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Mull and Iona Community Trust
Case study

Mull and Iona Community Trust

Mull and Iona Community Trust took advantage of Energy Saving Trust’s Plugged-in Communities Grant Fund to purchase a wheelchair accessible electric vehicle.


Mull and Iona Community Trust is a charity established in 1997 to address a wide range of issues including lack of housing, community transport and connectivity, and to support economic development on the island.

They have around 20 members of staff all based on the Isle of Mull, on Scotland’s west coast. They provide a community transport service to residents from all over the island and in the summer season they cater for the island’s many visitors.

Mull and Iona Community Trust is very carbon conscious, and over the last 10 years have advocated for sustainable transport and renewable energy in the island’s communities. They are particularly proud of the hydroelectric generation scheme in operation on the island since June 2015.

The process

The Trust learned more about electric vehicles (EVs) while attending an electric vehicle event run on the island by Energy Saving Trust in 2013. Through the event, they were able to access an electric Nissan Leaf for two weeks, and residents were invited to attend an electric vehicle seminar and test drive the vehicle.

Following this event, the Trust decided to begin the transition to electric. They now operate two electric vehicles as part of their community transport service, including a hybrid assisted minibus, and a second-hand Nissan Leaf. The MESS Island Castaways shop also operates a Citroen e-Dispatch.

In 2021, they applied for funding through the Plugged-in Communities grant, funded by Transport Scotland and administered by Energy Saving Trust. They received quotes for three vehicles and found the communication with dealerships to be quick and helpful.

The Trust submitted their application for funding and went on to receive £75,000 towards the purchase of a Mercedes eVito Tourer L3 Pro, a wheelchair accessible electric vehicle. This new vehicle replaces the Nissan Leaf, which had a smaller battery that made it unsuitable for longer journeys.


The new vehicle has a greater range, which means it can be used across the island to transport residents who work at low-income jobs to and from work, for essential journeys including medical appointments, and for social journeys including shopping, church and the occasional ceilidh.

Easy access to the electric vehicle means that more of the island’s residents can access sustainable transport to get about. Seeing electric vehicles on the island increases exposure and encourages people to consider EVs in their own lives.

Some of Mull and Iona’s Community Trust’s transport team are new drivers, and they had to learn to get used to the new electric vehicle, including being sure to plan journeys ahead of time, understanding the range capabilities, and allowing charging time.

Individual journeys tend not to be longer than 100 miles round-trip, but often the Trust makes several journeys over the course of a single day. The transport team have training in place to ensure they are prepared before setting off. They have not had a single instance where they were unable to comfortably complete a journey.

There are more charge points per head on the island compared to neighbouring islands, according to the Office for Zero Emissions, which is in part due to the Trust’s advocacy for sustainable transport options on the island. Overall, the transport team report that driving the new vehicle is a great experience.

The community transport option is very much appreciated on the island. They are now able to make longer journeys sustainably, including taking a patient to Fort William each week for dialysis treatment. The hospital has a public charge point available for their use, however they are delighted that they can make the return trip on a full charge with no problems.

“Our goal is for all of our fleet vehicles to be electric.”

– Moray Finch, General Manager, Mull and Iona Community Trust

Get in touch

If you think your community transport organisation could benefit from an electric vehicle, please see more information on our website or get in touch at

Last updated: 19 May 2022