Residents and visitors can now enjoy the benefits of using a car without having to own one thanks to the launch of a new electric car club in Poole.
Borough of Poole has partnered with Co-wheels, the country's only independent national car club, to provide an initial three electric cars on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Car club members can benefit from a cheaper, greener and more convenient alternative to owning and using their own car. Book a car online or over the phone, and use a membership card to access it – there’s no need for a key. At the end of the booking, simply return the car back into its bay. Insurance and fuel are included, and you only pay for the time you hire.
The electric cars will be exclusively used by council staff between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday. The cars are then available to members of the public, and staff for personal use, during evenings, weekends and public holidays.
Two Car Club cars are located in the surface car park next to the Civic Centre and the third can be found at Newfields in Hatchpond.
Cllr Ian Potter, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Transportation, Borough of Poole, said: “We are delighted that this scheme is now up and running and offers our community a more sustainable travel option.
“In the coming months we hope to trial an innovative ‘Travelmates’ scheme, whereby groups of car club members will carshare and move vehicles between a day time business location and an evening and weekend residential location. This means that some of the cars can be located in other parts of the town, giving more Poole residents access to a car club car in their neighbourhood. If the Poole Car Club proves really popular then we will consider adding more vehicles as membership and usage grows.
"I’m also pleased that the electric vehicles based at the Civic Centre will use electricity generated by the solar panels installed on the multi-storey car park. This is a UK first and a great example of how our joined up energy thinking can benefit Poole in the longer term."
Andy Rutter, Co-wheels Operations Manager said: “Co-wheels are delighted to be supporting Borough of Poole in launching and developing the car club. I am sure that together we will provide a great, sustainable travel option for both residents of Poole and visitors alike.”
Julian McLaughlin, Head of Growth and Infrastructure, Borough of Poole, said: “In the current financial climate we need to look at how we can do things differently and still benefit Poole residents. By using car club vehicles rather than their own cars, our staff will be demonstrating that electric vehicles are a viable, zero emission, alternative to conventional vehicles. The car club cars will also save the council money compared to staff using their own vehicles for business travel. Additionally, in the evenings and at weekends, residents who join the car club will be able to use the car club vehicles and have all the benefits of using a car without having the cost of owning one.”