A community transport group in Yorkshire has become the first organisation in the country to acquire a ground breaking new fully electric, wheelchair accessible vehicle.
Community Transport Calderdale (CTC) is a charitable organisation based at Luddendenfoot, near Halifax, West Yorkshire. Their aim is to provide transport for those in the area who cannot access existing forms of transport for reasons of ill health, isolation, disability, poverty or social exclusion.
Established in 2002, the organisation offers a Community Car and Accessible Minibus Service to individuals and groups within the Calderdale area. As an extension to their existing car service CTC successfully secured funding from the Elland Staying Well Project to assist with the running of a new, fully electric Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) to help those in need to access local community events.
The vehicle CTC have acquired, supplied by wheelchair accessible vehicle manufacturer Brotherwood, is the first wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) to be driven solely by electric power. Known as the ‘Envy’, the vehicle is based upon the Nissan eNV-200 Combi, a battery powered vehicle that shares technology with the UK’s best-selling electric vehicle the Nissan Leaf. With no noise and zero-emissions, electric vehicles such as the Envy offer the eco-friendly transport options that many fleets and authorities are expected to provide.
With a range of up to 106 miles on a single charge, the Envy is ideal for the shorter journeys in and around town that are typical of a community transport organization such as CTC, and can be recharged to 80% capacity in as little as half an hour from one of the many electric vehicle charging points in and around the Calderdale area. This offers an economical and convenient solution for CTC, who can now benefit from low cost top-ups at many of their regular destinations including Morrisons supermarket and local dealer Lightcliffe Nissan.
The Envy enables CTC to provide a flexible and multi-purpose transport – with 4 passenger seats in addition to the driver, plus space for one wheelchair user to travel seated in their wheelchair. Wheelchair access is provided by a folding ramp at the rear of the vehicle, with a powered restraint system making it quick and easy to load and secure the wheelchair passenger. However the Envy can be driven on a standard car driver’s license – eliminating the need for CTC staff to undergo any further expensive and time-consuming driver training.
The Envy also benefits from a compact footprint, enabling CTC to offer wheelchair-accessible transport to smaller groups where previously a larger minibus or people carrier from their fleet might have been used. The tight turning circle and small dimensions make it ideal for use not only in town but also along the tight rural lanes that connect many of CTC’s destinations.
“Adding the electric WAV to our fleet has not only helped a number of people in the area with transport problems but has done so in a great eco-friendly and economical way. The running costs of this vehicle are minimal, and is a pilot project for the way forward in our future fleet.” commented Steve Welsh, CEO of Community Transport Calderdale.
The Brotherwood Envy is available now to lease or buy from Brotherwood, and carries full European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval.