Toro Rural Twizy ends trial on Eigg

Toro our modified rural Twizy has just completed his 3 month trial on the Isle of Eigg funded by the 2013 Green Transport Prize.

13 households used Toro for a week each. The Twizy totalled around 500 miles in 3 months on the island at a total cost of £15 in electricity (3p/mile). Eigg has it's own grid and so Toro was powered by a combination of wind, hydro and solar during his stay.

We ran a feedback session with everyone involved and a full trial report will be posted here in due course. Most people reported really enjoying driving the Twizy, finding it nippy and very easy to drive and making everyone smile. Those without ready access to a car found it really useful for nipping around the island enabling them to save time getting to the shop and back and they also enjoyed being more sociable because they could easily pop in to see people around the island. Some found it useful for carrying seaweed, oars, fridges and dogs! To our surprise, the modified Twizy coped relatively well on the bumpy access tracks and few people complained about this.

You can read a blog about Toro's most recent adventure here.

We have now moved Toro to Knoydart where he will continue his trial in remote locations charged by renewable sources.


Eco Travel Network wins the Low Carbon Champions award

The LowCVP Low Carbon Champions Awards winners were announced at a packed gala dinner hosted by Cenex-LCV in Milton Keynes.


Eco Travel Network, based in the Brecon Beacons, was delighted to win the category for Low Carbon Road Transport Initiative of the Year. Ian Foster, Eco Travel Network director, said “The award is great recognition for all the hard work put in by all involved in Eco Travel Network’s work, both in low carbon visitor transport and in showing the real alternatives for rural transport.”


The LowCVP Managing Director Andy Eastlake said about the Awards: “These Awards recognise best practice, and outstanding leadership and innovation in cutting carbon from vehicles and fuels, as well as through other means.”


“This year we had more, and higher quality, entries than ever before showing just how far and fast the whole low carbon road transport industry is now progressing, and how many individual stakeholders are contributing to the change.”


The judging panel comprised 22 senior executives from across the range of organisations with a stake in the low carbon road transport agenda. Around 25 entries were shortlisted for awards.


One of the judges, Philip Sellwood, Chief Executive of the Energy Saving Trust, said: “The road transport sector has been a real success story in terms of cutting carbon as well as delivering growth and dynamism to the UK economy. I was delighted to play a part in celebrating the successes of the entrants to these awards who are making an important contribution to current, and future, UK economic success.”


Low Carbon Road Transport Initiative of the Year (Sponsor: Transport Scotland)                      


Judges said that the Eco Travel Network is providing a cost effective way of enabling individuals to gain first-hand experience in using electric vehicles via a car hire service and demonstrating how electric vehicles can be deployed in rural communities.



Eco Travel Network shortlisted for Low Carbon Champions Award 2014

The Eco Travel Network is delighted to have been shortlisted for a Low Carbon Champion's Award 2014 by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership.

"The Awards celebrate outstanding and innovative practice in accelerating the shift to lower carbon vehicles and fuels and reducing road transport emissions. The LowCVP Low Carbon Champions Awards are one of a select few sustainable development awards schemes to have received accreditation by the Royal Society of the Arts (RSA)."

We are shortlisted in the category 'Low Carbon Road Transport Initiative of the Year' and the winners will be announced at a dinner in Milton Keynes next Wednesday 10th September.

It is great to see rural, low energy travel and innovation recognised in this way.



Eco Travel Network starts trial on Isle of Eigg

lowres-rural-twizy-shoot2-164-2Our fleet of Renault Twizys work brilliantly in this beautiful area of rural Wales. Visitors enjoy hiring them to explore the National Park and our members find them really useful (and fun) for their everyday trips in and out of town or simply enjoying the outdoors themselves. Some are even using them to make deliveries to their local customers.

But the Twizy is designed as a an urban vehicle and we have been keen to explore what a more rugged rural version might be like. Ideally we hope someone might manufacture one at some stage.

Having won the Green Transport Prize in Edinburgh last year, we have used some of the money to modify a Twizy with more flexible suspension (for some of our rougher access tracks), chunkier tyres and a luggage rack at the rear which can carry overnight bags, rucksacks, shopping and even two bikes! We are also collaborating with Edinburgh College on an electric road legal buggy ("Bruce") which can tackle very bumpy tracks and tow a small trailer.

We have now started a trial on the Isle of Eigg in the inner Hebrides to see how well such low energy vehicles might work for them there. The good news on Eigg is that range is not an issue (the island is only 5 miles long!) and they are off-grid and generate their own electricity through a mix of wind, hydro and solar. But the challenge is how well the Twizy and buggy will cope with the rough tracks leading from the road to their houses and whether the vehicles can cope with the loads (including barrels of diesel!) which they need to collect from the ferry pier and transport to their homes scattered across the island. We (and they) are also curious to find out how much electricity our trial vehicles consume and what that would mean for the island's generating and storage capacity if the number of electric vehicles increased.

The trial started July 12th with the arrival on the island of "Toro" our modified Rural Twizy and we hope Bruce-the buggy (still under development) will join him there later in the summer. The trial is being run as a collaboration between the Eco Travel Network, Eigg Box and Edinburgh College.

You can read more about the Eigg trial on our Eco Funky Travel blog and follow us on Twitter @ecofunkytravel

Or come and visit us in the Brecon Beacons and try a Twizy for yourself!

Rural Twizy arrives in the hills


We are delighted to announce that our Rural Twizy has arrived and we are busily testing it out and taking photographs before it features at this year's Hay Festival where there will be a competition to come up with a suitable name for this latest member of our ETN Twizy fleet. The prize will be a day's hire in a Twizy.

The motivation behind the project was to experiment to see if an 'Urban Twizy' could be ruggedised to better suit rural life here in the Brecon Beacons where we often need to carry luggage (bikes, rucksacks, overnight bags or weekly shopping) and some of the tracks leading to our homes and holiday cottages can be rather bumpy. We love the Twizys and all our 10 are used regularly by our members and their visitors but we feel that an adapted version of this lightweight, low energy vehicle would look and suit rural life slightly better. Who knows, maybe such a design would prove popular in the city too?

The Rural Twizy was modified for us by Red Castle Classics in Caerphilly and they have done a fabulous job. They have added two racks at the rear with upright struts which can carry two bicycles without adding to the width of the vehicle. The racks can also carry overnight bags or plastic rainproof or lockable boxes. The Rural has larger, softer tyres and softer suspension which makes a much more comfortable ride over bumps and on uneven tracks. It's not (and never was designed to be) an offroad vehicle but it looks and feels much more at home on our rural, hilly lanes.

Visit Hay Festival and have a look at the Rural Twizy and let us know what you think. We will be testing it over the coming months both here in Wales and on some UK islands.

ETN at Carplus electric car event Newport 19 Nov


The Eco Travel Network will be at a Carplus electric car club event in Newport on Tuesday November 19th 2013. We are doing a joint presentation and demo with Talybont Energy’s car share scheme.

If you are interested in car sharing, car clubs and electric vehicles, come along to the presentations at 12:00 at the Waterfront Theatre in Newport.

Talybont Community Kangoo ZE van

Talybont Community Kangoo ZE van

If you bring your Driver’s Licence, there may be a chance to try driving either the Kangoo electric van which is shared by the Talybont-on-Usk community or one of the ETN’s Twizy fleet. It rather depends on whether we can pick up a top up charge for our return trip home!


Eco Travel Network exhibits at The British Energy Challenge in Bristol

Eco Travel Network has an exhibit at the British Energy Challenge event in Bristol next Thursday (10th October). Sadly, they aren't allowing any vehicles at the exhibition -something to do with a "floating floor"(!) but we will be there with lots of great Twizy photos and graphs about low energy vehicles.  If you are interested in low energy transport or in hiring a Twizy for a day in the Brecon Beacons, come and say 'hello' and have a chat. The event is free (10am-3pm).

Go Green on the canal


Castle Narrowboats have added an electric Twizy to their hire fleet of canal boats. Now you can hire both an electric canal boat and an electric car from the boatyard in Gilwern. Parked up by the canal side, Twiggy as the Castle Narrowboats Twizy is known, attracted lots of looks from canal traffic and walkers on the tow path.

Twiggy is now available to hire from the canal boatyard - call 01873 830001 to book. You can now enjoy exploring the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal on both the water and the quite local roads around the canal.

Cracking Watts...

Twizy-charging-crickhowell-cricTracy visited the Crickhowell Resource and Information Centre (CRiC) to try out the charging at the rear of centre. Julie and Ian were attending the Walkers are Welcome Town meeting held at the centre. Crickhowell have just launch a self guided walk book, called Cracking Walks around Crickhowell, be sure to pick up your copy at the centre.

CRiC is a great place to park and charge whilst you enjoy what Crickhowell has to offer. The information centre has a coffee shop, their are plenty of fine restaurants in the town and of course some cracking walks.