Notts entrepreneur uses solar power to run his car
WHILE most Nottinghamshire businesses try hard to keep their petrol and diesel costs down, one local entrepreneur is using solar power to run his car for next to nothing.
David Hill, managing director of renewable energy installation company Carbon Legacy, believes he's got the next best thing to zero-cost motoring by driving a company electric car that is fuelled by solar power generated at his own home and business.
Mr Hill has just taken delivery of one of the first Chevy Volt cars to be imported into the UK from the USA.
The four-seater vehicle is powered by an electric battery, assisted by a petrol motor that generates more electricity when the need arises on longer journeys.
With enough power for the first 50 miles stored in the battery, the Chevy Volt is perfect for Mr Hill's daily commutes and visiting local customers.
And with the Carbon Legacy logo emblazoned on the side, the vehicle is also a working, mobile advert for the benefits of solar power – which is apt, since the car's electricity is provided by Carbon Legacy's own solar panels.
In terms of running costs, the car could hardly be any cheaper or greener since the battery is recharged by the PV panels at Carbon Legacy's office at Hickling Pastures and Mr Hill's home in East Leake.
What's more, as an ultra low-emissions company car, the Chevy Volt also has zero road tax and zero company car tax. "My petrol costs used to be £70 a week, so anybody can quickly see that by using an electric car I'm immediately making a huge saving on my transport costs," said Mr Hill, who set up Carbon Legacy three years ago.
"However, in this case, even the electricity used to power the car is free and green. This is because at the office we recharge the car battery using a new charger which is connected to a 4kW solar panel mounted on top of a car port.
"Meanwhile, at home, I have a storage battery for power generated by my own PV system and this can charge the car at night.
"Altogether, we hope to show customers that even driving can give you a sound return with a solar installation.
"Anybody with a car port or garage can install PV panels on the roof and charge their electric vehicle for free."
The vehicle is currently one of only a handful of Chevy Volts on the road in the UK – so if motorists in the East Midlands spot one on the road, it's probably David Hill behind the wheel.
Not that anyone is likely to miss it given the Carbon Legacy logos painted on it.
The new company car and charging car port are just the latest green initiatives by the company, which employs 17 people. It specialises in installing solar, biomass boilers and ground and air-source heatpumps, has installed renewable technologies at more than 100 homes and businesses across Notts.