Are Electric Cars the Perfect Choice for School Runs? Go Ultra Low Campaign Says Yes

Historically, children used to travel from home to school by foot, bicycle or bus, but the increase in parental choice for schools combined with concerns over safety mean that more parents than ever before are driving their children to school in the family car. The resulting back-to-school gridlock not only increases commute times for everyone, but dramatically increases pollution and fuel consumption.

Imagine if everyone did the school run in electric cars? It'd save a lot 410 million litres of fuel, says the UK Government.

Imagine if everyone did the school run in electric cars? It’d save a lot 410 million litres of fuel, says the UK Government.

Naturally, the best solution to school run gridlock is to change the way children get to school by making use of walking busses, public transport or cycle-friendly routes — but for those who have no other option but to drive their children to school, an electric car could save them hundreds of pounds a year on the school run.

That’s according Go Ultra Low, a UK-Government led campaign designed to get more people plugging in to ultra-low emission plug-in cars.

As TheGreenCarWebsite reports, if every family who took part in the 1.3 billion miles worth of school runs in the UK switched to a plug-in car, they’d save more than 410 million litres of fuel (108 million gallons). And to be clear, that’s just for the school run — not the many hundreds of millions of litres of fuel saved by the same people using plug-in cars for other activities.

According to the UK Government, the average daily school run is just 3.8 miles in length, meaning most electric cars on the market could easily handle a school run plus more than 50 miles or more of commuting on a single charge.

In the Gordon-Bloomfield family, our daily school run commute requirements aren’t quite as modest. While both children used to go to the local junior school, both now go to different high schools in the local area, resulting in a daily round trip of 40 miles just to get them to and from school.

In a car with a 50 imperial mpg fuel economy, our weekly fuel bill would equal £23 per week — or £785 ($1291) over the course of a 33-term school year.

How do you get your kids to school in the morning?

How do you get your kids to school in the morning?

In a plug-in car with a cost of around 2 pence per mile, that cost is reduced to £132 per year, although that doesn’t take into account the higher purchase cost of a plug-in car.

While we’d like to point out that there are far better ways of getting your children to school — like taking the school bus or combining the school run with dog walking duties — if there really is no other choice but driving, electric cars really are great for the job.

As well as being easy to drive in heavy traffic, plug-in cars add a layer of calmness to proceedings that isn’t possible with a regular car. And since most electric cars offer cabin pre-conditioning, there’s never any worry in winter months about clearing the windscreen of ice before you set off, meaning you’re more likely to leave on time, be less stressed, and happier too.

How do you get your children to school? Do you drive, walk, or take another means of transport? And if you drive in a plug-in car, what is your drive like?

Leave your stories in the Comments below.

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  • Richard Glover

    since December 2011 I have been doing the school run in my lovely blue Leaf, that’s two 30 mile round trips each school day and it has been perfect. I would recommend to anyone

  • Dreck Sheisse

    Should be “parents OVERLY concerned about safety”. nIt seems to me you’re setting up kids for failure when you don’t let them walk or ride bicycle just on the extremely unlikely chance they might be kidnapped.nThese days kids are more likely to die of premature heart disease or diabetes from lack of exercise.

    • D. Harrower

      There are SOME areas where this is a genuine concern, but not many. Even in the United States.nnIt’s kind of like how everyone drinks bottled water, even though their tap water is perfectly safe.

      • Dreck Sheisse

        But tap tastes terrible. I run it through a cheap activated carbon filter first (much less fossil-fuel plastic used than bottled).