ENVIRONMENTALLY-friendly neighbours in South Tyneside are turning over new leafs in a bid to test out electric cars.
People in Beacon Glade, South Shields, are bidding to take part in a project that aims to help experts understand the demand on the power network as more people switch to electric cars.
Under the terms of the My Electric Avenue scheme, they are being offered the chance to rent an electric car for 18 months, while low carbon vehicle consultancy Zero Carbon Futures looks at the effects of overnight charging.
Resident Julie Skevington has championed the scheme, posting flyers to every nearby household, and almost 20 of her neighbours have asked for details of the project.
It offers participants an all-electric Nissan Leaf at a subsidised monthly rental of £100 for 18 months, fuel bill savings, no road tax and between 80 and 100 miles of travel for between £2 and £3 – the cost of one overnight charge.
Bank worker Ms Skevington sees the trial as a way of experiencing the financial and environmental benefits of EVs.
She said: “I’m facing redundancy, so have been seeking a cost-effective replacement for my company car.
“The running costs of an electric car are really appealing. It’s not just about saving money, though fuel economy is really important to me.
“I’m excited by the prospect of trialling a Nissan Leaf and have been overwhelmed by the interest from neighbours.”
The My Electric Avenue project is the first of its kind in the UK, and aims to give a more realistic analysis of the impact of electric vehicle charging on local electricity substations, by involving residents living in close proximity to one another who have access to the same electricity feeder.
Lois Warne, technical advisor at Zero Carbon Futures and a project manager for My Electric Avenue, said that she’s encouraged by the interest in the scheme.
She said: “The residents in South Shields have really risen to the challenge to help us find an Electric Avenue in the North East and the interest has been phenomenal. Their involvement will help further reinforce this region’s position as a leaders in the area of low carbon transport.
“We are still keen to hear from communities across the region who are interested in taking part in the trials and reaping the benefits associated with driving an EV.”
To find out more, or to register interest, go to www.myelectricavenue.info