A green Orkney self-catering business is thought to be the first in the country to offer electric car hire to its guests.
The Sankey family, who also operate tour firm Orcadian Wildlife, plan to rent the Renault Zoe to tourists staying in their Peedie House self-catering cottage at Gerraquoy in South Ronaldsay.
The five-seat vehicle, available from April, will be charged by electricity from wind turbines on the family’s organic farm, with a free card provided to cover top-up charging at points around the Orkney mainland.
Steve Sankey, who runs Orcadian Wildlife and the four-star self-catering business with his wife Sarah, said the electric car hire made perfect sense for the islands, where renewable energy met 100 per cent of local power demand.
“Our self catering cottage has a Green Tourism Scheme gold award, with all its power provided by our wind turbines and solar panels,” said Mr Sankey. “Offering electric car hire to our guests who come to Orkney because of its clean, unspoiled environment, seemed a logical next step for us. It’s a first for Orkney and, as far as we’re aware, a first for a self-catering business in the UK.”
Although the electric car rental was primarily aimed at the family’s own self-catering customers, Mr Sankey said it would also be available to anyone else who wished to hire it.
“We’re offering the vehicle for hire at £250 per week, which is cheaper than a comparably sized local petrol or diesel hire,” he said. “It’s hard to predict what the demand will be at this stage, but we’re keen to be pioneers for what, we hope, will become the norm in Orkney where so much of the local economy depends on the quality of the environment.”
Mr Sankey, a director of the Orkney Tourism Group, added: “Electric vehicles are ideally suited to Orkney, where traditional concerns about range and running out of power are far less of an issue – our car will easily cover 80 miles in the summer on a single charge. The number of electric vehicles in the islands is growing, but the more we see on local roads, the greater the potential to promote Orkney as a fully sustainable, zero emission community.”
Image: Ken Amer, Orkney Photographic.