eCorporate Travel has a clear objective – to become Scotland’s first carbon-neutral chauffeur company. With the arrival of the first of Toyota Prius full hybrid hatchbacks, and a flood of support from bluechip corporate clients, it believes it is well on the way to achieving its goal.
The company, based in Loanhead on Edinburgh’s southern outskirts, is a self-contained offshoot of Edinburgh Executive Travel, which has been offsetting its saloon and people-carrier emissions for the past two years. Although eCorporate Travel has been building the foundations since the beginning of 2010, it began operations at the start of February with its striking white Toyota Prius T4 five-door hatchbacks, with new livery and logos.
The service is already being used by bluechip corporate clients in Edinburgh and the Lothians, and while the company has committed to taking on 14 Prius cars this year, it is ready to order more if other prospective clients come on board.
“The feedback has been phenomenal,” says Managing Director James Ritchie. “Almost every company now has a corporate responsibility on green issues. By using eCorporate Travel, they can reduce their carbon footprint while not compromising on service or price.
“Our proposition isn’t just about the environment but about exceptional service. Our fully uniformed, courteous chauffeurs assist our clients throughout their journey. Our clients get a high level of service, as well as the environmental kudos. Every eCorporate Travel client will receive a regular report showing the carbon savings they are making compared with their previous transport arrangements.”
eCorporate Travel’s investment includes a new bespoke booking system and an iPhone app for end-users.
Once a car is booked and allocated, passengers can track in real time on a map exactly where their car is located, and the app counts down its arrival time. All bookings are account customers only and an account can be opened through the website.
“We want to make things easy and convenient for our clients and investment in our bespoke booking system reflects this,” says James.
eCorporate Travel says that carbon emissions using the Toyota Prius (89g/km) undercut by 62 per cent those of a standard hackney cab (244g/km). Assuming an average of eight 10km journeys a day, the company estimates that this would save 3000kg of carbon dioxide a year – equivalent to the energy needs of a three-bedroom house for six months.
Through Trees4Scotland, the company also promises to plant enough native trees to offset more than double the expected emissions of its clients, and aims to achieve “Oak Status” for each qualifying corporate. This would signify the offsetting of 73 tonnes of carbon dioxide – the equivalent of driving 820,000km in a Toyota Prius.
Low CO2 emissions apart, the Toyota Prius offers the latest in luxury and technology, with a combined fuel economy of more than 72mpg. As a full hybrid the Prius is able to be powered solely by the electric motor at lower speed meaning zero fuel consumption and zero emissions.
Standard features include automatic air conditioning, seven airbags, electric windows, eight-speaker CD player, rain-sensing wipers, Bluetooth, head-up display, Touch Tracer controls and smart entry and start, with the addition of leather upholstery throughout.