Scotland hosts first electric car rally
Sixty electric cars took part in a rally between Stirling and Glasgow over the weekend to celebrate the launch of a new electric vehicle (EV) subsidy.
The sixty-mile round trip, led by Scrapheap Challenge presenter Robert Llewellyn in his Tesla, cost drivers around £1.50, compared to £9 for a petrol-powered journey.
Taking place on Saturday, the convoy set off from George Square in Glasgow, and toured Stirling, before returning to Glasgow.
The rally was hosted to promote the recent launch of a £2.5m electric vehicle loan fund from the Scottish Government. Businesses can now receive interest-free loans up to £100,000 to cover the cost of an EV, with individuals qualifying for loans up to £50,000.
The new Scottish loan can also be used alongside the existing UK Government Plug-In Car and Van Grant scheme, which offers grants of up to £5,000 for those buying a new electric car and £8,000 for a van.
Scotland’s Transport Minister Derek Mackay 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 was born from the same concept as Formula E – using motorsport to help change perceptions of EVs. These tactics, along with subsidy support, saw UK sales of EVs triple in the first half of 2015, from 4,096 in 2014 to 14,126 in 2015.
Last month, a Government study also found that ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) are increasingly being used like 'normal' cars. In households which own ULEVs, 82% use the low emission car as their main vehicle, while 20% of people who own electric vehicles use it as their only vehicle.
Electric vehicles are also steadily increasing in range, with Nissan announcing last week that its flagship LEAF model now has a single-charge range of 155 miles.
Since the Plug-In Car and Van Grant scheme was introduced in January 2011, more than 34,000 eligible vehicles have been registered across the UK.