Dumfries and Galloway Council has become the first council in the UK to add fully electric Nissan Leaf vehicles to its fleet.
The vehicles are provided by Automotive Leasing, the specialist public sector division of LeasePlan, on a five year deal.
The zero-carbon cars were acquired through funding from Transport Scotland, as part of a £4.3 million initiative to make sustainable transport more accessible for Scotland's public services. The grant provides bridging funding to cover the difference in cost between purchasing conventionally-powered cars and low carbon or electric vehicles. Dumfries & Galloway Council also used the funding to install charging points at several locations in the town, supplementing existing facilities.
The latest contract forms part of a longstanding relationship between the Council and Automotive Leasing. The electric vehicles will be added to the council’s existing 100 pool fleet and will be made available for use by employees. NHS staff will also be able to use two of the vehicles, which are based at Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary.
Matt Dyer, commercial director at LeasePlan UK said: “We are delighted to be working with Dumfries and Galloway as they lead the way in promoting the use of electric vehicles in the public sector. Our decision to add the Nissan Leaf to our vehicle menu reflected our commitment to reducing the environmental impact of motoring, and keeping abreast of innovation. We will be working closely with the Council to assess the capabilities of the Leaf for day-to-day business use, as it is our belief that, with the right support and infrastructure, sustainable vehicles have the potential to become an integral part of business motoring in the future.”
Cllr Graham Nicol, chair of resources committee at Dumfries & Galloway Council said, “We are always looking for ways to minimise the Council’s impact on the environment, and these vehicles, have offered us the ideal chance to reduce our carbon footprint. In addition, with petrol at record highs, particularly in rural areas, the Leaf will help council drivers save money. The timing to introduce the new electric cars could not be better, as the Nissan Leaf’s 100 mile range means is can operate effectively over longer distances. The Transport Scotland grant has enabled the Council to realise its environmental ambitions, even in the current era of stringent budgeting.”