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PlugIn Adventurers to prove power of electric cars
Two intrepid adventurers keen to prove there is a future for electric vehicle and renewable energy will take to the road early tomorrow [Friday] to take on a three countries challenge in an electric car.
Ross Mackay, 29, and Chris Ramsay, 36, will travel from Aberdeen, to London and on to Cardiff then back again in just four days in an electrically powered Nissan Leaf.
The pair are working with Aberdeen car club Co-Wheels and Aberdeen City Council to raise the profile of electric cars and dispel many of the myths which still surround the vehicles. They will be making a documentary and raising money for Cancer Research along the way.
The oil industry workers are taking on the 1,500 mile challenge, along with a camera man to record the escapade, to prove that modern electric cars really are a viable option for long distance journeys and can do more than just the school run.
Co-Wheels has provided an electric vehicle, which will officially become part of the Co-Wheels fleet, for the PlugIn Adventure, and will be supporting Ross and Chris on their journey.
The team has mapped out charging points en-route, including at Nissan service centres, and using rapid charge technology, face stops of only 20 minutes to recharge the battery, which will take them about 120 miles per charge.
Chris said he and Ross had been looking for an adventure and the idea of testing the endurance of an electric vehicle over a long distance, and using the adventure to promote sustainable modes of transport seemed like an ideal option.
"We weren't sure how to go about doing this, but I knew Gordon McIntosh (the council's director of Enterprise, Planning and Infrastructure) was really keen on sustainable transport and renewable energy, so we approached him with the idea and he agreed to support us. He put us in touch with Co-Wheels and it's gone from there.
"The PlugIn Adventure has been in the planning now for about a year now, though we started with the concept about two years ago. We wanted to do something focusing on renewables and we started looking towards electric vehicles and realised they're actually a lot better than many people thought. The PlugIn Adventure will prove just how good they are."
Ross added: "I am passionate about renewables. My Dad has worked offshore since the late 1970s, and I'm in the industry now (onshore). Oil has done a lot for Aberdeen, but we have to be socially responsible and look to more sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels for the future.
"Scotland as a whole and Aberdeen particularly is so well-placed to be at the forefront. We have potential for so much here with regards wind and wave for instance, and much industry expertise in the city. Electric vehicles are just a small part of this, but I think it's a real positive step that Aberdeen City Council in conjunction with Co-Wheels are bringing electric vehicles to their fleet, and likewise the hydrogen buses the council has planned for the city.
"We want to show that electric vehicles specifically, and 'sustainably powered' vehicles in general, have moved on. Range is no longer an issue. We're going to extremes but we want to show that currently available electric vehicles are more than adequate for the average family run-around to go to work, pick kids up from school and get the shopping in. It's only going to get better too.
"The technology is improving and becoming more affordable all the time. I think it's also important we touch on how the electricity is provided though. Obviously if the electricity isn't 'clean', that is from renewable, sustainable sources, then we're not really achieving any net reduction in emissions etc. We also want to touch on the chicken-egg situation re number of electric vehicles on the road versus number of charging stations."
The PlugIn Adventure comes days ahead of the launch of the Aberdeen Co-Wheels car club's latest innovation it is introducing electric vehicles to its steadily-growing fleet. If all goes to plan, the adventurers will be back in the city just in time for the Co-Wheels electric vehicles launch.
Co-wheels in Aberdeen is one of the UK's fastest growing car clubs. It hit the headlines when it became the first in the world to trial hydrogen-powered vehicles and just last month became the first car club in the UK to offer wheelchair accessible vehicles to members.
Co-ordinator Tony Archer said: "We're really delighted to be able to support Chris and Ross with the PlugIn Adventure. It's an exciting project which will help to promote electric vehicles and car clubs across the UK.
"Chris and Ross will be updating us on their progress throughout the journey. They've put a huge amount of effort into the planning stages and I'm sure that this 1,500 mile trip will be a success. It's a fantastic way of showing how good electric vehicles really are. I'm particularly looking forward to seeing their documentary at the end of the trip, and finding out how much they manage to raise for Co-Wheels' nominated charity Cancer Research."
You can support their cause here:
Aberdeen City Council has recently increased the number of electric vehicle charging points available in the city. Charging points are available at the following locations:
Rapid charger (can charge two vehicles simultaneously) Gallowgate car park, south side by exit, AB25 1DL and Sclattie Park car park, Bucksburn, AB21 9RG. Both are available 24 hours.
Fast charger (can charge two vehicles at once) Chapel Street car park, AB10 1ST (ground floor by exit) and Frederick Street car park, AB24 5HY (ground floor). Both are available 24 hours.
Standard charger (can charge two vehicles at once) Gallowgate car park, AB25 1DL (north side by entrance); West North Street car park, AB25 1DR (ground floor by entrance); Polmuir Road, AB11 7TH (at rear gates to Duthie Park); Kingswells Park and Ride, AB15 8PL (in upper car park). These are available 24 hours.
Standard charger (can charge two vehicles at once) Marischal College car park, AB10 1AB (ground floor by entrance). Available on Thursday nights from 6pm to 8pm, Saturday from 8am to 6pm and Sunday from 1pm to 5pm.
For more information about electric vehicles and charging points in the city visit: http://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/planning_environment/planning/transport/pla_electric_vehicle_charging.asp