COMMUTERS taking part in a trial to swap their cars for electric mopeds said they got to work quicker and saved money.
As part of its low carbon future mobility project, Solihull Council joined forces with Silence UK last year to offer Dickens Heath residents the chance to test out a new state-of-the-art electric moped (e-moto).
The initiative was designed to help understand how these types of electric vehicles can both reduce carbon emissions as well as the number of single-occupancy cars on the road especially along main roads.
As part of the trial eligible residents, who live along the Stratford Road and regularly commute or travel by car, were invited to an initial taster session and test ride.
From those who took part 80 per cent said it had made them consider how they get around and whether they could do things differently.
Once they had experienced riding the e-moped the majority of participants felt they could replace up to half of their car journeys
Following on from this test ride, participants were given the chance to opt in to an extended, free-of-charge trial period, lasting between two and four weeks, during which they were encouraged to swap their regular car journeys and use an e-moped instead.
One resident who got involved in the pilot was Nick Chadaway from Dickens Heath. He works in logistics and usually splits his time between working from home and commuting to Digbeth by car.
Nick said: “I found that as I got more confident, my journey times got noticeably quicker.
“It also encouraged me to explore quieter routes which resulted in spending far less time in traffic and an overall more enjoyable experience.
“Despite energy bills going up, the cost of charging my e-moped at home was almost negligible compared to prices at the fuel pump and even switching vehicles for just three weeks has saved me some significant money.
“I feel like it’s helped to make me a better driver when I am in the car. Although I felt safe, riding an e-moped forces you to think ahead a lot more and really look for potential hazards on the road.”
The trial scheme forms part of the wider West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) funded UK Central investment programme, which is delivering a wide range of projects, from walking and cycling improvement schemes to town centre regenerations. There are still a spaces available to take part in the trial for eligible Dickens Heath Residents.
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The current extended trial scheme will run until September. However, the council hopes to continue its work to roll out similar initiatives across the borough.