A RETIRED couple in Langholm are one of the first purchasers in the town to have bought an electric car.
Tom and Alison Hutton’s main reason for deciding to invest in it was because of the rising costs of repairs and maintenance on their 10-year-old petrol car with its inefficient engine and they were keen to eliminate the effects of pollution in the environment.
Renault Zoe is the cheapest to buy of the current electric cars. The Zoe stands for zero emissions.
Tom and Alison have a charging point attached to the outside wall of their house connected to their mains electricity meter. The electricity used is coming from renewables.
The battery is leased which means that, if it fails, they can have it replaced at no additional cost.
There are low maintenance costs, too, although insurance is more expensive but they hope that, in time, the premiums will reduce once more electric cars are on the road.
The car is limited to 85 mph and, once the battery is fully charged, they have a theoretical 180 miles of road to drive.
After a recent trip to North Berwick, Tom said: “We charged up the car for 180 miles in a car park in North Berwick and on the return 80 miles, we used 53 per cent of the battery so 140 miles seems a reasonable distance to feel happy with.”
He added: “It’s very much like driving an automatic car because there is no clutch. It takes a bit of getting used to after years of driving a manual petrol car. It really keeps you focused on smooth careful driving and the slower you drive, the more electricity you preserve.
Although they have to pay for the electricity they use when they charge the car at home, it is a lot cheaper than buying petrol and one of the benefits of the electric car is that it’s free to charge at most points around Scotland.
Tom and Alison have used the free charge point at Tweedbank railway station and Tom has installed an App on his mobile phone called ChargePlace Scotland. It costs £20 to register and it gives all the information you need about available charging places.
The ChargePlace Scotland network has been developed by the Scottish government through grant funding of local authorities and other organisations to install publicly-available charge points.
Recipients of the funding are known as hosts. A host is the designated owner of the charge points they have installed and are responsible for maintenance and general upkeep of their charge points.
The ChargePlace Scotland network is operated for the Scottish government by Charge Your Car Ltd.