Driv­ing home the mes­sage elec­tric cars work on Mull

The Oban Times - - News - STEVEN RAE srae@oban­times.co.uk

TWO FREE events later this month on Mull will let is­lan­ders see how elec­tric cars can help them es­cape the high cost of petrol and diesel.

Hosted in Tober­mory and Craignure by the Energy Sav­ing Trust on Septem­ber 18 and 19, the events will give lo­cals a chance to find out why Mull is the ideal place to own an elec­tric car, in­clud­ing sig­nif­i­cantly lower run­ning costs, ranges that com­fort­ably cover the whole is­land, re­duced pol­lu­tion and the avail­abil­ity of 100 per cent fund­ing to in­stall home charge points.

Those at­tend­ing will then be able to get be­hind the wheel of some of the latest mod­els on the mar­ket to­day.

The event comes hot on the heels of sev­eral re­new­able de­vel­op­ments on the is­land in re­cent months. In April, Com­mu­nity Energy Scot­land an­nounced it was part of a new £2mil­lion con­sor­tium, Pro­ject AC­CESS, to de­velop a sys­tem to sup­ply elec­tric­ity from re­new­able sources straight to lo­cal con­sumers. Weeks later the com­mu­nity- owned 4MW Gar­mony Hy­dro Scheme started gen­er­at­ing elec­tric­ity - and it has al­ready ex­ceeded its gen­er­a­tion tar­gets for June and July.

Energy Sav­ing Trust’s head of new ser­vices Harry May­ers said: ‘ With most elec­tric cars now boast­ing ranges of 80-100 miles, you could com­fort­ably drive from Gar­mony to Fion­nphort and back again on a sin­gle charge. That’s not to men­tion the en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fit to the is­land. Mull is rightly proud of its rep­u­ta­tion as one of the world’s most nat­u­rally stun­ning des­ti­na­tions for wildlife and land­scape. The re­duc­tion in fuel emis­sions of­fered by elec­tric cars can only be of ben­e­fit to the is­land.’

The first in­for­ma­tion event will be held in Tober­mory’s Aros hall be­tween 7pm and 8.30pm on Fri­day Septem­ber 18. The fol­low­ing day, An Roth Com­mu­nity En­ter­prise Cen­tre in Craignure will host an in­for­ma­tion ses­sion be­tween 10-11.30am. Im­me­di­ately af­ter this, driv­ers will be able to get be­hind the wheel of an elec­tric car. Driv­ers on Mull can also cur­rently ap­ply for a new in­ter­est-free loan from the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment, cov­er­ing 100 per cent of the cost of a new elec­tric or plug-in hy­brid car, up to £ 50,000.

This loan fund­ing is in ad­di­tion to the plug-in ve­hi­cle grant of­fered by the UK Gov­ern­ment, which takes up to £ 5,000 off the list price of buy­ing an elec­tric car and £ 8,000 off the cost of an elec­tric van. The dis­count is au­to­mat­i­cally ap­plied at the point of pur­chase.

Gen­eral man­ager of Mull and Iona com­mu­nity trust Mo­ray Finch brought his Nissan Leaf to the main­land on Thurs­day Septem­ber 3 to give Oban Times staff an idea of the car’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Mo­ray ex­plained: ‘ The car is ab­so­lutely per­fect for me. If I come over on the ferry, I can leave it at the rapid charg­ing point at the CalMac pier, buy the Oban Times and go for a cup of cof­fee. Around 30 min­utes later, it’s ready to go. I don’t doubt these ve­hi­cles are the fu­ture but they are slightly lim­ited at the mo­ment. But the next-gen­er­a­tion of bat­ter­ies, which look like dou­bling the range of the ve­hi­cles, will make elec­tric ve­hi­cles even more ap­peal­ing.’

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PLUGGED IN: Mo­ray Finch pow­ers up his Nissan Leaf at the charg­ing point at the

CalMac pier in Oban

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