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Cambridge co-housing residents become car sharers as they go electric

A group of residents at Cambridge’s first co-housing scheme are doing their bit for the environment by buying an electric car between them.

Some of the group of residents from Marmalade Lane who have clubbed together to buy an electric car. Picture: Richard Marsham
Some of the group of residents from Marmalade Lane who have clubbed together to buy an electric car. Picture: Richard Marsham

This new addition to Marmalade Lane – a development of 42 homes on Orchard Park – is set to serve 10 households, with four of them about to sell their own diesel cars in order to help fund the purchase.

Frances Wright, one of the residents, said: “We were offered an opportunity to purchase an electric car at quite short notice.

“A friend of a friend had one which was three years old. They were about to sell it and they asked did we want to consider purchasing it – so a number of us gathered together and started discussing it.

"Ten of the households – which probably represents around a third of the households in the co-housing community – have clubbed together to purchase the car.

“For four households, it will be their only car, and for six households it will become their second car.

"As a result of that, four cars are going to be sold by the individual owners.”

Frances said that the owners will use Google Diaries to book the car – which they only acquired about a week ago – and Slack to advertise opportunities to share the car.

“We’re trying to encourage people to either reduce their car ownership and/or increase their use of an electric car – or just reduce the number of journeys,” she said.

“We see it as offering a number of opportunities.”

She added: “It’s a lovely car to drive and obviously very quiet but very comfortable. It’s also been quite enjoyable to share journeys, so I’ve gone to the supermarket with a couple of other people, which probably would never have happened otherwise.

“I suppose it was something that we were hoping would happen in time but it’s happened quicker than we were expecting.

“We hope that gradually we can increase the use of electric cars in the community.”

All Marmalade Lane residents are members of Cambridge Co-housing Ltd and all of them contribute to the management of the community.

The land was designated for co-housing in 2008 and the scheme was finished in January.


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