Posts Tagged ‘Electric Car’

May – Car Project Progress

June 2, 2010

The two zero carbon project cars (electric Bluebell and biodiesel Mr Chips) have now travelled a total of 8145 miles between them replacing miles travelled by our own petrol or diesel cars and saving a total of 2.8 tonnes of carbon since the project started in February. For some reason our usage level has dropped this month, we are not sure why. Our carbon savings for May were the lowest since the project started in February. Hopefully, usage will pick up again – Mr Chips certainly has a few long trips booked in for the summer months.

Bluebell has been branching out this month – bored with trolling in and out of Brecon, she’s been broadening her horizons –  Abergavenny, Crickhowell and, most recently, Hay-on-Wye for the Hay Festival (see earlier post on this topic). It’s interesting to take her further afield and face the challenges of finding how and where to recharge an electric car. Not easy.

Similarly, Mr Chips made his longest trip yet – to Scotland and back for a 10 day trip carrying 4 people. This involved finding a source of biodiesel in Glasgow and arranging to fill him up there.

In both cases, one feels very much the pioneer with eco-motoring. The gap between the hype and reality is quite marked.

Bluebell has also been busy starring at various events: the Presteigne bike rally, the Abergavenny Steam Fair and the World Environment Day in Brecon – she is preparing herself right now for an interview and photo call with the Brecon & Radnor Express tomorrow morning. Fortunately, she takes it all in her stride.

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Bluebell visits the Hay Festival

June 2, 2010

Bluebell made her longest ever trip yet to the Hay Festival on Sunday morning (19 miles each way by the back roads) with 3 aboard. We had emailed in advance to ask if we could charge her and a helpful Andy Fryers (“Mr Green” of the Festival) explained that we were the first ever Hay visitors to make this request but he would sort us out.

Fortunately, we arrived about 40 minutes before our ticketed session because the security staff on the parking sites were friendly but bewildered by our need for a charging point. After about 30 minutes of scootering around the site, we eventually were provided with a place where Bluebell could park and a long extension lead. We stupidly had neglected to bring along one of our own. (Safety note for long distance Bluebell adventurers).  The above photo of is Bluebell happily recharging behind the portaloos with our helpful Hay Festival steward in attendance.

The experience brought home to us that, for all the talk of electric vehicles, there is still a real gap between hype and reality. We felt like real pioneers!

The good news? We parked for free and charged for free – Thank you Hay Festival!

We plan to return in Bluebell on Friday and see if repeating the exercise is any easier….

Actually, we think we *might* have made the round trip without recharging but it would have been a slow and alarmingly close run thing. Not recommended. In the 3 hours we were at the Festival, Bluebell recovered all her charge and we zoomed (in a Bluebell sense of zooming) home to Talybont.

Car project progress in April

May 5, 2010

It is now the end of our 3rd month of the car project (April) and the two cars (Bluebell and Mr Chips) have travelled a total of 6455 miles (38% of our target mileage) and saved 2.5 metric tonnes of fossil CO2 (58% of our carbon target for the year). That is roughly equivalent to switching off  all electricity in an average Powys household for a year. We are beginning to think we should have set ourselves a more ambitious target!

The big step forward in April was the long-awaited filling of our own private biodiesel tank with 500L of recycled vegetable oil. All project members can now fill Mr Chips whenever he needs it. It’s as good as having our own private filling station but without the chance to purchase newspapers and the odd pint of milk or mars bar. Maybe that will come!

Bluebell continues to pootle happily in and out of Brecon with the odd interlude as a taxi carrying visitors up to the Talybont turbine.  She currently has some spare capacity although one has to take into account the time she needs to re-charge at the end of a trip.

Mr Chips has broader horizons and continues to roam the length and breadth of the UK – Devon and Cornwall one week and Lancashire the next.  We’ve changed his fuel filter for a 2nd time and he should now have got all the ordinary diesel sludge out of his system. According to his dashboard guage, he achieved 73 MPG on a 400 mile round trip last week which is as efficient as the same model of car running on ordinary fuel.

For more details about the project, click here.

Car project progress in March

April 7, 2010

It’s the end of our 2nd month of the Talybont car project and the two cars have travelled a total of 3871 miles (23% of our target mileage) and saved 1.395 metric tonnes of fossil CO2 (30% of our carbon target for the year). That is roughly equivalent to switching off  all electricity in an average household for 7 months. So, things are going well.

Electric “Bluebell” continues to make everyone (drivers, passengers and onlookers) smile as she bumbles busily (but silently) along the back lanes in and out of Brecon and Crickhowell. For the lucky project members who live in the village, the online booking system enables them to book Bluebell on the spur of the moment as well as for planned trips. This ad hoc use removes some fears about a community car share scheme.  We are also  using Bluebell to transport visitors on trips to see the Talybont Turbine. This is about a 2 mile trip uphill but Bluebell relishes the challenge even with 4 aboard.

Mr Chips (Biodiesel) continues to swan around the UK – mainly on day long or overnight work trips although he’s booked out for several long weekends in April and May for short holidays or visiting distant relatives. Our biodiesel supplier has, unfortunately, still not been able to provide a bulk delivery to fill our 1400L tank so we are continuing to fill Mr Chips from 25L canisters which is a messy process. We hope this situation will change later this month.

Our shared Google Docs spreadsheet (for recording log book hours and mileages and calculating monthly invoice totals for project members) is working fine. If the log books in the cars didn’t have to be paper-based, we’d be totally streamlined.

527kg CO2 saved in first 2 weeks of Car Project

March 2, 2010

Our 2010 experiment is to see if 11 households in Talybont-on-Usk can reduce their CO2 emissions from personal car travel by 10% by using two zero carbon community cars (one electric and one biodiesel) in place of our own cars. The project started in February.

Together, we hope to reduce our carbon emissions by 4.26 tonnes over the year – equal to 17,050 miles of normal driving.

We’ve got off to a great start. The first month (February) has seen us save 527kg of CO2. This calculation takes into account the individual CO2 emissions for each member’s own car.

Electric ‘Bluebell’ has been busily bumbling into Brecon and back on an almost daily basis – she’s even managed 3 passengers on one occasion! She’s not keen on hills or overtaking but happily manages 30 mph plus on the level.

‘Mr (100% Biodiesel) Chips’, meanwhile has been traversing the UK from Cornwall to Aberystwyth without a murmer. We are desperately hoping that our biodiesel tank will be installed in the village this month as filling a thirsty biodiesel car from 25L cans of converted chip oil is messy process….

Our online booking system seems to be working smoothly. We are operating a shared spreadsheet calculating charges and carbon saved. Our only problem so far? The padlock on Bluebell’s charging point getting stuck. Soon resolved.

Week 1 of the Talybont Green Car project

February 21, 2010

Well, the car project has got off to a bumper first week – Mr Chips visited Aberystwyth, Launceston, Newport, Cardiff and Tonmawr racking up 844 replacement car miles. Little Bluebell made her humble but valuable contribution of 61 miles, bumbling merrily in and out of Brecon! So, that’s a total of 905 replacement miles in Week 1 which equates to a CO2 saving of 226 kg. That’s roughly equivalent to turning off the electricity completely in an average household for 35 days….

Only another 4 tonnes to go to achieve our CO2 reduction target for the year….

Talybont Green Car project is Launched

February 15, 2010

We launched our long-awaited Green Car Project at our Talybont Energy Freecycle event on Saturday 13th February. There was cake, balloons, a speech, fizzy drinks and lots of people to stand in the cold and clap – what more could you ask for?

It’s now Day 2 and both cars are booked out and busy – all-electric Bluebell has been in and out of Brecon carrying one of the project members to his Welsh class. Mr Chips (who runs on 100% biodiesel) is off in Aberystwyth today and off to Launceston tomorrow. We need to average around 1500 “zero carbon” replacement miles a month to reach our 10% reduction target. It looks like we are on our way…

Bluebell’s Charging Point at Henderson Hall

February 5, 2010

Talybont Energy is very grateful to the Henderson Hall committee for allowing us to install an external, lockable charging point for Bluebell (our electric car) at the community hall in Talybont. We plan to install PV panels on the roof of the hall later this year which means that we could then say that Bluebell is solar charged. At the moment, we like to think of her as water-charged courtesy of the Talybont Turbine which, in theory, could charge a fleet of 55 such cars.

Talybont Energy’s Electric Car Arrives

January 27, 2010

Yesterday we collected “Bluebell” our new Mega City Electric car from Dragon Electric Vehicles in Cwmdu. Bluebell is one of the two cars in this year’s Talybont car share project. The other one is a biodiesel car for longer distance trips and carrying more people.

She’s a funky  blue and, with your foot hard down on the accelerator, she’ll happily pootle along at 38mph on the level – ideal for a run into Brecon and back along the B4558. She adopts a more conservative speed on hills and certainly likes to be fed (see photo) little and often, we are discovering.

We can view her as charged (indirectly) by our own Taylbont turbine….  she may be the first car powered by water! …

Watch out for a bright blue flash around the lanes of Powys…..