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Scheme to offer e-bike hire and car pooling

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AN electric car pooling and e-bike hire scheme is due to launch early next year in Jersey with the aim of revolutionising how Islanders think about and use transport.

Andrew Ruellan and Gavin Breeze, directors of EVie. Picture: JON GUEGAN. (26629046)

The project, which is backed by Digital Jersey, is due to see local firm EVie supply four to ten electric cars at locations in St Helier, including on the Parade and near the library on Halkett Place.

The vehicles will be hireable for £7.50 an hour via a smartphone app that will supply downloadable keys which lock, unlock and start the vehicles. The app will also display their availability and allow bookings to be made.

Drivers would have to pick up the car and drop it back at the parking point but future expansion plans could see further drop-off points in St Aubin, St Brelade and Gorey. Similar schemes have been rolled out in cities such as London, Edinburgh and Bristol.

EVie hopes to grow the scheme and expand its fleet of vehicles, which currently includes three BMW i3s and a Nissan electric van, should the project prove to be successful.

The firm is also planning to launch a scheme next spring allowing Islanders to hire 100 new e-bikes, which can be picked up and deposited anywhere across the Island using GPS mapping technology. The hire cost is planned to be £1 for every ten minutes and the bikes will have a range of 78 miles.

EVie chief executive Gavin Breeze said that the schemes would help meet a number of objectives being targeted in Jersey, including reducing carbon emissions, improving air quality, lowering traffic congestion and reducing the cost of living for Islanders, who could hire cars instead of buying them.

He added that he was ‘certain’ that the scheme would take off and the emerging future trend would be for younger people to think of using car pooling services rather than buying their own vehicles.

‘The cost of using a car pool scheme I think compares very favourably to buying a car in this day and age,’ he said. ‘Not only do you have the cost of buying a car, you also have the cost of insuring it, maintaining it, depreciation and you have to put fuel in it.

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‘This is about the next step in transport, which is mobility. We are all used to renting videos, renting music and renting software. Now we are renting our vehicles.’

He added that growth of the firm would generate jobs locally.

James Haywood of Digital Jersey’s business development team said that he thought that Jersey was a ‘fantastic place’ for such a project and has the right attributes for it to succeed.

‘A third of the Island live in a dense residential area and probably don’t have a need to use a car every day or certainly to own two cars,’ he said.

‘I think this sort of scheme could be very successful in Jersey and could help tackle a lot of important issues.’

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
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