Harbury’s Electric Car Club
As one element of cutting carbon and exhaust pollution, HEI introduced in May 2015 an electric car club with commercial partner E-Car Club. Harbury’s two Renault Zoe EVs (electric vehicles) are parked at the charger in the car park behind the library and Biblio’s cafe in the heart of the village. This was achieved thanks to the Developing Car Clubs in England programme Car Club Challenge, funded by the Department for Transport. HEI was successful in bidding for an £18,000 grant in association with E-Car Club, enabling the establishment of this trial. There are very few successful rural car clubs, even fewer using electric cars.
E-Car Club has hubs at 20 sites in Britain both urban and rural from the Outer Hebrides to London, exclusively using electric cars. Membership of the car club gives access to cars at all these locations, using the membership card and PIN. There is a one-off life membership fee of £50 and thereafter car use is paid for by the hour. In Harbury the rate is £5.50 per hour with nothing else to pay, as the ‘fuel’ is free and all other costs are covered by the hiring fee.
The cars are most useful for local journeys up to a round trip of 80 miles but it is perfectly possible to venture further afield. Some of our members have been to Sheffield, Liverpool, Swindon, even into mid Wales, mainly using free charging posts on motorways en route. We also have in the cars cards that give free access to the POLAR group of chargers, an extensive network of charging points off the motorways.
To join or to find out more go to http://www.e-carclub.org; or use our web contact form and someone from HEI will get back to you.
And then there was e-Wheels
To use the EVs for even greater local community benefit, HEI initiated e-Wheels later in 2015, a scheme offering free transport to those unable to afford the cost of getting to important appointments at the doctor, dentist or social centre. We only take referrals from official social agencies, surgeries and food banks and do not deal with direct requests from individuals. This ensures that a proper assessment of need is done prior to any request for transport. e-Wheels volunteer drivers also help to collect and deliver food from Tesco to the local main food bank.
If you know of anyone who is in urgent need of help in getting to an appointment but can’t afford the journey, please advise them to ask a local agency/social service to refer them to us.
HEI can deliver this service free as a result of generous funding from Big60Million, E-Car Club and the Heart of England Community Fund.