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Mayor given hybrid car, but council’s 109 other vehicles rely on petrol or diesel

December 5, 2019

By Paul Homewood


h/t Dave Ward



A mayor has been handed a brand new hybrid car – but his council’s 109 other vehicles still rely on petrol or diesel.

West Norfolk mayor Geoff Hipperson receives his new hybrid BMW. Photo: Borough Council of King's Lynn and West NorfolkWest Norfolk mayor Geoff Hipperson receives his new hybrid BMW. Photo: Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk

West Norfolk council mayor Geoff Hipperson received the BMW 5 Series Saloon, which runs on a mix of petrol and electric power, on Wednesday, November 27.

The council hopes it will make more than £5,000 in savings and cut down on emissions.

But it confirmed that its fleet of 109 cars, vans, HGVs and tractors still use either petrol or diesel completely.

A council spokesman said it had trialled electric vehicles in the past but said the weight of the batteries and the distance they could travel before needing to be charged meant they were "ineffective, inefficient and impractical".

He said: "Due to the rural nature and size of this borough there are no suitable electric/hybrid commercial vehicles on the market at the moment that would be fit for purpose.

"We are already using some battery-powered strimmers, which are more environmentally friendly, and are aware that Ford are in the process of developing a Hybrid Connect at the moment and this could be considered in the future."

Mr Hipperson said most of his journeys were short enough to be completed on electric power alone.

The mayor said: "The new car will be much more economical and environmentally friendly and although it is a hybrid, most of the journeys will be short enough to be completed on electric power only."

The council estimates that savings of around £5,500 could be made over the next three years on running and service costs of the new vehicle.

It has taken a three-year lease option with a total cost to the council of £13,000. The council says this is a better option than capital investment in a new vehicle.

The lease will allow the option to switch to the latest electric vehicle technology available in the future.

A council statement said: "The benefits of running this hybrid car include the excellent fuel economy, especially when making short journeys around town, low emissions (less CO2 than a normal vehicle) and it’s quiet when using just electric power." 


The EDP are always good for a laugh when it comes to eco-loonery!

So keen to virtue signal, they have decided to get the mayor a brand new BMW hybrid, while at the same time admitting that electric cars are simply not up to the job for the rest of the fleet. (Though apparently electric strimmers are fine – as long as you have a long enough cable maybe).

As for the economics of the mayor’s new car, the council are being more than a little deceitful. They claim the leasing cost is £13000, but on top of this there is deposit of around £10000.

The simple fact though is that the BMW Series 5 hybrid costs about £9000 more than the conventional petrol version, making the 3-year saving on running costs of £5500 not good value at all for rate payers.

Of course, if the council really wanted to save money and the planet, they could always get the mayor a bicycle!

  1. December 5, 2019 7:19 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate-

  2. Broadlands permalink
    December 5, 2019 7:30 pm

    Hybrid vehicles still require fossil fuels…gasoline, diesel, even biofuels (~10% ethanol, ~90% fossil fuel…sometimes called Flex-fuel). The oil industry is growing algae to make ethanol. The vineyards in France and elsewhere are doing their part, as is the beer and liquor industry. However, humans are burning it by the glass. Down at the pub or at meetings on the dangers of climate change?

  3. December 5, 2019 7:47 pm

    Huh! For “short journeys around town” he should definitely be using a bike. Would get him seen too – he could stop and chat to people about whatever people chat to mayors about.

  4. Dave Ward permalink
    December 5, 2019 9:00 pm

    They said that they’re using battery powered strimmers, which have the distinct advantage (unlike any existing EV) of having a battery swapped in seconds.

    • December 6, 2019 9:37 am

      They certainly have their uses – but heavy duty cycle, in use all day in the summer? Each battery will probably run for 15 minutes, so how many spares are there in the van? The cost of one battery would probably fuel a petrol strimmer all summer.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        December 6, 2019 2:02 pm

        I think Stihl do a battery pack that you strap on which is the size of a big rucksack – must do wonders for your musco-skeletan.

  5. MrGrimNasty permalink
    December 5, 2019 9:04 pm

    Many assessments say large hybrid vehicles have the worst CO2 ‘cost’ of any car, even more so for low daily and lifetime mileage use (160k+ miles to break even some reports say). True it doesn’t all come from the tailpipe, but overall, they are the worst of all worlds.

    They are also notorious for getting nowhere near the claimed mileage. e.g. The BMW i8 gets 30-40 real world mpg versus 134 claimed!

    • ianprsy permalink
      December 5, 2019 10:26 pm

      “They are also notorious for getting nowhere near the claimed mileage. e.g. The BMW i8 gets 30-40 real world mpg versus 134 claimed!”

      Who cares, once you’ve made the case on hypothetical. Same for the benefit-in-kind calcs for company cars.

  6. Saighdear permalink
    December 5, 2019 11:22 pm

    Worra Plonker! does he really know what is meant by Hybrid here? Maybe he is confused by GM Crop Hybrids and he is wanting to use Roundup somewhere – or NOT as the case may be – Science is soooh volatile nowadays, eh?
    At least he’ll not have to queue up for juice like the Teslas in that far flung land last Friday!

  7. Gamecock permalink
    December 6, 2019 12:05 am

    ‘But it confirmed that its fleet of 109 cars, vans, HGVs and tractors still use either petrol or diesel completely.’

    As does the mayor’s.

    ‘BMW Series 5’

    An economy car, as every fool knows.

  8. Chaswarnertoo permalink
    December 6, 2019 7:37 am

    Eco loon crackpots.

  9. Ian Wilson permalink
    December 6, 2019 8:11 am

    Proponents of electric cars sweep under the carpet the huge environmental costs in mining cobalt and other minerals. The mines in the Democratic (???) Republic of Congo use child labour working in appalling and dangerous conditions.

    And couldn’t the council have bought a British car? Would a German council buy a Jaguar?

  10. Phoenix44 permalink
    December 6, 2019 8:13 am

    It will be cheaper to run an EV until we actually use them, then it wont be.

    Because then the state will have to recoup the 70-80% of petrol cost that is tax elsewhere.

    But let’s not tell anybody that, eh?

    • Gerry, England permalink
      December 6, 2019 2:14 pm

      If they can just get access to the Galileo satellite system post Brexit then away we go with road-pricing. I bet ebay will then be awash with GPS spoofers or blockers. Very easy to block as the signal is quite weak.

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