A Fife asthma sufferer turned to electric cars for his health — and has pocketed about £4,000 a year as a result.
John van Dieken, 53, is on the road a lot as part of his work with gas supplier SGN.
The Buckhaven man found driving through cities in particular troublesome for his asthma.
“All the emissions from tailpipes were making it worse,” he said.
“As much as the decision was for my own health, I was thinking about the environmental impact as well.”
He notices a difference now, especially while driving through cities.
John currently owns a Tesla Model X and drove a Model S before that.
He featured in a corporate video by the Elon Musk-owned firm in 2016.
John agrees that going electric may seem “daunting” to some, but encourages people to give it a go.
“The best thing you can do is speak to someone you know who has one, or reach out to a group online,” he said.
Battery life is one factor that has put some drivers off going all-electric, but losing energy is not something John has experienced.
“You just plan out your journeys. I can honestly say I have never been on the road and worried I would run out of power.”
John also said he has never been sitting idle at a charging point.
“There’s always emails or calls to be getting on with. I have never been sitting there twiddling my thumbs.”
How much could I save?
John clocks a lot of miles with his job, driving all over Scotland.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, he was doing about 30,000 miles a year.
He estimates he is saving £4,000 a year thanks to the cheaper running costs.
A charging point installed in his driveway offers a cheap overnight rate of five pence per unit.
However, not everyone has the luxury of having a charger on their doorstep.
“Sorting that out for people in blocks of flats, that is the next big challenge,” John said.
An upmarket car such as a Tesla was within John’s grasps thanks to an Energy Saving Trust grant.
“I am just an average working guy,” he said.
“I just sat down and looked at the numbers. It made sense financially to go electric.”
The apple does not fall far from the tree
The electric bug has seemingly caught on in the family as well.
Having seen the savings John was making, his 21-year old son Rhys followed suit and bought an electric car. A Nissan Leaf, in his case.
“It goes to show how obviously beneficial it is,” John added.
“The market has come a long way since I started driving electric.
“There are charging stations popping up all the time. It’s like there’s a new one everyday.”
Electric car adventures outside Fife
John does not keep his electric car confined to the Kingdom.
Aside from his work, he has driven to mainland Europe twice and completed the North Coast 500.
“I did that in 2017 when a lot of charging stations were put in. I made a point of stopping at every one for a charge along the route.
“And the first thing I did when I got my first electric car was a long trip to Oban just to test it out.”