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Land-based students join the eco-revolution with the first fully electric utility-terrain vehicle in a Scottish college

Electric cars are better, cleaner and kinder to the environment than their petrol- or diesel-powered counterparts. And this also applies to utility-terrain vehicles (UTVs). So much so that Borders College has become the first college in Scotland to purchase and deploy a fully electric utility-terrain electric vehicle.

The brand new ‘HiSun Beast 4×4 utility-terrain vehicle’ is now in service at Borders College’s Newtown St Boswells Campus, with students and staff using the Beast on a daily basis to carry out practical learning activities as part of a number of courses at the campus, which include Modern Agriculture, Service Engineering, Gamekeeping and Landscaping.

With a maximum speed of 37 mph and a range of 53 miles, the new UTV has an off-road towing capacity of up to 1.5 tonnes.

Purchased as part of the College’s ongoing ‘drive’ towards sustainability, the top-of-the-range Sector 15 kW is a real everyday workhorse, with more power and torque to tackle the most challenging of terrains. With the ability to climb steep slopes, the Sector 15 kW easily handles 45-degree inclines in forward and reverse. Lithium-ion technology batteries are designed for longer run times, and a single charge will keep the UTV working for a full day.

Charging the lithium-ion battery can be done overnight. With no battery change within five years, they offer longer battery life and can be charged from a standard 13-amp electrical supply at the cost of around £4.00, compared to 20 litres of diesel at around £30.00.

College Land-based Service Engineering Lecturer Dave Black, one of the staff instructing students on the safe use of the ‘Beast’, commented:

“As a college that always strives to be as sustainable as possible, we first came across the idea of an electric all-terrain vehicle (ATV) when we were delivering ATV training on Knoydart, and again on the Isle of Ghia, where both communities were starting to use electric ATVs.

“After evaluating and testing a number of electric options we found that the HiSun vehicle, supplied by local company Henderson Grass Machinery, Selkirk, met the needs of the College more than the others.”

Andrew Johnson, Rural Skills Development and Partnership Manager, said:

“As part of our Sustainability Strategy, we are committed to working towards a more sustainable world and are constantly looking to reduce our carbon emissions. The purchase of the UTV is one way in which we can do this.

“In addition, by educating our students on the benefits of technologies like electric vehicles, the students are empowered and informed to become greater global citizens and become skilled, confident and qualified about the importance of the need for environmental change.”

Borders College continues to innovate, implement and develop an awareness of good sustainable sector practices in all of its learning programmes.

Applications for all of the Land based courses starting in August 2023 are now open.

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