THERE ARE now four electric car clubs in the UK, with three of them in Pembrokeshire. The Pembrokeshire Electric Car Clubs are the only ones which are rural, non-commercial and where the members know who has got the car, and can get in touch with each other.
The first club started in April this year with a grant to a community group near Newport. They were able to subsidise a second club, which started a month later in St. Davids. Since then, a third started without funding also near St. Davids. Each club is leasing a Nissan Leaf, and last week the clubs held a Christmas get together to compare notes.
It was found that each is in good health. The last car has done over 4,000 miles in around two months with the car used six days of the week by the nine members. The second club has new members joining monthly and is seeking to include younger drivers, who are excluded from driving by the cost of insurance. The first club’s car is also used about 40 times a month, and is considering a choice of second vehicle.
Chair of Cilgwyn community, Vicky Moller said: “We have enough funding to help groups to start up. We can tell any group of people who live near enough to each other to share a car, how to get on the road and can provide up to £1,000 to help this to happen. We can also help find an affordable vehicle, back up advice and an easy booking system. It is a simple idea that works, it saves money for all the users, and it is also sociable. It makes us environment angels, and that also feels good.”
All the clubs have some renewable energy, which often provides free fuel, though a lack of fast charge points is a limitation. There is a charge point in Haverfordwest car park and half hour rapid points are being installed across Britain so that members have just started taking journeys to London and Bristol for zero fuel costs.
Car sharing is growing rapidly, as people abandon car ownership and join a scheme where they pay as they drive. Users find it saves money in a number of ways and also the headache of ownership. But rural car clubs are in their infancy. The three electric car clubs in Pembrokeshire freely admit they feel like pioneers in a new field. They are meeting and overcoming challenges and enjoying the feeling of being ahead.
For help to start a shared car scheme in your neighbourhood get in touch [email protected] or 01239 820971