Going up a gear to use Isles based electric car

An electric car, which costs more than double per year to run than a standard car, is to be used more widely by local authority staff.

The Outer Hebrides Community Planning Partnership (CPP) will today (Thursday) discuss a proposal to increase the use of a low carbon vehicle based in Balivanich.

The vehicle is on a five year lease to the Comhairle funded by a Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Support Scheme announced by Transport Scotland in 2010.

The CPP was awarded £81,000 and this paid for the car lease and associated infrastructure costs; it allowed Third Sector Hebrides to purchase an electric minibus and associated infrastructure and gave funds to NHS Western Isles to install electric charging point infrastructure.

The Comhairle have had the Nissan Leaf 5DR 11 Electric Automatic since May this year but so far it has only been used for a council officer to deliver local mail and provide transport for visiting officers within Benbecula.

It costs £4,456 to run per annum compared to the existing car which costs only £1,882.

The plan is to be enable other CPP partners to make use of the vehicle for a modest charge.

A report is to be carried out assessing the likely demand and after that a scheme will be put in place to allow more access to the vehicle.

The Scottish Government are pushing for increased use of Low Carbon Vehicles to help them achieve their climate change targets.

The vehicles are more expensive to run and so the Support Scheme was set up to offset some of the costs.

Transport Scotland are also undertaking work to install a charging infrastructure to support the use of electric cars and vans in Scotland.

By 2020 they aim to have a mature market for low carbon cars in Scotland as well as public charging infrastructure in place in all Scottish cities.