Published: 15/02/2018 08:55 - Updated: 15/02/2018 09:22

Rapid charger plan could increase footfall in Forres

Electric plugA LOCAL charity is seeking support for a green project in the heart of Forres.

Moray Carshare manager, Gordon McAlpine, has applied to an EU development programme, Moray LEADER, for a grant to provide a rapid charging point, an electric car and two electric bikes in the town centre.

He explained: “The idea came forward at a Forres Business Association meeting last year as an additional way of attracting more visitors. It is part of a larger project where we hope to expand into Elgin and Lossiemouth, using electric cars and bikes with the aim of becoming carbon neutral in a few years time.”

Electric cars are propelled by energy stored in rechargeable fuel cells batteries or another energy storage device. Their motors give them instant torque and they use energy much more efficiently than are around three times as efficient as vehicles with internal combustion engines. When recharged from renewable sources, they are carbon neutral. They are also significantly quieter and do not emit tailpipe pollutants, reducing air pollution and dependence on foreign oil.

There are currently slower charge points at Transition Town Forres on Bogton Road, at Horizon Scotland on the Enterprise Park, and at The Park, Findhorn.

The Moray Carshare social enterprise started 10 years ago, allowing members to book cars online and access them from distributed parking bays. There are currently 150 members paying according to how many hours and miles they use. There are 16 cars in Forres, Findhorn and Kinloss, and one company-charging point in Findhorn, which runs on renewable sources.

Eventually, through this project, Moray Carshare hopes to establish an extended two-wheel bike-sharing service via 12 electric bikes and suitable charge facilities. Electric bikes are seen as a way of stimulating active travel, so people who do not use pedal bikes get more exercise.

Gordon said: “At the moment, we have applied to the Energy Saving Trust for a grant for are considering a rapid charger in Forres. It would cost about £40,000 to buy and install, and would make Forres a more attractive stop-off point for drivers looking to charge their car in around an hour. We believe our project would benefit both the people of Forres and the natural environment.

“We are interested in feedback about how to find the best placement for these facilities, and who else to consult.”

Forres Community Council offered support for the idea at the January meeting in the Tolbooth, suggesting a charge point would be best positioned in either the Grant Park or Leys Road car parks, or at the former Victoria Filling Station on Victoria Road.

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