Driving on Good Energy
Switching on to Good Energy
Electric cars are here to stay: Powered by the UK grid rather than petrol or diesel they herald a new age of cleaner personal transportation. Zero Carbon World is a UK charity that promotes the use of these cars to achieve their wider aim of reducing carbon emissions in the UK.
What is Good Energy?
Good Energy isn't like any other energy supplier – they deal in clean energy. That is: Energy that comes from 100% renewable sources. The energy used by a Good Energy subscriber is bought from a verified renewable source making it totally free of carbon emissions.
Currently the UK grid emits an average of 430g of carbon with every kilowatt-hour produced. Good Energy's customers are responsible for none of this as their demands are met by using 100% renewable energy. Good Energy's fuel mix comprises wind, solar, biogen and hydro power, all of which comes from a community of over 40,000 independent suppliers across Britain.
Good Energy reinvests in renewable energy to create a cycle of improvement that can only get cleaner as more people join.
What is Zero Carbon World?
Zero Carbon World is a UK charity that wants to clear the confusion, bureaucracy and profiteering surrounding decarbonisation. It is their vision to live in a sustainable and equitable decarbonised society.
They promote this change by showing that low cost solutions can induce dramatic reductions in carbon emissions. Their current project aims to reduce the carbon emissions of personal transport, which accounts for nearly 30% of the UK's carbon output, by supporting the adoption of electric cars.
Government research has shown that buyers often state the lack of charging infrastructure as one of their main concerns when buying an electric car; conversely, many businesses don't want to install Charging Stations until more cars are on the road. Zero Carbon World wants to solve this negative cycle by donating Charging Stations to businesses. In doing so they are creating the only national, open network of charging locations – Zero:Net.
The cost of driving on electric power
Electric cars provide a cleaner mode of transportation than the internal combustion engine (ICE). Fewer moving parts mean less energy loss resulting in cars which can travel around 100 miles for as little as £1.70.
The same £1.70 will buy roughly 1.22 litres of petrol. The new Toyota Prius T3, which travels 72.4 miles per gallon on the combined cycle, will only manage 19.4 miles using this much fuel.
An internal combustion engine only uses 15-20% of the energy stored within the fuel to move a car forward. The rest of the energy is wasted in heat and noise. Conversely over 80% of the energy stored in a battery is used to move an electric car forward making them a much more cost-effective use of energy.
Passenger cars in the UK account for 40% of UK travel carbon emissions. This equates to over 69 million tonnes of carbon per year. The adoption of electric cars would go a long way in reducing this figure.
If only 10% of UK drivers switched to electric cars and used Good Energy it would instantly reduce the UK's carbon emissions by almost 7 million tonnes per year.
The long tailpipe
Critics of electric cars often point to the 'long tailpipe' indicating that the power used to charge them has emissions. While this can be true, an electric car powered from the average UK grid mix is still 80% cleaner than an average new ICE car in the UK. And this is without taking into account the energy used in extracting, transporting and refining the fuel used in ICE cars.
Combine electric vehicles with Good Energy and the result is a car that has no emissions at all.
Fully electric, battery-powered vehicles – if using zero of low-carbon electricity – offer the most direct opportunity to decarbonize road transport over the longer term… King, 2008
Electric cars are here to stay
Most major manufacturers will have a plug-in car on the road by the end of 2013, be that a full electric car such as the Nissan Leaf, a plug-in hybrid like the Toyota Plug-in Prius or a range extended electric car such as the Vauxhall Ampera.
This variety of choice will allow consumers to choose the car that both meets their needs and reduces the UK's carbon emissions.
Currently there are thousands of plug-in vehicles in the UK, their current drivers form the first wave in one of the UK's fastest growing markets and they are all looking for destinations that offer charging. With the Department for Transport setting a target of 1.2 million plug-in cars on the road by 2020, Charging Stations will soon become a 'must have' for all customer orientated destinations.
Installing electric car Charging Stations
Installing an electric car Charging Station needn't be a complicated or time intensive process. Working with Zero Carbon World and their partners, businesses can get two free Charging Stations and have them installed at specially agreed rates.
Zero Carbon World donates two Charging Stations to locations where drivers can spend time and relax while waiting for their car to charge. They also sell their Charging Stations to locations that do not meet their donation criteria. They pride themselves on having the cheapest and most reliable Charging Stations on the market.
What is the Centre for Alternative Technology?
CAT is an education and visitor centre which demonstrates practical solutions for sustainability. We cover all aspects of green living: environmental building, eco-sanitation, woodland management, renewable energy, energy efficiency and organic growing. CAT website
The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) is located in Machynlleth, Wales and has been operating for over 35 years. Beginning life as a community dedicated to eco friendly principles and a test bed for new ideas and technologies, it has grown into a 7-acre site full of hands-on displays and gardens that demonstrate solutions for sustainability.
The centre generates renewable electricity on-site from solar, wind and hydro sources. Any extra demand is met by Good Energy, which ensures CAT is a 100% renewable powered site.
'We are an education and visitor centre which demonstrates practical solutions for sustainability,' says Jaise Kuriakose, Electrical Engineer at the Centre for Alternative Technology. 'We will be providing a free charging facility for visitors to CAT.
'Having a Charging Station at CAT will be in line with our vision of zero carbon Britain by 2030. Around 20% of our electricity is generated onsite from our own renewable sources and is topped up from the grid sourced through a 100% renewable electricity supplier. The Charging Stations will enable us to provide zero emission transport to the public in Wales.'
In early 2012 the Centre for Alternative Technology approached Zero Carbon Worldto apply for free electric car Charging Stations. By the end of April they had two working Charging Stations and were offering free 100% renewable power to visitors of the site.
The Centre for Alternative Technology forms one of the 20% of Zero:Net locations that provide renewable power to their visitors. Through the installation of simple, low-cost Charging Stations, local energy generation and a Good Energy power connection it is possible today to drive a car to and from CAT zero emissions.
How you can switch on to Good Energy
By putting the methods showcased at the Centre for Alternative Technology to good use you can take some simple steps to becoming a user of renewable energy. While installing onsite generation is one way forward you could also follow their example switch to Good Energy as your energy supplier.
Supporting electric cars either by choosing one as your next car or by installing a Charging Station at your business will help reduce the carbon cost of driving in the UK. Not only will you save money in your pocket by driving a electric car you will also reduce the wider cost of your transportation by removing your personal travel carbon emissions.
Help us encourage more people to drive with Zero Carbon emissions by switching to Good Energy's 100% renewable electricity today. Quote 'Zero Carbon World' and the nice people at Good Energy will donate £25 to Zero Carbon World and give you £25 off your first bill.
Good Energy: www.goodenergy.co.uk
Zero Carbon World: www.zerocarbonworld.org
Centre for Alternative Technology: www.cat.org.uk