Motorists get to drive green thanks to electric car club in Harbury

Harbury electric cars
Harbury electric cars

An electric car club in a village has been launched after nine months of planning.

Harbury Energy Initiative launched its village electric car club with E-Car Club, the UK’s first pay-per-hour entirely electric car club business, on Wednesday.

The club is the culmination of nine months of work beginning with an application to the Carplus Car Club Challenge, funded by the Department for Transport.

Harbury Energy Initiative (HEI) won one of only six grants in their category to start a pilot club in Harbury in partnership with E-Car Club Ltd.

Car clubs are becoming increasingly popular in Britain with 185,000 members accessing about 3,000 cars. Many of the clubs are introducing electric vehicles to their fleets in an attempt to reduce emissions, however, there are very few schemes that operate in a community as small as Harbury.

The 2,500 villagers will have access, through life membership, to two electric cars locally and the use of electric cars in any of the other locations where E-Car Club is active, such as Stratford-on-Avon.

Car ownership in rural areas is much higher than in towns and cities. The club hopes to enable households to get rid of second cars and make the use of a car possible for young people, many of whom cannot afford a car.

HEI is also investigating the possibility of supporting local food banks by offering free transport options to some of their users.

The chairman of HEI, Bob Sherman, said: “This is a significant and exciting project for our village sustainability group and has been part of the HEI’s agenda for change for some years.

“We are delighted that E-Car Club and Carplus are making it possible for us to realise this ambition and we look forward to showing that such a club can work successfully in a rural community.”

The electric car club will be the third major project initiated by HEI. Previous projects include internal insulation for the volunteer-run Village Library and Biblio’s Cafe and cavity wall insulation for Harbury Rugby Football Club.

Harbury Energy Initiative aims to cut carbon emissions locally by finding ways for the people and community buildings to save energy and money.

Carplus provides support and technical advice to a number of member projects across England, funded by the Department for Transport.

E-Car is the UK’s first entirely electric pay-per-use car club, designed to provide members with the convenience and flexibility of a full-sized private car without the high cost of owning one.