions, and towards the University of St Andrews’ goal of becoming the UK’s first carbon-neutral university. For as little as an hour - or for several days – club members can collect zero-emission vehicles from three locations; Agnes Blackadder Halls, The Gateway at North Haugh, and David Russell Apartments.

The objective of the scheme is to improve local mobility, whilst reducing parking and congestion issues in an environmentally-friendly and affordable way. Members will pay a £50 joining fee for access to the scheme —with rental prices starting at £4.50 per hour or £35 per day (24 hours), including power and insurance.

Members will be supplied with a membership card and pin number which they can use to book the vehicles; either online or by phone. Once the vehicle is booked, the membership card can be swiped on the windscreen-mounted reader to unlock the vehicle. The member then enters their pin number into the on-board computer and the keys will be released; allowing them to drive away.

The cars can generally travel around 65-90 miles on a single charge; putting Dundee and Edinburgh within easy reach. The growing infrastructure of rapid charging units is also making even longer journeys an option.
Derek Watson, Quaestor and Factor of the University of St Andrews, said:

“St Andrews is a place of exciting journeys; a place pilgrims travelled to, students pack their bags for, and a point of departure for great ideas. I’m confident the E-Car Club will prove to be another of those great ideas - improving transport access for staff, students and the local community. We hope that by offering access to a low carbon form of transport, we can work together to reduce the cost and environmental impact of each journey undertaken.”

Derek Mackay, Minister for Transport and Islands said:

“It is really exciting to see the nation’s first all EV car club in launch in St Andrews, funded in part by the £1 million announced last summer for EVs in car clubs through the ‘Developing Car Clubs in Scotland’ programme.

“The Scottish Government is committed to achieving the target of almost total decarbonisation of road transport by 2050 because of the numerous benefits this will bring. This community based project will also help improve air quality in this popular tourist town while encouraging more use of EVs in general.

“I wish the new car club success in the future and look forward to more clubs following this example of good practice.”

Matthew Eastwood, Car Club Development Manager, Carplus said:

“The Scottish Government has set some very ambitious targets for decarbonising road transport by 2050, and schemes such as this clearly demonstrate that car clubs can play a key role in providing convenient and affordable access to low carbon vehicles, without the need to own one.

“It will be very interesting to see how Scotland’s first EV-only car club develops over the next few months and years, as is likely to provide a template for the development of similar schemes in other towns and cities across Scotland.”

Ben Fletcher, Renault UK’s Electric Vehicle Product Manager, said:

“Local residents and tourists alike can now take advantage of these schemes knowing they are benefiting the environment around them and saving money at the same time.”

The fleet launched today adds to three existing electric vehicles operated in the town by the University of St Andrews, bringing the total number of electric vehicles in use in St Andrews to thirteen.

This development also builds on efforts, led by the University of St Andrews and community partners, to make St Andrews a greener, more environmentally conscious place. The E-Car Club will help the St Andrews Towards Transition initiative towards its goal of saving Co2 across the town. Initiatives already underway include: a “grow your own” food co-op, neighbourhood based energy advice sessions, a home energy advice scheme targeting rural households, and a town wide bike maintenance and rental program.

Notes to news editors

Transition University St Andrews is a group of local residents, University Staff and Students who undertake practical local projects that aim to reduce carbon emissions in the face of climate change. It one of over 500 local groups that make up the international Transition Towns movement. For more information go to: www.transitionsta.org.

For details of the E-Car Club visit www.e-carclub.org.