Helpline, the service from Colchester Amphora Trading Ltd (CATL) that helps older and vulnerable people live independently in their own homes, has just taken delivery of four brand-new, eco-friendly hybrid vehicles.

The Renault Clio E-Tech Hybrids will take to the roads this month – all fully branded to showcase the 24/7 service Helpline provides.

As a company wholly owned by Colchester Borough Council, CATL supports the council’s commitment to have a fully carbon neutral fleet by 2030. With zero tailpipe emissions and lower CO2 emissions, the switch to EV and hybrid cars is a positive step for the council and its trading company and demonstrates a joint commitment to tackling the Climate Emergency crisis.

“We are delighted to see the new Helpline fleet on the road. Our 24/7 service is relied upon by over 3,500 older and vulnerable people across Essex and it’s great to know that our teams will not only benefit from reliable and efficient vehicles but that local communities will too, from quieter engines and reduced air pollution.

“The hybrid vehicles offer the best of both worlds, helping to slash carbon emissions whilst giving us the extra certainty to meet the urgent response times that the service demands.”

Councillor Sue Lissimore

Portfolio Holder for Resources and Deputy Leader of the Council , Colchester Borough Council

The Renault Clio E-Tech Hybrid provides a significant improvement on Helpline’s former diesel vehicles in terms of environmental performance. They emit 96g/km of CO2 in comparison with its new diesel counterpart, which emits 109g/km. The vehicles can drive on full electric power up to 80% of the time in urban settings and “EV” buttons on the vehicles can ensure the cars run on electric motors when there is enough charge available.

“As a council we are committed to finding ways of beating climate change. It’s great to see the first steps towards having a fully carbon neutral fleet with the delivery of the Helpline hybrid vehicles. I’m excited to say that we’re expecting to take delivery of our first six fully electric vehicles later this year. Five will be used by our Neighbourhood Services and one by our pest control team.

“By leading on this charge, we hope that other local, private and public-sector organisations will follow, helping us make Colchester’s air cleaner.”

Cllr Simon Crow

Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainability, Colchester Borough Council

The council’s aim to transition to a fully EV fleet is detailed in its Carbon Management Plan to 2030. Developed in partnership with the Carbon Trust and the Energy Savings Trust, the Plan sets out the council’s journey to becoming net zero carbon for its operations.

This project is just one of several measures being developed by the council in response to the climate emergency. Find out more about what the council is doing to combat the climate emergency. 

To find out more about Helpline, call 01206 769779 or visit