An electric car club in the Scottish Borders town of Hawick
Background and setup
The Teviot Electric Car Club (TECC) operates from the Scottish Borders town of Hawick with support from Hiyacar. The service, which consists of two EVs, was launched in February 2020. They are located adjacent to the main bus stance where all of the bus routes coincide, giving the club high prominence. While developing the service, the group researched the demographics of car club users and assessed the potential users in the local vicinity. They found that in the Teviot and Liddesdale area 15% of residents do not have access to a vehicle, while 10% have more than one vehicle. TECC saw both of these groups as potential target markets for car club use. They also used previous research undertaken by CoMoUK to assess the potential for car clubs in their planning.
Users and impacts
Initially uptake was disrupted by Covid-19 restrictions but despite those constraints, in the first seven months of the service, the vehicles have been driven 2,400 miles. TECC estimates this has reduced emissions by 500kg CO₂e. As of December 2022 they have 45 members, an increase from 27 in 2020 so they are looking to grow their fleet. Anecdotally one member has disposed of their car, whilst another is planning to do so, and at least two others have used the club EVs rather than their vehicles for some longer journeys. The cars are located next to the main bus stops for the town and near a significant active travel network. The local authority has recently upgraded the bus stops, meaning the area is now an attractive hub for transport interchange.
TECC has installed additional chargepoints for the EVs, though this was challenging because the site, being a car park, does not have a mailing address or postcode, which makes discussions with the telecoms operators and the Distribution Network Operator difficult. These organisations do not appear to have a process in place to resolve this issue. This is proving time-consuming and difficult for TECC to overcome.
What has made them successful?
TECC found it is vital to have a supportive team of at least three or four volunteers in place to set up a community-run car club. It is a significant commitment, and the project manager needs to be tenacious and committed to finding solutions. They have also kept prices low to attract as many members as possible.