Car replacement?

My car is due to die soon – I will need to replace it, as I can’t move enough ecologist junk by bike or far enough. (Ok, I admit it,  I’m addicted)

I would consider car club or electric – But I don’t think we have the infrastructure yet ( do we?)

What options would you consider at present?

I live in IP3 but need to get around Suffolk- not towns- with equipment ( e.g Ladder or Telescope) about 4 times a month.


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7 Responses to Car replacement?

  1. alex says:

    There was a car club here, but I think the core folk behind it moved to Colchester, taking the vehicles with them (but the club still exists in that town).

    E-cars exist but are a way greater cost and we do not have the infrastructure in most places for charging electric cars quickly. A fast charger requires a 400V 32A supply which is not found in most residential houses these days (3 phase electric used to be put in to larger country houses but the practice is discouraged since privatisation 25+ years ago).

    Even if you live in a large house and have easier access to the supply its implementation nowadays is non trivial and costly and depending on your aesthetic values the infrastructure isn’t “pretty” (I don’t mind it but I am an engineer by trade 😉 )

    I understand the dilemma as I only own an e-bike and although this gives me much more range and carrying capacity than a normal one isn’t a cheap option, requires some tech knowledge to maintain and doesn’t protect against weather.

    I assume the ladder and other etc are needed to look at such creatures, plants etc which would be found up trees or in other inacessible places which are fair enough, and even with a trailer would be harder to move with a bike.

    Without asking too many indelicate questions of a lady (such as age, weight, size and physical fitness) and knowing well the weather patterns of this area I can already see why having a car makes it easier to participate in these hobbies.

    There are no easy answers here TBH. Unfortunately (unless whatever you are doing can somehow get funding which is a issue in itself) it may be a matter of “downsizing” your hobby.

    I am lucky inasmuch that my hobbies and day job being linked to electroincs and multimedia, I can easy fit a substantial amount of kit such as radio receivers, compact still/video cameras, a portable computer and tools/materials into my bike panniers and still have space left over to bring back a couple of bottles of (local) beer from the co-op!

    perhaps one way of making things less harsh could be to concentrate your hobbies on areas you can more easily get to without a car? It will still be a sacrifice (had to give up attending electronic dance music events for this reason) but better than nothing.

  2. Steve says:

    I’m fortunate in that bike & train meet most of my needs. I guess a few people living fairly close to each other could form their own car club by sharing the cost of a car and coming up with a suitable set of rules for booking etc. Perhaps it would be worth deciding a post code area to focus on and then putting the word out? I think a TI newsletter is going out son, so that would be a good way to reach lots of people who might be interested themselves or know friends who are.

  3. alex says:

    Although I am yet to get my transmitting license (even that now would involve regular travel to Nacton or even Felixstowe (not 100% sure yet)) I’ve been following a lot of the local radio amateur websites –

    I have noticed an trend in recent years with this hobby to move away from expensive high power Japanese radios, and long drives in similarly priced and powered Japanese motor cars (whilst not quite a gary boy motor clearly the sort of toy a middle aged man would enjoy but also practical enough for work commuting and/or to keep wives happy/ferry about children/grandchildren in).

    The trend now is people going “QRP” (less TX power and thus less electricity needed from battery), using hand held radios or smaller ones mounted on a bicycle and powered by a local 12V SLA battery. Also those who prefer to listen increasingly are taking their listening post away from their house/town centre “shack” to get away from interference on HF (much caused, somewhat ironically, by low energy lights and changes in AV equipment design which have more efficient PSUs but create more interference!)

    Perhaps this will be the trend for all non-paying work / hobbies / pastimes, it won’t disappear altogether (that I think would be bad for mental health / even spiritual health) but they will have to reduce their resource use as well..

  4. richard says:

    Funnily enough I am looking to out my 14 year old VW Golf by May and would be open to contributing it to a car club for some return to compensate for the residual value. However, I have zero interest in running the administration or tinkering with insurance, and I don’t want to be registered keeper of a car. It’s been reliable and would do okay for this sort of usage. Most formal car clubs seem to want cars < 5 years old. I've never owned a car < 5 years old in my life 🙂 I am IP4 near the Bristo's garage on Woodbridge Rd @Alex why does getting a licence mean regular travel? I bought a couple of RSGB books and studied on the train up to London to sit the RAE at C&G which was near University college London ISTR, all the stuff about resonant circuits and Ohm's Law I think you know already?

  5. alex says:

    assuming margaret is in IP4 this would be a good solution.

    As for the RAE, its changed since your days. Some time during the 1990s the DTI realised that the first non morse code licenses (the ones only permitting UHF/VHF) tended to increasingly result in folk buying a Japanese or Chinese radio out of the box rather than homebrew). you now need to do a “foundation” course (whether or not you know about electronics!) taught by the local OM’s and contains a practical electronics assesment. This of course depends that you actually have a ham club in your town and/or a college willing to provide the space for non-exorbitant costs, and that the OM’s haven’t all gone silent key or are too elderly to do this (sadly many now are). The nearest such courses are in Felixstowe, Nacton or Colchester. Quite why this is the case when we have two perfectly good colleges in Ipswich eludes me.

  6. Hi all,
    I would be interested in a car club. Tom and I have a Vauxhall Corsa which is generally a great little car but alas only really used to move the heavy items which are impossible by bike (and we manage a surprising amount on a bike)…. and the occasional trip to far flung residents in rural Devon and Lancashire. We certainly don’t get our value for money on insurance and tax each year, and we have now moved to a street with very minimal parking. We had it registered on Whip Car last year – where it remained unused by anyone for a few months – before it got to the grand age of 10 years old and they wouldn’t allow it to remain insured under the scheme anymore. Is there a way to insure a club of 5 or 6 of us on one car? I’m happy to meet to discuss needs etc. We’d also be happy to get rid of it and start using Richard’s if it’s cheaper or better to do a club on a VW golf.
    I don’t check this forum much but suggest we discuss at Ripple or the Oak Tree at some point once someone’s found out about the insurance situation – any one keen enough?! 🙂

  7. Kirsty says:

    Hello again,
    After a painful (excruciating almost) morning getting lost in the car on my way to a meeting I decided I NEVER WANT TO DRIVE AGAIN if I can manage it.
    Our car is now a bit of a mess and I need to take action – either ditch or hitch (a lift)… OR start a car club.
    Check out this on the Transition Network website:
    A good example in Norwich, where 4 people paid £50 a quarter for a car and insured it via Green Insurance Company. Key elements of scheme copied below:

    “Together with a group of 3 friends, I’ve also now set up a car share scheme. We all put in £100 and brought a car together – a secondhand Fiat. We set up insurance with The Green Insurance Company, with one of us as the policyholder and the other three as named drivers. We set up a Community Bank Account with Barclays Bank (this involved us saying we were a not-for-profit organisation and coming up with a simple logo on headed paper), with all payments going in and out of this account by Direct Debit. We book the car on a shared Google Calendar and with no-one having a daily need for the car, it all seems to work out so that the car is available when we need it.”

    We each pay £50 a quarter and then 15p per mile that we drive (with any petrol we put in taken off the mileage sum). So essentially, my fixed motoring costs are at £200 per year. With each of us paying the same, this more than covers the car’s annual payments, with a surplus accruing for any repairs. If any extra costs come up, we just split them in four, which is a lot less painful than swallowing the whole bill, as you can imagine.”

    The question is – what’s the maximum of named driver these insurers will accept? I have made enquiries on cost for my vehicle for up to 5 named drivers.

    Is anyone still interested?


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