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28 Jan 2016 04:01:00

Big60Million and E-Car support Southam community transport scheme

Ted Dowdeswell, e-Wheels; Bob Sherman, HEI chairman, Larissa Clark, Big60Million
Harbury Energy Initiative launches “e-Wheels” to respond to rural crises

Southam, Warwickshire — For countryside dwellers without access to a car who find themselves requiring urgent help or support, the leisurely pace of rural life can suddenly feel a bit too leisurely! In the village of Harbury, near Southam Solar Farm in Warwickshire, the Big60Million community benefit energy company and electric car rental club E-Car are helping local volunteers to expand an eco-friendly community transport scheme to bring mobility support to residents in need.

The Harbury Energy Initiative (HEI) is a volunteer-run group that aims to conserve energy, reduce household costs and reduce the carbon footprint of its local community. In 2014, HEI set up a car-sharing club with funding from the Department for Transport and Carplus Trust. In an eco-friendly twist, the club uses only electric vehicles: two Renault ZOE cars provided by E-Car Club, a UK-wide car sharing organisation that operates a fleet of purely electric vehicles.

Alongside its subscription-based car sharing service for members, HEI is launching the new e-Wheels community transport scheme, supported by Big60Million and E-Car Club. e-Wheels will use HEI’s E-Car electric cars to run missions of social benefit: providing personal transport to residents in acute need, for example, or delivering donated goods to warehouses. The scheme will accept referrals from local agencies such as childcare centres, Age Concern, social services, surgeries and food banks. e-Wheels services will be provided at no cost to users, with volunteer drivers receiving free E-Car Club membership.

Big60Million CEO Toddington Harper said:

“By using zero-emission electric vehicles to help isolated local residents in their hour of need, HEI’s inspiring community transport scheme embraces exactly the type of community and environmental values that Big60Million is built upon. We are very happy to be involved in a project that fits so well with our own raison d’être.”

Chris Morris, Managing Director of E-Car Club, commented:

“This project fits perfectly with E-Car’s core mission to improve local mobility while at the same time reducing both the environmental impact and cost of each journey decision made. Thanks to the support of HEI, Big60Million and the e-Wheels volunteers we’re going to be able to offer flexible, low cost and sustainable transport to those in the community that truly need it most. I’m delighted we’re a part of this programme and hope it proves a blueprint for similar schemes across the country.”

Bob Sherman, co-founder and chairman of HEI, added:

“It has been truly energising to have such strong support from Big60Million and E-Car for the e-Wheels scheme. Without this help, many socially disadvantaged people in our neighbouring communities would be left with few or no transport options to get to appointments or receive emergency assistance. We are particularly grateful to Big60Million for the speed of their response. I only had to sketch our plan briefly and they came behind it instantly.”

HEI intends to set up a “cloud”-based logging system for e-Wheels referrals, through which project participants will be able to monitor the uptake and progress of the scheme.

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