Fordwich’s 380 eligible drivers took part in a three-day road test of the latest eco-car – from Ford, of course – after research showed rural residents are wary of going green. More than eight in 10 (82 per cent) of countryside dwellers lack confidence in choosing battery power for their next vehicle, because recharging points are scarce away from main roads.
So Fordwich – renamed FordSwitch for the test – was given the car giant’s first all-electric Mustang Mach-E to try out.
The fleet of SUVs won the seal of approval from mayor Philip Lewis, 72, who said the historic town near Canterbury had long been “overrun by cars. The pollution levels are enormous”.
He added: “To have electric vehicles driving through would make such a difference.”
Dan Smith, who runs the Fordwich Arms, said: “We’re quite excited that we’ve had an electric charging point put in the pub from Ford, which is going to offer our customers something new.
“It’s incredibly important. It’s the future of driving from 2030 onwards [when combustion car sales are banned], so everyone needs to start thinking about it.”
Dan, 29, added: “I love the versatility of it, the handling of the car, the efficiency and the speed. It’s just an all-round fun car to drive”.
While local resident James Budge, 33, said: “I’ve been looking to buy a more environmentally friendly car for a while now and as a scientist, I’ve seen at first hand the effects of climate change. I worry for our future if we don’t take action now.
“The event has really opened my eyes to realistic options for me.”
Retired nurse and self-proclaimed petrolhead Wendy Jones, 71, was impressed: “I think it’s the way of the future. I’ve never driven an electric vehicle before – I’m very pleased.”
She added: “There is not enough information out there about electric vehicles. I think we need more education, more advertising, more knowledge.”
Ford’s Go Electric report said just 55 per cent of people in small towns, villages and the countryside felt they had enough information to make an informed decision about buying an electric vehicle (EV) compared with 85 per cent of those in larger urban areas.
The car company partnered with British Gas to install the pub charging point, after 74 per cent of rural residents surveyed said there are not enough top-up sites.
Ease of recharging is frequently cited as a critical concern and potential barrier for petrol drivers thinking of going green.
Lisa Brankin, Ford managing director for Britain and Ireland, said: “We want to show how even the smallest town can make the electric switch.”
The Mach-E has an electric driving range of 379 miles while the GT model can accelerate from 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds.
Prices start from £41,330.
Published at Fri, 28 May 2021 16:38:27 +0000