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Survey launched to gauge interest in electric car club

14 June 2021 : Council news, Environment, Community

Somerset West And Taunton Council is seeking the views of residents, businesses and community organisations for an electric car club to be piloted in Taunton.

A short survey has been published online to gauge public interest and pending the results, the pilot scheme could be expanded to other areas of the district.

The project is being led by the Council in partnership with not-for-profit social enterprise, Co Cars, with the aim of providing affordable access to electric cars, whilst also supporting the shift to zero emission transport.

Interest in electric cars has surged by 500% since the Government announced that sales of petrol and diesel vehicles would cease in 2030. However, electric cars remain too expensive for most motorists and a third of households are unable to charge a car at home.

An electric car share scheme would address these challenges. It would be community-led, allowing club members to hire electric vehicles in as little as 30 minutes from various locations across the district and for a single, all-inclusive price.

As well as reducing congestion, parking and pollution problems, switching from a fossil-fuelled vehicle which may only be occasionally used, would help members to save money by removing the need for ownership.

Although the survey is Taunton-centric, ideas for locations in other areas are welcomed.

Interest is also sought for an electric bike share scheme. Because these are electrically assisted, they would provide a great alternative for shorter trips including commuting, leisure and everyday errands.

Both the car and bike share schemes support the Council's Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience (CNCR) Action Plan to significantly reduce the district’s carbon emissions by 2030.

The survey is available at bit.ly/WSomTaunton and will run for approximately a month to establish viability for the project.

Cllr Dixie Darch, Executive Member for Climate Change, said: “Our commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 remains our priority and we’re determined to meet the key milestones set out in our Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience Action Plan.

“We've already introduced a successful e-scooter trial in Taunton which has now been extended to Minehead, so offering an electric vehicle hire scheme is the next step in eco-friendly transport for our communities.

“I encourage residents to take part in this survey to help determine interest and demand. Sharing is a great way to reduce waste from overproduction and saves money, as well as carbon and other emissions impacting our environment.”

Mark Hodgson, Managing Director of Co Cars, said: “Over the last 12 months, we have seen a huge surge of interest in our shared, electric cars and bikes from communities across the region.

“We’re really excited to see if we can bring them to the Somerset West and Taunton area as they would give people access to the latest technology at an affordable price, helping them save money and hassle when compared to owning a car.”

The initial survey and mailing list are being administered by Co Cars and all data collected will be held in accordance with Co Cars' privacy policy.

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