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UK: Jewel and Esk electric vehicle project is set for massive expansion

SCOTLAND’S largest electric vehicle project is set for a massive expansion – after the first year of the scheme saw the low-carbon cars cover 18,000 miles without a single breakdown.

Every journey made by five electric vehicles (EVs) was monitored for 12 months and the project leader said the information collected showed EVs could cut both carbon emissions and motoring costs.

Ross Milligan, curriculum development manager at Jewel and Esk College, said: “There are still questions to answer but EVs definitely work for short journeys in the local area.

A whole year and 18,000 miles without a breakdown is pretty persuasive evidence.

The cost of charging the five vehicles was around £630 over the year, against almost £3,000 to fill similar cars with fuel to cover the same ­distance.”

Mr Milligan said their impact could be far greater, as EVs gain popularity and drivers become more confident using them.

When the project started, it was thought the cars would have to cover 80,000 miles to break even – because an average EV costs £10,000 more than a similar car using traditional fuel – but the falling cost of technology now means the break-even point has dropped to 40,000 miles.

The five EVs monitored by Jewel and Esk staff were based at the college’s campuses in Edinburgh and Midlothian, Stevenson College Edinburgh, Midlothian Council and the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

The project started in August 2011 and was funded by SEStran (the South East Scotland Transport Partnership), which has put in further resources so it can continue. Edinburgh Napier University, East Lothian Council and Edinburgh’s Telford College have joined the project and taken EVs during the last year and ten cars – a mixture 
of ­Mitsubishi i-MiEV and 
Nissan Leaf models – are now being monitored from Jewel and Esk.

Mr Milligan added: “The cars are popular and well used by all partners and we are ready to extend into Fife and West Lothian to test those bigger questions – how far will the cars go on a single charge, are there enough charging points and can you recoup the high initial costs?”


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