The journey from being interested in electric cars to being converted to electric car drivers is now complete for many of the participants in My Electric Avenue's trials.

My Electric Avenue is a project to examine if local electricity networks can cope with charging a group, or 'cluster', of electric vehicles (EVs) at peak times. The project is testing a new technology that can control the charging of the cars if the local electricity grid becomes overloaded.

The project needed groups of neighbours to come together and each lease an all-electric Nissan LEAF for 18 months, with a target of ten neighbours in a cluster, and ten clusters around Britain.

My Electric Avenue exceeded its targets, and there are now over 200 participants in the trials, each driving an all-electric Nissan LEAF.

One community in the North East has an incredible 23 neighbours driving Nissan LEAFs. One of the members of this cluster is just 21 years old, and loves the LEAF. Jack Hamilton says: “The Nissan LEAF is great to drive, it can fit five people, and it's amazingly cheap to run. It's also more interesting than the average car. I would definitely consider another electric car in the future."

Julie Skevington was responsible for telling her neighbours about My Electric Avenue, and recruiting them to the project. She adds: “I have driven over 15,000 miles in my Nissan LEAF in just over a year, so it obviously seems to meet my driving needs! I've even ventured further afield a few times, something that seems easier than I thought with a bit of planning."

It's now well known that the Nissan LEAF offers low running costs, but one participant of My Electric Avenue has even found a way to improve on that. Ian Finch works in the field of renewable energy and has harnessed the power of the sun to charge his LEAF. “The electricity to charge the Nissan LEAF for 80-100 miles of driving only costs around £2. However I've managed to drive the car completely free of charge in summer by using the solar panels on my house to power the car."

“Of course this also means that the energy to recharge the car has zero-CO 2 emissions. Add in the fact that the LEAF has no exhaust emissions, so it has no adverse impact on local air quality and people's health, and surely this must be one of the most sustainable and affordable transport solutions available at this time."

Paul O'Neill, EV Manager, Nissan Motor GB said: “Last year, UK sales of the Nissan LEAF more than doubled as the benefits of switching to a pure electric vehicles become more widely known amongst motorists.

"Not only does the LEAF offer motorists a driving experience that often betters its traditionally-powered rivals, it also delivers lower running costs and tangible savings and I am delighted that it has transformed the participants in the My Electric Avenue into committed electric car drivers."

My Electric Avenue, an Ofgem-supported project, is being delivered by EA Technology. Other project partners are Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution Limited (SSEPD) (the host Distribution Network Operator, or DNO), Nissan (EV supplier), Fleetdrive Electric (EV rental programme management), Zero Carbon Futures (charging point network developer) and Northern Powergrid (participating DNO). You can find out more about the project at www.myelectricavenue.info


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