Red Dwarf star and Scrapheap Challenge presenter Robert Llewellyn led a convoy of 60 electric cars on a rally between Glasgow and Stirling on Saturday, to celebrate the launch of a new £2.5million Electric Vehicle Loan fund.
The actor and presenter of online electric car show, Fully Charged, drove his Tesla Model S 85 from George Square into the grounds of the University of Stirling, accompanied by 60 other electric car drivers.
After a tour of Stirling and a stop at Stirling University, the drivers returned to Glasgow, making the round trip almost 60 miles on a single charge. On average, the journey cost each electric car around £1.50 – compared to approximately £9.00 for a petrol vehicle.
The rally took place following the announcement of a £2.5million Electric Vehicle Loan fund from Transport Scotland, an agency of the Scottish Government, which offers Scottish motorists interest-free loans covering 100% of the cost of an electric or plug-in hybrid car of up to £50,000.
Robert Llewellyn said: “Electric cars are here to stay and people are beginning to realise what a great alternative to petrol or diesel they are. They are economical, practical and a pleasure to drive. Most of all, they don’t emit any harmful emissions, improving local air quality and making them much friendlier on the environment and our health.”
Joining Robert at the start of the rally was Scotland’s Transport Minister, Derek Mackay, who flagged the drivers off on their way to Stirling.
He said: “It is fantastic to see so many enthusiastic participants and such a variety of cars taking part in Scotland’s first ever electric vehicle rally. With no dirty exhaust fumes or revving engines, this must be the quietest and most environmentally considerate rally spectators will see this year!
“This event challenges old perceptions about the range and performance of electric vehicles and may perhaps encourage those in the market for a new car to consider going electric.
“The recent launch of the £2.5million EV loan fund means we’re enabling even more people than ever before to make the switch and buy one – saving money, reducing emissions and making our communities greener, cleaner and healthier.”
The rally included a mixture of pure electric cars and plug-in hybrids, including the BMW i3, BMW i8, Mitsubishi Outlander, Renault Zoe, the Nissan Leaf and the VW Golf GTE.
Mike Thornton, Director of Energy Saving Trust Scotland said: “Through Scotland’s growing network of rapid chargers, most electric cars can be charged to 80% of their capacity within 20 minutes and boast a running cost of only 2-3p per mile – compared to 15p for the average petrol car.
“As well as the public charging network, electric car drivers can get domestic chargers installed at home for free. Together with Scottish Government’s new interest-free loan, it has never been easier to buy an electric car with zero emissions.”
Applications for the loan close on 31 March, 2016. Businesses are also able to apply for an interest-free loan under the scheme, with the upper limit rising to £100,000. There has been a threefold increase in the number of electric vehicles registered in the first six months of the year across the UK, up from 4,096 in 2014 to 14,126 for the same period in 2015 across the UK.
The UK Government’s Plug-In Car and Van Grant scheme offers grants of up to £5,000 for those buying a new electric car and £8,000 for a van. This discount is applied at the point of sale. Since the scheme was introduced in January 2011, more than 34,000 eligible vehicles have been registered across the UK.
For more information on how to apply for the loan, visit www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/EVloan, or phone 0808 808 2282.