While there has been a lot of talk about the increase in electric car use recently, few have embraced it as much as the Woolley family in Fife.
Brian Woolley bought a hybrid automatic car in 2015 after a swollen knee made using a manual clutch pedal difficult.
The retired gas engineer never looked back and plunged for a Tesla Model 3, in 2019.
Son Martin had already been won over trying out an electric car at a motor show and ended up buying a Nissan Leaf just weeks before his father bought a Tesla.
Within three weeks, Martin’s sister Samantha and her fiance Josh Longhurst all bought their own electric cars.
The four are now parked outside their Dunfermline home.
Samantha has a Renault Zoe and Josh, who moved into the family home late last year, also owns a Nissan Leaf.
However, for the first six months of owning the car, he couldn’t drive it because of the impact coronavirus had on driving tests.
The car was bought ahead of booking a test, which then could not be sat until later in 2020.
Brian, 56, said: “Josh was living in Burntisland at the time, so all he could see of his car was pictures we would send him.”
Josh has since passed his test and has been reunited with his car.
Juggling four cars with one charging point
Ensuring all the cars are charged will often fall on Brian, who is at home more after his retirement.
As all the cars are white, he admitted one annoyance is mixing up which key is for which Nissan Leaf.
“Sometimes I do wish we got the other one in black or something,” he said.
They only have one charging point installed in the garage. The family looked at getting a second.
However, complications over how much charge a second could provide meant it was not feasible. Fears of overworking the house’s electrics meant a second could only provide so much.
Bill added: “I just keep on top of it and make sure each car gets a 40 minute charge here and there when needed.
“We’ve never had any problem with any of the cars running out of power.”
What if you can’t charge at home?
He admits they are lucky as living in a house has allowed them to install their own charging point.
For people living in flats, it is more complicated.
“That is the next big thing that needs to be sorted out if electric cars take over. If you live in a city with blocks of flats, getting charged is an issue.
“Dundee is definitely one of the best cities in Scotland for charging stations, but it’s still not convenient if you don’t have a charging point at home.”
What else have the Woolleys done?
Not long after dipping their toes into electric in 2015 with a hybrid, the family installed solar panels.
Lifelong Fife-man Brian has been blown away by the savings he’s made since getting an electric car.
“I don’t even think I’ve paid £10 to charge my Tesla. Some of the points at supermarkets are free.
“Between charging at home and getting small charges on longer trips, I have hardly ever had to pay for fuel.”
He estimates the net bill for heating and electrics at home is about £20 a month. The family send excess electricity generated by the solar panels to the National Grid.
But affordability isn’t the only attractive prospect of owning an electric car for the Fife family.
“It’s great that we’re helping the environment as well,” Bill added.
“It’s not just for us or the next generation, but for generations after that.”
The rest of the gang
You’ve heard from Brian, but how have the rest of the Fife family taken to their electric car journey?
Brian’s son was the first of the children to buy an electric car after Brian.
The 25-year old software developer uses his Leaf to commute to work in Edinburgh — although the working from home culture brought about by Covid-19 has meant he doesn’t have to commute as often.
He says having an electric car is a “conversation starter”.
“I’m surprised by giving people a lift, just how few people have actually been in one before.”
After seeing his father’s Tesla, Martin is hoping to get one for himself next.
Martin says the benefits of going electric are self evident.
The cost of running the vehicle means weekend trips to Glenfinnan Viaduct — made famous through its use in the Harry Potter films — and St Abbs — which stood in as New Asgard in the latest Avengers film — can be made on a whim.
“It’s essentially free to run. I don’t have to think about paying to fill up the car.”
The younger sibling, Samantha, saw how much the others were enjoying their electric cars and decided to follow suit.
“I was thinking I will end up with an electric car at some point anyway.”
Samantha, who works at the Pitbauchlie House Hotel, is more than happy with her Renault Zoe.
The 22-year old said: “It only takes me seven minutes to drive to work, so I hardly ever have to charge the car.”
Samantha and Josh plan to marry in about two years time, but hope to buy a house first.
Samantha’s fiance Josh was the last to get a buzz for electric cars.
Josh, 22, spent six months looking at pictures of his Nissan Leaf — because lockdown prevented him from taking his driving test.
“For me the main thing is how cheap it is to run. It’s good to think about the environmental benefits, but it was the savings that encouraged me to go electric.”