Co-wheels car club is trialling a Toyota Prius Plug-in at Lewes railway station in Sussex, making use of a new electric vehicle charging point installed at the station.
Rail travellers who hold train operator Southern’s new smartcard, the Key, are being offered discounted club membership, enabling them to use their smartcard to open the Prius Plug-in and drive off.
Using a Prius Plug-in will help travellers reduce their carbon footprint.
For those making local onward journeys from Lewes, the Prius Plug-in has the potential to run entirely on its electric charge, with zero tailpipe emissions and zero fuel consumption.
For longer journeys the Toyota will automatically switch to its hybrid system’s petrol engine as soon as electric power runs low.
Riz Wahid, head of retail development at Southern, said: “One of our abiding aims is to encourage people to travel to and from our stations in a more sustainable way.
"Now that the card is here, it makes complete sense for our passengers to be able to use their key card to travel on our services and to drive away one of the greenest cars on the planet.”
The scheme was formally launched last week (September 20, 2013) by Norman Baker (pictured), who is both rail minister and the MP for Lewes.
He said: “This is an excellent scheme that offers greener transport through the use of both low emission vehicles and car sharing. I am sure that projects like this, and those that will inevitably follow, will benefit local residents whilst preserving the wider natural environment.”
Stuart Ferma, manager of Toyota Fleet Sales, said: “It’s a best-of-both-worlds solution that is kinder to the environment without demanding compromises from the motorist.”
Pierre Fox, director of Co-wheels, added: "It is hoped that the model will be extended across the region to create a significant impact.”
The project has been set up by Southern, Co-wheels, electric charge point provider Elektromotive, Lewes District Council and EV charge station network developer eV South East Network.