Wednesday, June 28, 2017 - 15:15

One year on from their introduction, a fleet of 18 electric Renaults has made big inroads into the Eden Project’s running costs.

Eden took delivery of the fleet a year ago and is seeing many advantages, including financial savings. The vehicles are not subject to road tax and have cost Eden only 4.4p per mile to run (equivalent diesel vehicles would cost more than 11p per mile).

Electric vehicles also have the advantage of not having any tailpipe emissions so are able to work inside Eden's Biomes where diesel or petrol vehicles can't because of pollution concerns.

Eden’s vehicles include the compact hatchback ZOE, Kangoo Van Z.E. and a brightly-coloured fleet of Twizy quadricycles.

The Kangoo Van Z.E.s are used by a variety of Eden teams to ensure the smooth running of the project’s operations.

The Eden events teams use Kangoo Van Z.E.s to help transport people and equipment for high-profile happenings such as last year’s Dinosaur Uprising and the forthcoming summer blockbuster Journey Into Space.

The Twizy fleet even deputised as Father Christmas’s reindeer for the Christmas period, complete with festive roof antlers.

Events staff at Eden also manage large-scale weddings and corporate events and use the Kangoo Van Z.E.s to make sure food, equipment and people are delivered on time.

The ZOEs have proved invaluable in transporting guests around Eden and have played a big role in supporting TV filming at Eden in the last year.

They provided vital transport for cast and crew of productions including Almost Unmarried, a 90-minute TV drama for German national broadcaster ZDF, and the first-ever location shoot for Channel 4’s venerable Deal or No Deal.

One of the most eye-catching vehicles on the fleet is the Twizy ambulance, thought to be the world’s smallest ambulance. It has enough room for a paramedic, passenger and an array of emergency medical equipment, including a defibrillator and burns kit. It comes complete with blue lights and a siren.

The small size and nimble nature of the Twizy ambulance makes it ideal for busy, fast-moving events at Eden, such as the Eden Sessions summer concerts and the Eden Marathon. It is also able to get to places a conventional ambulance wouldn’t be able to reach, including the far reaches of the Rainforest Biome and some of the more narrow outdoor paths.

The project’s security team patrol the site and have replaced a diesel vehicle with a combination of Kangoo Van Z.E.s and Twizys.

This represents the biggest saving on the whole fleet and has the added advantage of the vehicles being practically silent – an important consideration for overnight guests at the on-site YHA Eden Project.

Eden’s visitor experience team use a ZOE on a daily basis to offer lifts to the car parks for those visitors with additional needs. The Zoe represents a significant improvement to the service and is an interesting talking point for visitors.

The Eden site managers – the team in day-to-day charge of operations at the Eden Project – have the use of a Twizy. It is quick, small and nimble and therefore ideal for visitor-facing areas on a busy site.

The team have said that the car’s quirkiness draws attention and it frequently raises a smile from visitors. The site managers recently used their Twizy to guide groups of cyclists to the starting line for the Eden Classic sportive, Cornwall’s largest bike event.

Renault’s presence at Eden also extended to an interactive electric vehicle exhibit last summer. The exhibit was designed to engage with visitors and provide them with an insight into the environmental benefits and workings of electric vehicles.

Ian Merchant, Eden’s Head of Estates, said: “The vehicles have been brilliant for Eden as they fit exactly with our message. The teams love them and love to be seen in them. The vehicles are large enough to do what we require of them and react exactly as a diesel vehicle would. It is fantastic to have a modern, smart and efficient fleet that we can be proud to be seen in and which complements Eden’s core values so well.

“The fleet has been a great addition. The Renault vehicles have great visual impact and are so flexible. Because they are all-electric they can go everywhere, including into the Biomes where we are very protective of the health of our plants.”

At the forefront of electric vehicle (EV) technology for several years and with the ambition to provide everyone with access to affordable, sustainable motoring, Renault is the perfect automotive partner for the Eden Project.