Go Active, Go Explore; Go St Andrews

On the 24th and 25th of April Go St Andrews held its launch event and tour of St Andrews University’s campus. Go St Andrews is a new hub for sustainable transport information in and around St Andrews. This initiative is a collaboration between Fife Council, Transport Scotland, Transition University of St Andrews, BID St Andrews, and partners. The website aims to deliver clear and concise information on all the sustainable transport options in and around St Andrews, aiming to build up a community of people who choose to take modes of transport that will decrease their carbon footprint.

On the 24th April representatives from Sustrans, Cycle Solutions, Cycling UK Scotland, Chariots of Hire, Cyclepath, E-Car, Liftshare, St Andrews Park Run, Transition University of St Andrews, St Andrews Space for Cycling and Cycle Fife came to Market Street to increase awareness of the different resources available to them across the town and gown. Due to high winds we had to shut up earlier than expected, however we were pleased by the encouraging amount of people who came to ask questions and give us suggestions of what they would like to see happen in St Andrews.

As a result of the launch of Go St Andrews we hope to see an increase in the number of people who are interested in taking different forms of transport to reduce their impact on the environment and those who are aware of the huge variety of options available to them in and around St Andrews. The website covers areas including walking, running, cycling, carshare, E – Car, buses, trains and fun ideas for local day trips. If you see something missing or would like a new tab opened please get in touch with your ideas.

A huge congratulations to the team at Transition St Andrews University and everyone else involved who have been working hard over the past couple of months to launch this fantastic new website. Go check it out now at http://www.gostandrews.org/.

If you have any questions about transport in and around St Andrews please do not hesitate to contact us.

Go Active, Go Explore; Go St Andrews.

F: facebook.com/gostandrews/

T: twitter.com/gostandrews

Crossing Scotland in an Electric Car: a How-to Guide

George King, from the University’s Environment Team, describes his experience of driving an electric car on a long distance journey. The Environment Team strive to improve the sustainability agenda across the University and St Andrews.

As an occasional driver (and one who doesn’t own a car) the prospect of driving an electric car is always exciting. Previous excursions with E-Car St Andrews have been limited to Fife to avoid the need for a re-charge. However this time I decided to venture further afield – heading west to Loch Lomond – with a group of friends in tow.

You can hire electric cars and vans across St Andrews, at affordable pay-as-you-go rates

You can hire electric cars and vans across St Andrews, at affordable pay-as-you-go rates

For those who have never set foot in an electric car (aka electric vehicles, or ‘EVs’ for short) there are a few things to consider:

  1. No jangling keys. Instead you use your membership card (credit card sized) as a key to open the car. Inside the EV there is a thicker plastic card key, which you need to insert before you press the ‘start/stop’ button. All silently of course.
  2. There are no gears. Unlike most cars in the UK, there is no need for a manual transmission and instead EVs behave like automatics. Put it into ‘Drive’ and you’re good to go.
  3. You can re-charge the vehicle in various places across Scotland and the UK. Coverage of charging points is surprisingly good and with Charge Your Car (CYC) covering 99% of them you’re sure to find somewhere to plug in. It is worth noting that charging is also free.
  4. Planning is key. As we found out planning your route is essential for longer journeys to ensure you reach a charging point in time to recharge the batteries.

For our journey we set off from St Andrews, picking up a friend in Anstruther on the way, and decided to take the slightly longer route via the Forth Road Bridge and Glasgow to put the car to the test.

We knew in advance that we couldn’t make it to our destination without charging but rather than planning charge stops beforehand, we  took the impromptu method – using the CYC app to locate a charging point, on the way.

Waiting for the last bit of charge

Almost there – just 20 more minutes for this charge in Bathgate

Once the range of the EV dropped to 15 miles the ‘range anxiety’ started to kick in, we decided it was time to look for a charger as soon as we could. After a brief navigation mishap (a pessimist may say ‘lost’) we found ourselves a vacant charger. Stopping at Bathgate for an hour, we were able leave the car to charge and use the time productively, shopping for our tea and weekend supplies while we waited.

Back on the road again, we soon arrived at our friend’s flat in Balloch, where we were staying for the weekend. It was then a matter of dropping the car off at a local point, 1 mile from the flat, to re-charge overnight.

Setting out bright and early the next morning we headed for the summit of Ben Lomond in the sunshine, struggling at first with the gradient and then, believe it or not, with the heat.

Enjoying the view from the summit of Ben Lomond

Enjoying the view from the summit of Ben Lomond

After lunch a-top the Ben, we completed the circuit route, managing a swim in Loch Lomond and a pint at a local pub before the day’s end.

On the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond

We found a lovely secluded beach on the shore of Loch Lomond

The next day we had to say our goodbyes and planned our route back to St Andrews in the EV. For the return journey, we decided to go a more direct route and to charge in two short 20 minute bursts – in Stirling and Kinross. Learning from our previous mistakes we found both charging points without difficulty, giving us a brief chance to explore the outskirts of Stirling and to grab a coffee on the banks of Loch Leven.

Over the whole weekend we travelled a total of 216 miles, charged 4 times (including one overnight charge) and spent around 8 hours on the road or charging.

Our round trip route. Google predicts this round trip would take almost 6 hours in a conventional car

Our round trip route. Google predicts this round trip would take almost 6 hours in a conventional car

Although it didn’t always go to plan (when we had one), the weekend was a success and the EV certainly made the trip even more memorable – all for the right reasons.

It won’t be long before we plan our next low carbon getaway; let’s just hope another heatwave decides to join us again next time.

Why join a car club?

Why join a car club_

St Andrews has yet another claim to fame – hosting Scotland’s very first electric car club!

The club will be run by E-Car, with a fleet consisting of 8 Renault ZOEs and 2 Renault Kangoo vans available to pick up from charging locations at the Gateway building, Agnes Blackadder Hall, and David Russell Apartments, with more charging locations in the pipeline.

But what makes joining a car club better than owning your own car?

Convenience & Flexibility

Car clubs increase mobility by offering all members of the community the convenience of a car without the stresses that come with owning one. Hiring a car means there is less to worry about – the hourly fee covers everything including insurance, servicing, cleaning, maintenance, repairs, and recharging. To make journey planning even easier, E-Car’s booking system allows you to book the vehicles at a moment’s notice, or up to 2 months in advance. You don’t even need to collect a key – just wave your membership card over the reader on the windscreen to unlock the car and get going!

Saving money

Using a car club is almost always cheaper than owning, insuring, and maintaining your own car. With E-Car you pay a one-off membership fee of £50, then pay as you go depending on your usage of the vehicles – from £4.50 an hour for the ZOEs, up to £50 a day for the Kangoos. By only paying for the time that you need, you free up your budget to spend on something more exciting!

Lowering carbon emissions

It is estimated that each car club car ultimately replaces 24 privately owned vehicles on UK streets. Not only will this go a long way towards helping tackle St Andrews’ traffic and parking problems, but by replacing the cars with zero-emission electric vehicles, your personal travel carbon footprint will be lowered too.

zoe renault-kangoo-ze-630

Renault ZOE and Renault Kangoo – the two models that make up the 10-car fleet.

So there you have it – with an average range of between 65-90 miles per charge, there’s no excuse not to go and explore Fife and beyond! If you’re travelling further afield,  check out Charge Your Car for a full list of charging points, which will enable you to charge on the go, with rapid charge points reaching 80% charge in just 30 minutes!

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Got more questions? Check out E-Car’s FAQ page.

Image credit: E-Car Club St Andrews, Renault.

We’ve gone electric…will you?

Wee Green Machine at Library

Ever seen our “Wee Green Machine” driving around town? It has been used by the University’s Grounds Team since 2009, and is soon to be joined by two brand new electric vans! Once delivered in a few weeks time, all the University’s mail and catering will be delivered with a little help from some clean, green energy.

To coincide with the expansion of our fleet of electric vehicles (EVs), three new dual socket EV charging points have been installed at the Bute Building, David Russell Apartments, and Agnes Blackadder Hall, and are available for all staff and students to use for FREE!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALook out for posts like these popping up on campus!

Although two of the six available charging spaces will be used to serve the University’s mail and catering vans, the other spaces are freely available for use by any member of the University community in line with our strategic commitment to reducing transport carbon emissions.

All you need to do to use one of the charging points is to register for a “charging card” to enable access to the charging facilities with provider Charge Your Car here.

If you’ve never considered going electric before, why not check out our interview with PhD student and long-term EV convert, Euan, to get the lowdown on what it’s like to drive one, and keep up to date on the latest EV news and reviews over at EV Association Scotland.

Wee Green Machine Unveiling

Yesterday was the Wee Green Machine Unveiling Ceremony. The three kids with winning designs were finally able to see their artwork on the side of the van.

The three winners test driving the Wee Green Machine.

Read the whole story about the art competition in our previous blog.

Rowan and his design.

 

Archie and his design.

Georgia and her design.

Watch the unveiling here.

The Environment Team was excited to see the kids being so proud about their designs on the Wee Green Machine.

The Environment Team was excited to see the kids being so proud about their designs on the Wee Green Machine.

The Wee Green Machine now has it’s own profile on Facebook. Add it and if you spot the Wee Green Machine driving around town snap a photo and upload!

Lawhead Primary Electric Vehicle Art Competition

Remember our earlier post about the 100% electric vehicle and the Environment Team’s plans for brightening it up? (read the story here)

We can now reveal that a green art competition has successfully been held with P6 students at Lawhead Primary School to design a green image to be put on the sides of the van!

The students were introduced to our Wee Green Machine and given a presentation about how it does not burn fuel, but is plugged into a power source every night. Here are some of the designs that were submitted.

 

A panel of judges of Estates and Grounds staff will vote on the illustrations and chose which will win the Electric Vehicle Art Competition. Keep your eyes peeled!

University Purchases 100% Electric Vehicle

Did you know that the University of St Andrews has a 100% electric vehicle? No, neither did I until someone told me about the Mega. But it’s true, Grounds has been using an electric vehicle around campus to help out with the maintenance of the estate and gardens since February 2009. We have been leasing it for years, but have recently found funding to finally purchase our little van!

Here is what it looks like now….

A great concept, but it looks a little boring and nondescript, right? Well the Environment Team is hatching plans to brighten up our Wee Green Machine. Keep your eyes peeled for updates.