About the b-bug project

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.

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”)

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?

  1. To challenge our car-centric mindset – at least for short journeys
  2. To show that being green can be simply be fun
  3. To explore how a rural electric charging network might evolve
  4. To explore a local business opportunity building b-bugs.

5 Responses to About the b-bug project

  1. A great idea, I do think the range needs to be increased but I am sure that this willc ome in time with advances in technology and refinement of the design. Certainly looks like fun!

  2. Pingback: Join a funky, eco transport trial in the Brecon Beacons « The b-bug blog

  3. The Tartist says:

    Excellent saw one @ brecon hospital. Rachel was driving it. Would love to have one myself for run about. Same as post before the range needs to be increased.

  4. Peter W says:

    Clearly, other things being equal, a b-bug with greater range would be better, but it comes at a cost. The range could easily be doubled by using a lighter battery technology, but that would nearly double the price of the b-bug. We could add another battery, but that adds 30kg to the weight, and quite a bit of the extra range you would get would be lost lugging that additional weight around, and you’d increase the time it takes to re-charge. So one of the things we hope to find out with the trial is what people can do with the range we can cheaply and efficiently deliver.

  5. Robert Piper says:

    If these are light enough they can be driven on motorcycle licenses too as they would be B1 category.

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