The b-bug (or Brecon Beacons electric buggy) is a research project started in June 2010. It was one of 4 winners at the Green Dragons’ Den Sustainable Development Challenge which ran at the 2010 Hay Festival.
What’s the idea?
1. We want to inspire visitors to get out of their cars and experience a greener form of holiday transport which is funky and fun.
- 91% of our visitors arrive by car and drive over 300 miles during their stay.
- they average 14 miles (round trip) to reach an outdoor activity.
2. We want to explore the concept of “not-cars” for short rural journeys for both visitors and local residents.
- in contrast to mainstream electric car development which is seeking to mimic the performance of petrol cars and hence producing very expensive vehicles beyond the reach of ordinary people.
3. We are demonstrating the power of clean, locally-sourced hydro-electricity (“rain-powered”)
- Talybont-on-Usk community hydro scheme could keep 100 b-bugs on the road.
- It rains on you today giving you the power to drive tomorrow!
What’s actually happening?
Over the winter, Dragon Electric Vehicles has designed, built and tested 2 road-legal, electric b-bugs, Boris and Blodwen. They have a top speed of around 30mph and a range of around 20-25 miles (depending on load and terrain). The two b-bugs have slightly different performance characteristics to help us explore speed x range x hill climbing trade-offs.
The trial was officially launched at 2011 Hay Festival at the end of May 2011 when different celebrity guests enjoyed their first ever b-bug experience.
From June until October 1st, pre-booking visitors can apply to take part in the trial. Only visitors with a current UK driving licence and comprehensive car insurance can participate. A b-bug will be delivered to their accommodation and they will have free use of it for 3 to 5 days to go shopping, visit the local pub or explore the local lanes. In exchange, we will be collecting detailed feedback about their journeys and b-bug experiences.
18 local pubs, restaurants, attractions and activity providers across the National Park have signed up as ‘b-bug friendly’ destinations where visitors can park up and re-charge the b-bug batteries for a couple of hours whilst they re-charge themselves, shop or take a walk.
What’s our aim?
- To challenge our car-centric mindset – at least for short journeys
- To show that being green can be simply be fun
- To explore how a rural electric charging network might evolve
- To explore a local business opportunity building b-bugs.