The project will see a network of 27 electric vehicle charging points installed across all five inhabited islands during 2020, providing a solid infrastructure of electricity grid network connections to support the transition to electric vehicles.  10 charging points will be dedicated to a car share scheme offering vehicles for hire on an hourly basis by residents, businesses and visiting businesses on the Isles of Scilly.  Drivers will be able to use a smartphone app to search for and book available vehicles that will be located at key locations around the islands.  Once booked, the smartphone app will also be used to unlock the vehicles and manage the booking.  A mixture of cars, commercial panel vans and combi vans with additional seats will provide a fleet to suit a variety of use cases from taking rubbish to the tip to school runs.  The remaining chargers will be for general use by those wishing to purchase their own electric vehicles.Despite having a high share of households with no vehicles, the number of cars on the Isles of Scilly remains relatively high in relation to the tiny adopted road network of under 10 miles.  In a bid to change behaviour away from car ownership and encourage the uptake of electric vehicles, the Council of the Isles of Scilly is delivering the GO-EV project as part of the Smart Islands programme.

As part of the innovation side of the project, the vehicles from the car share will become part of the electricity network on Scilly, capable of discharging the energy from their batteries to optimise balancing of the grid.  Known as vehicle-to-grid bi-directional charging or V2G for short, the project will help the rest of the UK understand how this type of technology might become part of the electricity grid of the future.  The car share vehicles will also be housed under solar canopies allowing the project to test the optimisation of direct charging of electric vehicles from solar photovoltaic panels.

Jim Wrigley, Isles of Scilly Community Venture and GO-EV Project Manager, said: “We are working hard to deliver a scheme on Scilly that will have a lasting positive legacy for the local community as well as deliver innovation that will benefit the electricity grid of the future.  The car share scheme that will result from the project will provide the local community with a real low-carbon choice to owning their own vehicle and will compliment other modes of transport”

Following engagement with the community, the project is also now focussed on delivering an electric community bus and a network of electric cargo bikes for hire alongside the car share scheme.  The aim is to get as many people as possible walking and cycling with the provision of a bus service as a second option and the car share providing a full complement of mobility options.  Two multi-modal hubs at the airport and main ferry quay on St Mary’s will allow for onward travel at these locations.

Jonathan Smith, Council of the Isles of Scilly lead Member for Lead Member for Environment and Climate Change, said: “On Scilly, as with the rest of the country, we need to make a step change in personal transport in order to rapidly reduce our carbon emissions. Walking, cycling and electric vehicles will need to become the norm and this project is key in starting to change behaviours and giving people genuinely better transport options.”

Glenn Caplin Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership Chief Executive, said: “This project is pioneering a smart energy system that will cut costs and emissions as part of a more sustainable, low carbon economy on the islands. What we learn on Scilly could have global implications for the smart energy systems of the future.”