A PIONEERING new motoring project has hit the road in the Scottish Borders.

A fleet of brand-new, low emission Toyota Yaris hybrids have arrived in several Borders towns.

And you can drive the eco-friendly vehicles for as little as £5.50 an hour or £45 per day.

The scheme is being delivered by Scottish Borders Council in partnership with E-Car Club.

Councillor Simon Mountford told us: “We already have a successful partnership with E-Car Club to use Toyota Hybrids as pool cars for our staff.

"As a result of this we have seen more shared journeys by employees, a reduction in business mileage claims and lower emissions.

"This next stage, which allows members of the public to join a car club scheme, is hugely exciting.

"Vehicles are available to book across the Borders and I believe many of our local residents will take advantage of this when they need access to a car for a few hours or even a full day.”

The vehicles are specially adapted to include an RFID card access system, meaning the cars can be booked online or through the free E-Car Club mobile app.

Bookings can be made for any length of time over one hour, and insurance is even included in the price.

Patrick Cresswell, Managing Director at E-Car Club, commented: “We are delighted to give Borders residents the opportunity to integrate low emission vehicles into their everyday lives through E-Car which offers a self-service, low cost and low emission car club.

"It’s a flexible solution for drivers who don’t want to commit to car ownership but need access to a car from time to time.

"We hope this scheme will encourage car owners to consider using the service as an alternative to vehicle ownership. And that should result in fewer cars on the road, and ultimately reducing emissions and congestion.”

The cars are parked in Peebles, Eyemouth, Duns, Kelso, Galashiels, Hawick and Newtown St Boswells, in allocated spaces prepared by Scottish Borders Council.

As the vehicles double up as local authority pool cars they are only available in the evenings and overnight between 5pm and 9am from Monday to Wednesday.

But they are for hire anytime from 5pm on Thursday through to 9am on Monday.

As the vehicles are hybrid, they come with two power sources - a petrol engine and an electric motor.

The majority of Toyota Hybrids are self-charging which means that every moment you are driving, your battery is charging even when slowing down.

This is thanks to technology like the regenerative braking system, which recovers energy that would normally be lost and stores it in the battery for later use.

And because they are all self-charging hybrids, their batteries never need to be plugged in.

E-Car Club is promoting a special introductory offer to coincide with the launch which includes FREE lifetime membership (normally £50) plus £15 free driving credit.

Simply visit: www.ecarclub.co.uk/join and enter code: WELCOMESB to claim this offer.