The electric vehicle revolution is well under way, with the UK Government set to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. Electric cars perform far better than petrol and diesel cars when it comes to emissions, although they still have a substantial carbon footprint due to their manufacture and the production of the electricity they run on . Charging using renewable energy sources will help to reduce the footprint of electric vehicles even further.
If you are replacing your car then now is the time to go electric, with various government loans and grants available to help you make the transition (see links below). Otherwise the best option is to look after your car and keep it running for as long as possible - this will help to reduce its overall impact since a large chunk of the carbon footprint of vehicles comes from their manufacture.
Electric Vehicle charging points
The UK charging point infrastructure is changing rapidly, with thousands of new charging points being added every year. There are many resources online for finding public charging points, such as this interactive map from Zap Map. In the East Neuk there are currently public charging points in St Monans, Anstruther and Crail, as well as at Scotland's Secret Bunker.
Buying an electric vehicle
Interest-free loans of up to £28,000 for new vehicles or £20,000 for used vehicles are available from the Energy Saving Trust. You can also get a grant of up to £350 for installation of a home EV charging point from OZEV, and a further £250 from the Energy Saving Trust.
Charge using your solar panels
If you have solar PV installed at your home then chargers are available that will use any excess power you generate to charge your car, such as the Zappi from myenergi. The charger has various modes, including one which draws 100% of power from your solar PV (or wind generation). This not only provides you with free, clean energy for your car but also acts as a way of storing some of the excess energy that you generate.
If you are not quite ready to go electric yet there are some simple things you can do to reduce the carbon footprint of driving, and save yourself some money on fuel at the same time:
1. Put more people in the car. A small, efficient car with four people in it can compete with rail travel in terms of emissions per person .
2. Look after your car. Keep it on the road for as long as possible.
3. Drive efficiently, avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration. More tips on fuel-efficient driving can be found here.
4. Drive at 60 mph on motorways.
5. Keep the air-conditioning off and the windows up when driving fast.
6. Keep the tyres at the right pressure.
7. Avoid rush hour traffic where possible.
8. If you are travelling alone use a bike, train or bus.