Silence of the cars on St Andrews roads

Charlie Quigley of E car with one of the Renault Zoe electric cars to be launched in the St Andrews Car Club (Photograph by Peter Adamson)
Charlie Quigley of E car with one of the Renault Zoe electric cars to be launched in the St Andrews Car Club (Photograph by Peter Adamson)

A silent revolution hit St Andrews this week as townsfolk were able to see the cars to be operated by Scotland’s first electric car club.

The club launches officially next week, but vehicles arrived in town at the beginning of April for final testing before the scheme goes live.

The Citizen was given a test drive this week and a chance to see how the scheme will work in St Andrews.

Eight cars and two vans will be available for St Andrews residents, businesses and students to use as members of the car club.

Charlie Quigley, E-car’s head of network development, sees the club as a way to combat St Andrews’ traffic and parking problems.

“We currently have five charging locations in St Andrews,” he said. “We hope that by doubling that number we will reduce the number of conventional cars in each location by half.”

The charging points - where car club members pick up and drop off their vehicles - are at Agnes Blackadder Hall, David Russell Apartments and the Gateway, but Mr Quigley plans another five points, stressing: “We want to have an even spread of charging locations across the town.”

The car club costs £50 to join - a one-off payment - then club members pay by hire - from as little as £4.50 for an hour in a car to £50 for a day’s hire of the Renault Kangoo vans. There are no hidden costs - that’s it. The fee covers all car costs, including maintenance, cleaning and recharging.

The vehicles are all automatic and are ... different to drive, with the silence of the ride overwhelming - press the start button and you are ready to go, but there’s no engine noise.

The car, a Renault Zoe, has great acceleration and is a speedy little number which will hold its on motorways as well as in towns.

Technology is all-important to this car club and everything from booking a car to gaining access to it is done on-line or with swipe cards or buttons.