Trip To Car Club

A rural car club based in mid Wales that's encouraging people to think differently about car ownership and to try out electric vehicles.

Our story

Most people know about car clubs (car sharing schemes) but they tend to think of them as only being in urban areas or cities. Most people who live in rural areas need a car to get around, right? So why would anyone consider joining a car club or be daft enough to try to get one going in rural mid Wales? Ask my husband – he's been running the not-for-profit community-based Llanidloes car club since 2007!

It all started because we were fed up with all the associated costs of “affordable” second-hand older cars and having to replace them every couple of years, sometimes sooner. The idea of a car share scheme simmered for a while, he talked to local people and eventually found three other people who wanted to share a car. From these humble beginnings the car club grew. Over time two other people lent their cars into the club.

During our first year of membership, we reduced our personal mileage from 21,000 miles a year to 7,000 and saved ourselves around £2,000. We learned that not having a car on your doorstep meant planning ahead and organising your journeys so that you made them as efficient as possible by making them multi-purpose. A lot of our other members found that they reduced their car use too. Some people used the club instead of owning a second car and some people even joined temporarily when their car broke down.

The ongoing evolution of the car club to have an electric car seemed a complete pipedream as they cost over £30,000. Over a period, contacting dealers and working out the best deal we finally got to the stage of leasing Renault Zoe since the car club usage at the time would cover the costs.

At this point Llani Car Club connected with Open Newtown, a community organisation in Newtown which had taken on the asset management of 130 acres of the towns green spaces to be managed sustainably for the community. One of the aspirations of Open Newtown was to develop a pan Mid Wales electric car club and the obvious partner for this was the Llani Car Club, now a Community Interest Company.

Out of this cooperation Trip To was born, as the umbrella name for the four car clubs in Llanidloes, Machynlleth, Newtown and Welshpool. There was an opportunity to bid for Welsh Government funding for electric vehicles early in 2021 and we were successful in getting 2 brand new Renault Zoes. We now have 4 Zoes, two of which are leased from Robert Owen Finance in Newtown.

If you want to try out an electric vehicle, why not join the car club for a month or two and have a go? The only outlay is a membership fee and you will need to pay for your mileage and your hourly use.

Our advice

Monitor cars and costs
From the very early days there was a system for booking, a bespoke software database for monitoring car use and costs. People could even book an “imaginary car” to monitor whether there was the demand for an extra car. As a result of careful monitoring of costs and adjusting charges Llani Car Club not only covered the cost of running the cars, but also saved enough money to buy replacement vehicles. As a result, the car club grew to have over 50 members and owned 3 cars and a van outright.

Word of mouth is really important
At the start there was very little marketing and most people found the car club via word of mouth. Even though we’re now much bigger, don’t underestimate the importance of word of mouth from existing members to convince other people to think differently about car ownership and about giving an electric vehicle a go!

Build a network
We benefit from the long-standing expertise of the current Llanidloes car club coordinator who now manages the four new enthusiastic car club coordinators, who have already generated new members for the two embryo car clubs in Welshpool and Newtown. The Machynlleth EV car club is now at the stage where we need to purchase another car to meet the demand.

Our metrics

  • Car club members
  • Carbon emissions reduced by driving electric vehicles
  • Satisfaction ratings of our members
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