Rural Electric Vehicles – Examples from Isle of Eigg

Toror Twizy and electric Gator at Eigg pier

Toro Twizy and electric Gator at Eigg pier

Lucy Conway from Eiggbox tweeted this photo this morning of the two electric vehicles, a Twizy and a Gator now resident on the Isle of Eigg.  They are parked at the pier waiting to pick up supplies and people from the incoming CalMac ferry. Both are charged from Eigg’s own renewable electricity supply.

After his winter trial on Knoydart, Toro, our modified rural Twizy is now back living on Eigg being used by Lucy for getting around the island and being hired to Eiggbox and Eiggtime visitors staying at Cleadale.

Toro on his way to Cleadale

Toro on his way to Cleadale

The photo nicely illustrates the design space challenge for a rural low energy quadricycle. Neither of these vehicles needs much range (the island is only 5 miles long) or speed. The Gator is fantastic for carrying loads to and from the pier and will cope much better with Eigg’s bumpy tracks than Toro. But, the Gator has no weather protection and its top speed is 15mph making the 4 mile road journey to the other end of the island slow. The Twizy is much better for personal travel – nipping up and down the island. It has better weather protection (and you can’t often say that of the Twizy!) but has limited load carrying capacity other than the modified rack we have attached to its rear. And despite Toro’s bigger tyres and more flexible suspension, he’s still uncomfortable and feels fragile on bumpy tracks leading to properties on Eigg.

We would like to see a class of rural quadricycle which is a compromise between these two – ultra low energy, short range, 30-40mph top speed but able to carry two and considerable luggage in some weatherproof comfort. Sadly, all the interesting new quadricycles are targetted on city use with almost the opposite characteristics – fast, thin chassis (single seater or tandem seating), thin wheels and low clearance and, most critically, no load carrying capacity.

Who knows if we will succeed but we are still discussing possibilities with interested parties.

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About Alison Kidd

Research Psychologist
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