Created by Craig Preedy - © WyeDrive 2012
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What is Green Footprints Herefordshire
Greener Footprints Herefordshire is spearheading the development of a greener Herefordshire by 2030. They are asking local businesses to play their part in reducing their carbon footprints and helping to protect the natural beauty and wildlife that makes our county such a pleasant place to live.
Why have we taken the Greener Footprints Pledge?
When we heard about this campaign we knew we had to be involved. During the course of one year, a diesel or petrol driving school car will cover about 25,000 miles producing 6.64 tonnes of CO2. The more we looked into this the more we thought about how we could play our part in driving down our own CO2 emissions. We have signed the pledge to reduce our carbon footprint by at least 80% by 2030. We are delighted to have been selected as one of Greener Footprints Herefordshire 30 for 2030 businesses. Our journey will be followed as we look to provide zero carbon driving lessons by 2030. You can read more here.
There are a number of reasons why we have decided to go electric.
As you most likely know, electric means automatic. There are very few automatic instructors in Herefordshire. We had noticed the volume of enquiries for automatic lessons increasing to the point where about 25% of our enquiries are now for automatic driving lessons. With only one automatic instructor we were not able to meet the needs of the people wanting driving lessons.
When we decided to upgrade our cars we considered Petrol, Hybrid and Electric. It became clear to us that petrol or diesel was no longer an option. Many of our younger students are climate aware and we think that the idea of reducing your carbon footprint while learning to drive would be a positive step. So, on that basis, we considered the Hybrid route. Hybrids are a good compromise but they still deliver a carbon footprint and the battery element of this was limited to between 30 and 60 miles. There was only one option left. Fully electric!
Leaders not followers
If you are going to alter your business model and begin to make a difference to the environment then you need to invest. This wasn't going to be a cheap alternative but we knew that in the long term it would pay off.
Installation of a home charger was the first thing and we were able to benefit from the government home charge grant, that ended on March 31, 2022. For our installation we would like to thank Joel at Charge Easy. Next was the acquisition of two new training vehicles. We have both opted for very low mileage, nearly new ex demonstrator models. Thus avoiding the ordering of new and in essence, its recycling. We are both using a green energy tariff to charge our vehicles.
There are already two instructors teaching in an EV in Hereford. But we want our commitment to be a process for our whole team, that takes us towards 2030. It would be impossible for the whole business to go EV at this time as there is still a demand for manual driving lessons. However, a change is coming, and we want to be ahead of that change. Our EV instructors and cars will act as evangelists to all those who drive them. The pupils we teach will be able to enjoy the EV experience and tell their family and friends. For this reason our goal is to be 80% EV by 2030. Why not 100% you ask? Well, that is possible however, there will still be those that want to learn in a manual, and even after 2030 there will be second hand manual cars available. But, never say never… Many of our instructors have attended and passed the EV Train the Trainer course run by the Energy Savings Trust.
Barriers to EV lessons
Interestingly, our biggest barrier to young people learning in an EV is the parents. Parents still feel the need for their children to have the option of being able to drive both manual and automatic. It is true, that automatic vehicles for new drivers might be a little more expensive but, the time it takes to be test ready could be reduced by learning in an EV and this saving would offset any additional cost for a second hand automatic. Indeed second hand automatic/EV prices are coming down with a selection now under £6000 when completing a search on AutoTrader.
Many major manufacturers are making a switch before 2030. Here are just a few examples
Source - Energy Savings Trust
Its interesting to us that quite a few of our pupils, once they have passed their driving test, make their first vehicle an automatic. Here are a few quotes from recent pupils who made that change…
“ I learned to drive and passed my test in a manual. I felt quite a bit of pressure from family and friends to pass in a manual and the gears used to send me into a panic. I had quite a lot of anxiety regarding gears and correct gear changes, I am far more relaxed driving an automatic, not having to clutch down , select the right gear etc, I just get in the car and go, which is something I never thought I'd ever do. I love the ease of an automatic, as soon as I test drove one, I instantly loved it .”
Donna - Hereford
“ When I first looked at learning to drive, I knew I wanted to learn in a manual car so I had the option of choosing when it came to getting my own vehicle. After I passed my test I bought my own automatic car - the main reason for this was due to convenience and ease. There are only 2 gears vs 5/6 you get in a manual vehicle, there’s also no clutch and I find it a much smoother drive. Automatic cars today have hill assistance and auto hold, there’s no worry of stalling so driving an automatic vehicle is easy and stress free for someone like me who HATES hill starts! “
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