Scotland, which long has been a leading proponent of the use of clean energy, is now leaning as well into leadership in the electric vehicle space. What’s being billed as that part of the United Kingdom’s largest EV project is set for a large scale expansion.
Jewel & Esk College, leading the so far year long project, noted that for the first 12 months the low-carbon cars covered 18,000 miles without a single breakdown. The cost of charging the five vehicles was around £630 ($1015) over the year, against almost £3000 ($4837) to fill similar cars with fuel to cover the same distance.
When the project started, according to officials, it was thought the cars would have to cover 80,000 miles to break even because an average EV cost £10,000 ($16132) more than a similar car using traditional fuel. This turned out not to be the case in this field study, as the falling cost of technology meant the break-even point was now more like 40,000 miles.
Now when I’m talking large scale EV projects, the one going on over in Scotland is definitely on a smaller scale than trials you’ve seen being done by automakers like BMW. Five electric cars were the initial amount being studied, though other universities and local governments joined in and ten cars – a mixture of Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Nissan Leaf models – are being monitored from Jewel & Esk. This will soon further increase to up to 15 vehicles and their drivers.
Officials tied to this project said what they are doing is “crucial in making electric vehicles more mainstream across Scotland and further afield.” It is also tied in with new skills and research, with students at Jewel & Esk, for example, halfway through building ten charging points to be used in the project while EV technology has been embedded in motor vehicle engineering courses at the college.
“Schemes like this are crucial in the future of EVs because the results – both hard data and user experience – help us to identify challenges and how to tackle them,” said Prof Tariq Muneer, an expert in EVs at Edinburgh Napier University in a statement. “Real projects like this – tied in with relevant skills and research – will drive the EV agenda forward by building public confidence. It might be a few years before the cost of EVs and the number of charging points make them suitable for the ordinary motorist – but this project is moving us in the right direction.”