Much of the electricity will be generated by the Pentland Road Wind Farm, the largest on any Scottish island that was officially opened today. The nine ZOE hatchbacks and a Kangoo Van Z.E. have been introduced into the remote region through a unique partnership between E-Car Club and the wind farm operators.
The joint venture brings affordable, zero carbon transport to the area and underlines the suitability of electric vehicles in rural as well as urban environments, with the public being able to hire the innovative models on an hourly or daily basis from a number of locations across the town of Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis.
E-Car Club – the UK’s first entirely electric pay-per-use car club – chose the Renault ZOE and Kangoo Van Z.E. for the Outer Hebrides following the success it has experienced with the models at its other nationwide locations, including its St Andrews operation which opened earlier this year. The models’ specification, fun drive, reliability and excellent customer feedback were also key factors in the decision.
Representing an investment of £24 million and developed over a 12-year period, Pentland Road Windfarm will generate power for the new vehicles as part of providing renewable electricity to the islands. Such is the efficiency of the wind farm and the suitability of the local climate to support wind power, the six turbines will supply sufficient electricity to meet the entire domestic load of the Outer Hebrides.
Nearly 700 households in the Newvalley, Guershader and Laxdale Lane, Sheshader, Knock and Swordale, and Stornoway General communities will also receive 50 per cent of the biannual lease payments made by Pentland Road Windfarm to the Stornoway Trust as landlord, while there will also be agreed annual payments to the Western Isles Development Trust.
Great effort has also been made to minimise the impact of the wind farm on the local landscape. Great care was taken during the design and construction stages so as not to upset the free movement of water across the site and habitat reinstatement measures are also ensuring that plant communities typical of moorland are now returning to areas surrounding the turbine bases and access tracks. Local bird species have also been unaffected by the project.
Ben Fletcher, Renault UK’s Electric Vehicle Product Manager, said: “This deal underlines that Renault is a leader in the fast-growing EV sector and the rapidly-increasing popularity that our vehicles have with car sharing clubs and the general public alike. As well as offering residents and tourists a great way to save money and help improve air quality, the car sharing scheme perfectly illustrates that our electric offering has the range and ease of use – not to mention driving pleasure – that makes it ideal for all kinds of drivers in all types of areas.”
Those living in or visiting the Outer Hebrides will be able hire one of the Renault ZOEs from E-Car Club for only £5.50 per hour or £45 per day (24 hours). Power and insurance are both included in the price. The Kangoo panel van is available for £7.50 per hour or £60 per day.
In its drive to help combat congestion, reduce parking and enhance local mobility in an environmentally-friendly and affordable way, E-Car Club has over 20 locations across the UK with several more in the pipeline.
Chris Morris, Managing Director of E-Car Club said: “I’m delighted to be able to officially announce the launch of E-Car Club in the Outer Hebrides. This is an exceptionally exciting project combining shared e-mobility with renewable power generation in what is undoubtedly a landmark sustainable transport project both in Scotland and around the world.”
“The Islands are a perfect fit for electric car sharing with a community who are already committed to a sustainable lifestyle and current car use limited to relatively short journeys and a frequency which does not always justify private ownership.”
“The intention of E-Car is to provide everyone living in, working in or visiting the region with access to flexible, low cost transport whilst at the same time minimising their environmental impact in what is a truly stunning part of the world.”
Peter Crone, Director of Pentland Road Wind Farm and Zero Carbon Marine, said: “Electric cars are without doubt the future and car sharing is certain to become increasingly more common too, so it’s wonderful that we have been able to introduce both to the community as part of Pentland Road Wind Farm.
“Local reaction to the wind farm has been excellent and the availability of shared electric cars adds another benefit for people in the region. After having driven one of the ZOEs from the most southern to the most northern point of the Outer Hebrides earlier this week, I am certain that the vehicles will prove very popular.”
Dr Alasdair Allan MSP, Scottish National Party (Western Isles) and Mr Angus Brendan MacNeil MP, Scottish National Party, both attended the launch of Pentland Road Windfarm.
Dr Allan said: “I am happy to see the Pentland Road wind turbines becoming a reality and creating a benefit to the community. I appreciate the great amount of effort that has gone into this project over many years to make it a reality.
“The Isles are uniquely placed to be at the forefront of renewable energy development. Clearly linking the electric car scheme with locally produced wind energy shows the possibilities we have here for a low-carbon future.
“I am looking forward to electric cars becoming more common around the Isles and to seeing the wider community benefits these two schemes should bring in.”??
The ZOE is an all-electric, five-door family hatchback available in three trim levels that comes with a very high level of standard specification, despite its competitive price-tag, which starts from £13,445 after the Government Plug-in Car Grant. Standard specification includes items such as climate control and sat-nav.
ZOE is available with a number of features that make for seamless electric vehicle ownership including remote monitoring of the battery and pre-heating the cabin via your smartphone. ZOE also benefits from the patented Chameleon™ Charger that allows it to make the most of the widest range of power supplies and also keep charging times to a minimum – ZOE can charge from zero to 80 per cent full in as little as 30 minutes. The official NEDC range is 149 miles – Renault estimates that in real-world driving conditions that this equates to around 106 miles in summer and 71 miles in winter. Retail ZOE customers also enjoy the free installation of a fast-charging 7kW wall box at home, giving a standard charge time at home from 0-100 per cent in just 3-4 hours.
Awarded the titles of What Car? 2015 ‘Best Electric Car for less than £20,000’ and ‘Best Electric Vehicle’ in the Auto Express Driver Power 2015 survey, the Renault ZOE is an affordable route to zero emissions-in-use motoring.
The Kangoo Van Z.E is perfectly suited to many commercial applications with its choice of four bodystyles and 106-mile range (NEDC) – Renault estimates that in real-world driving conditions that this equates to around 84 miles in summer and 53 miles in winter.
In addition to the ZOE supermini and Kangoo Van Z.E, the Renault Z.E range includes the Twizy urban runaround, an innovative open-sided two-seater vehicle.
In a UK electric car market up 54.5 per cent year-to-date, sales of Renault electric vehicles in the UK were up by 92.4 per cent, to 1,316 vehicles, compared to the same period last year. Total Renault car sales in the UK stood at 59,221 – up 16.7 per cent on first nine months of 2014.
Hebrides Today brings you the latest news from the Western Isles