New fleet of electric cars go baaa-rmy in the Lakes
A truly electrifying sheep auction took place in Cumbria today, Wednesday 3 February, as a unique sheep-themed flock of new electric cars were unveiled to their new owners for the first time.
The ten head-turning electric Renault ‘Twizys’ were officially presented to tourism businesses from the Keswick and Ullswater areas in a mock auction at Rheged near Penrith. To make the funky two-seater vehicles distinctively Cumbrian, each has been branded with its own distinctive sheep personality and named in traditional dialect (a mix of Westmorland and Cumberland numbers).
The Twizys will now be available for anyone to hire from a variety of visitor attractions and accommodation providers, as part of a partnership between the ‘See More’ sustainable travel programme and the national car sharing company Co-wheels Car Club. With no engines, exhausts or fuel systems, they can be driven at the push of a button and will allow visitors who arrive either without a car or in larger vehicles to explore the nooks and crannies of the Lake District in a silent, eco-friendly way.
Auctioneer – and Chief Executive of the Farmers Network – Adam Day, officially introduced each Twizy to their host business as part of the mock auction. The full list of businesses includes:
- Hazel Bank Country House, Borrowdale (Yan)
- Castlerigg Hall Caravan & Camping Park, Keswick (Tyan)
- Keswick Brewing Company (Tethera)
- FSC Blencathra Centre, Threlkeld x 2 vehicles (Methera and Pip)
Penrith – Ullswater –
- The Quiet Site, Watermillock x 2 vehicles (Sethera and Lethera)
- Hillcroft Park, Pooley Bridge (Hovera)
- Waterfoot Park, Pooley Bridge (Dovera)
- Wayfarers Independent Hostel, Penrith (Dec)
Nicola Parker, Programme Manager for the See More programme, says, “This new flock of electric Twizys are all about offering visitors a fun, quirky way to experience the unique Lake District landscape – particularly at a time when we need to show visitors that it is still well and truly business as usual after the recent floods. The sheep theme is synonymous with the region, so what better way of helping passengers get up close and personal with nature and really savour everything that makes the region so special.”
Co-wheels is providing and operating the vehicles, in addition to its wider network of low emission car hire. As Richard Falconer comments, “We’re thrilled to be able to provide a truly zero emission travel option in the Lake District, and we hope these ‘electric sheep’ will encourage people to think differently about how they get around”.
Daniel Holder, Owner of the Quiet Site, says, “We run the whole business along sustainable lines and introducing a Twizy is a practical way to genuinely use sustainable transport too – rather than just talking about it! As well as being great for short journeys, it will be a real talking point and is bound to put a smile on people’s faces!
”Tim Foster Head of the FSC Blencathra Centre, adds: “The Twizys are amazing to drive- what a fun experience, moreover they are great ambassadors for sustainability with the batteries being charged by our own hydro electricity.”
The Twizys are powered by high-tech lithium ion batteries, have a top speed of 50mph and can be plugged into any domestic three pin socket, with an on board 3 metre cable They can travel up to 40 miles on one charge, depending on driving conditions and styles.
The vehicles can be booked directly with the Twizy hosts. Drivers just need to provide a valid driving licence and National Insurance number. They cost £10 per hour, £30 for a half day (4 hours) or £45 for a full day (8 hours).
The arrival of the ten Twizys comes just weeks after the introduction of three ultra-low carbon Toyota Yaris Hybrids at Carlisle, Penrith and Oxenholme railway stations. Visitors can hire these vehicles on a pay-as-you-go basis by signing up online with Co-wheels ahead of their visit: www.co-wheels.org.uk/cumbria