Innovative Cumbrian scheme leads the way as country's homebuilders are urged to follow..........
Are you driving an electric car? Thinking of getting one? Two per cent of all new car sales in the UK are now electric, and although that's relatively low, sales are up 38% and the National Grid has predicted that the number of electric cars could accelerate to nine million by 2030.
We're pretty well educated in the pros of electric cars, but one of the cons has always been the worry that your super green machine will run out of charge if you're travelling through an area where charging points are few and far between.
Cumbria has been one such region (and more electricity is used climbing hills, which Cumbria has plenty of). But things are getting better. A glance across the UK's 14,000 or so charging points on ZapMap shows Cumbria still has holes, but is far better equipped than in the past.
Even so, it makes your journey far less stressful if you can top up at home so you're ready to travel 100 miles or so without first stopping off somewhere.
This has been a problem for many, though. It is recommended that only people with off-street parking have a charge point installed at their home, due to safety and security. Suitable location and cost has been a barrier to others.
In future, house builders would be well advised to take note of innovative schemes such as in Cumbria at Scalesceugh Hall & Villas, where charging points are being supplied for residents.
The number of new homes being built in the UK is at a ten-year high, and the government wants 300,000 houses to be built each year. But there are currently sparse plans to equip developments with electric charging points.
Dr Anita Herdeiro, of Scalesceugh Hall & Villas, a luxury development between Carlisle and Penrith for over-55s, says: "We are keen to raise the bar when looking at lifestyle as we age. More and more people want to be responsible and take care of the challenges that are happening in the environment.
"We believe in creating something which is for the future and has insight into the current challenges we are facing as a society. Electric cars are very much a part of that.
"We are concerned about CO2 emissions and global warming, and have noticed how countries like Norway are tackling this and trying to be future proof. By making more charging points accessible, it helps with the use and network of the cars .
"We live in beautiful countryside and we want to keep it that way."
Norway is indeed leading the world on this technology, followed some way back by Hong Kong, Iceland and Sweden.
About four in 10 of all new cars sold in Norway this year will be a plug-in vehicle – fully electric or a hybrid.
As well as helping the environment, it makes financial sense to buy electric. While the initial buying price might be higher, this is more than offset by lower running costs over the following years.
A full charge in an electric (not hybrid) car will give a driving range of about 100 miles and cost £3 - £5, compared with a cost of £11 - £16 driving 100 miles in a petrol or diesel car.
There are also fewer parts to go wrong in an electric car, which cuts costs on servicing and maintenance. And Vehicle Excise Duty is zero for pure electric vehicles costing under £40,000.
Here's a good video by the Energy Saving Trust (voiced by Red Dwarf's Kryten - Robert Llewellyn) to explain a bit more...