FLEET E L E C T R I C , H Y B R I D A N D O T H E R A LT E R N AT I V E S
A FleetNews publication
ELECTRIC VEHICLES: THE NEXT GENERATION With Ford, BMW and Volkswagen Group set to join the fray, will 2014 be the year of the EV?
We launched our first Electric Fleet supplement in 2011 with the rather bold headline that 2012 would be “the year of the electric vehicle”. Hmm, well not quite. It was certainly the year when a number of models from mainstream manufacturers came to market, but despite Government incentives on pricing and taxation, take up was decidedly meagre. So let’s start again. 2014 will be the year of the electric vehicle. Surely lightning won’t strike twice? We make this claim with a greater degree of confidence than back in 2011 for three key reasons: the emergence into the market of Ford, BMW and Volkswagen Group. All have crucial roles to play. Ford is the UK leader; what it does tends to make people sit up and take
notice. If Ford pushes electric vehicles, fleets and consumers will listen. BMW becomes the first premium car manufacturer to launch an all-electric vehicle. Its presence is important because it changes the stakes. Volkswagen Group could be the most important entrant of them all. The biggest seller into the true fleet sector through Volkswagen, it also has crosssector pull with Audi, Seat and Skoda. The company has already started advertising the A3 e-tron, its range-extender, on the TV despite the fact the car does not go on sale until the second half of next year. And with Cenex and EST stepping up their promotion of EV as a viable option for fleets, 2014 really could become the year of the electric car. Stephen Briers, Editor, Fleet News
CONTENTS 4 I Plan now to avoid ‘plug-in panic’ Fleets should concentrate on two issues – infrastructure and policy – to be prepared for electric vehicles.
8 I Business must lead EV adoption
18 I VW wants to be e-mobility leader Volkswagen Group outlines its ambitious plans.
20 I Leasing companies to drive uptake Firms launch plug-in products to stimulate demand.
Transport Minister Baroness Kramer on the role companies have in determining future mobility.
22 I Overcoming challenges
12 I Ford’s view on the future of fuel
23 I Conquering range anxiety
How manufacturer will build on a long history of making electric vehicles.
16 I BMW ‘takes risk out of market’
Carmaker pledges to protect residual values of its pure electric and range-extender i3 range.
EVs will move from the sidelines to the mainstream.
Eco driving techniques can transform the distance an electric vehicle can travel.
25 I Case studies
Why three fleets are embracing electric vehicles.
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Editorial Editor-in-chief Stephen Briers 01733 468024 firstname.lastname@example.org Deputy editor Simon Harris 01733 468308 email@example.com News editor Gareth Roberts 01733 468314 firstname.lastname@example.org Features editor Sarah Tooze 01733 468901 email@example.com
Contributors Carlton Boyce, John Maslen Production Head of publishing Luke Neal 01733 468262 Designer Charlotte Boon 01733 468312 Associate editor (production) Andrew Ryan 01733 468310 Production editor Finbarr O’Reilly 01733 468267
Advertising Commercial director Sarah Crown 01733 468320 Group advertisement manager Sheryl Graham 01733 468256 Account managers Wendy Cowell 01733 468046 Lucy Herbert 01733 468800 Lisa Turner 01733 468345 Stuart Wakeling 01733 468342 Marcus Woods 01733 468269 Head of project management Leanne Patterson 01733 468332 Project managers Angela Price 01733 468338 Kerry Unwin 01733 468327
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fleetnews.co.uk Winter 2013 3
CH A R GING
START PLANNING TO AVOID ‘PLUG-IN PANIC’ Fleets should concentrate on two issues: infrastructure and policy NEED TO KNOW n Lack of clear charging infrastructure for EVs n Companies urged to consult experts over policies n Growing support for companies considering EVs
By John Maslen common concern within the fleet sector has been the lack of a clear recharging infrastructure for electric vehicles (EVs), particularly on a national basis. When a driver fills up with petrol or diesel, they go to one of 8,000 forecourts in the UK, everyone uses the same equipment and the process takes just a few minutes. By contrast, there may be millions of electricity plug points in the UK, but few
4 Winter 2013 fleetnews.co.uk
estimate of the number of EVs which could be on the roads by 2020
investment in improving availability fo charging points
of them are within reach of a parking bay. A full charge can take anything from 30 minutes to eight hours depending on the type of recharging system being used. Within an office environment, these issues need to be considered carefully if electric vehicles are to be offered on the fleet, particularly if there are going to be more cars than charging points. Currently, it may not seem an issue that requires any formal planning, but with estimates that there could be 1.2 million EVs on the road by 2020, it is worth ensuring the company is protected from ‘plug-in panic’ in future years. Plans need to focus on two areas, firstly covering infrastructure and secondly charging policies. Infrastructure If a company is providing electric vehicles to employees then, in most cases, they need access to a recharging point in the office car park. Depending on space, it is good practice to reserve the bay for EVs only, assuming space is available and employees are office based. Cost estimates vary for installing a single charging point, but for budgeting purposes a figure of around £800 per installation is typically used. However, this just covers the infrastructure and there will be additional costs, such as marking out bays, crash barriers and signage. This raises a key question – how many bays should a company install?
Simon Stacey, commercial manager for the electric vehicle services team at British Gas, says it pays to consult with experts. “We tend to bespoke the solution depending on what the customer’s specific needs are,” he says. “Siting of the project needs to be done with professional advice and we would provide an engineer to look at premises and talk through options with customers. “We do have conversations about expectations for EV fleet sizes to understand the company’s expectations of growth in the fleet. Typically, as we are in the early stages of the market, people want to trial electric vehicles, but have the opportunity to scale their investment.” Companies may also need to cater for different standards when it comes to plugs. Currently, there are several different designs for charging points, ranging from a simple three-pin plug used in the home, through to connectors similar to ones used by caravanners. There are attempts to introduce a European standard, but chargers also differ depending on whether they are used for fast or slow charging. Home charging Companies also need to consider how employees will charge at home. In some cases, they may be able to plug into a wall socket. In other cases, an external charging pod may be fitted. Drivers without off-road parking, such as those in flats, may need to apply to their council for a grant to install on-street charging facilities. Earlier this year, the Office for Low Emission Vehicles announced that £37 million was being invested in improving the availability of public charging points. Depending on their arrangements, if drivers were to charge at home and at work, they would possibly require at least two leads if they didn’t have access to a simple three-pin socket at the office. Ivan Hodac, secretary general of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, says: “E-mobility can be part of a long-term solution to our mobility challenges. However, we need to have the right framework if it is to really take off. “We want to avoid a situation where customers have to carry a multitude of charging cables to use their vehicles in different cities, just as we see today with items like mobile phones.” There is a growing amount of support available for companies that want to investigate the issue. Leasing company Alphabet recently launched AlphaElectric (see page 20), which provides businesses with support for a four-step approach to EV integration, starting with a business assessment to address issues such as charging infrastructure and demand. Alphabet mobility solutions manager Kit Wisdom says: “It is important that fleet managers are able to get hold of all of the facts to make informed decisions about if and how electric vehicles will fit into their wider business mobility planning.” Equal access to charging points Forward planning is essential when introducing electric vehicles to avoid unexpected problems. One of the immediate priorities for a fleet will be ensuring employees have equal access to a charging point at work, if they are being made available. If 20 fleet drivers opt for an electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid and there are two charging points,
EV POLICY IN PRACTICE British Gas parent company Centrica is expecting to have 1,500 electric vehicles (EVs) on its fleet by the end of 2015. As part of its strategy to encourage the use of electric vehicles, employees do not have to pay for charging at its offices. They are also allowed to reclaim business mileage at the company’s standard rate for any journeys as an added incentive for opting for an electric vehicle. In return, if employees charge up at home, there is no policy for claiming back the cost of electricity used. British Gas is supporting EV growth as part of its commitment to building a national recharging network. This year it announced its first free nationwide charging package
“E-mobility can be part of a long-term solution to our mobility challenges” Ivan Hodac, European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association
to include a home charge point and access to the nationwide Polar public charging network. Available until March 31, 2015, the package includes: n Installation of a home charge point n Access to the Polar network until the end of March 2014 for the use of more than 1,800 charging points across the UK n Access to Chargevision online account management and smartphone app n Three-year charge point warranty and three-year parts and labour warranty Open to anyone, this offer is jointly funded through British Gas and the Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles, with access to the Polar network provided by Chargemaster.
then there are likely to be constant disputes taking up management time. One option is to follow the approach adopted by Islington Council for its on-street charging network. The rules relating to charging are equally valid in a busy work car park environment. Its rules state: “You may park only in an EVCP Bay for the purpose of recharging your vehicle and then only for a maximum period of three hours between the hours of 7am-10pm (seven days a week). In addition, you may recharge your vehicle for up to nine hours overnight between 10pm-7am (seven days).” Companies could provide a booking system to allow employees to ensure they have a slot when they can charge their vehicle. Another key policy area is ensuring equipment is looked after. Some EV equipment, such as leads, can cost up to £450 to replace, although prices have been driven down by independent equipment suppliers to around £90 recently. Additionally, smart tags, used to gain access to some charging points, can also cost around £10. If this replacement cost is to be passed on to staff, it needs clearly stating within any EV policy before vehicles join the fleet. There are a range of other policy decisions to make, including how employee home charging points will be funded and how recharging costs will be reimbursed. Companies also need to consider their policy on payments for business mileage. Erik Fairbairn, chief executive of Pod Point, which is supplying discounted charging systems to Lex Autolease customers, says: “Electric vehicles are a highly-disruptive technology. A lot of procedures will have to change. The electricity supplied to EV drivers is not currently a taxable benefit, but may become so in the future – so electricity provision to individual drivers will need to be reported. “The efficiency of the vehicles will need to be monitored, and as will reductions in CO2 emissions, so they can be offset against targets.” n Visit bit.ly/evchargingpoints for a map of charging points, fleetnews.co.uk Winter 2013 5
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G O V ERNMEN T OP INION
“IT IS VITAL THAT FLEETS LEAD BY ADOPTING ULEVS” Baroness Kramer, Minister of State for Transport
leets will play a huge role in the increasing adoption of ultra low emission vehicles (ULEV). The environmental case for going ULEV is widely understood – and was brought home more than ever when the Transport Secretary visited China in October and saw firsthand the cumulative effect that internal combustion vehicles can have on air quality. However, ULEVs don’t just help us improve air quality, they also reduce traffic noise and cut carbon and they can help save you money – costing less than 3p a mile to run. We want everyone to know about the cost benefit of adopting ULEVs. This is why we are funding the Energy Saving Trust’s Plugged-in Fleets Initiative, a free consultancy service that helps businesses to analyse whether ULEVs are a viable option for their fleets, concentrating on evaluating the total cost of ownership (see page 9). The key is making ULEVs commercially attractive to fleet audiences. Cornwall NHS Foundation Trust has just purchased 15 Renault Zoes which will help it to save £13 per 100 miles. There is a real role for ultra low emission vehicles in modern fleets and many organisations, both large and small are adopting these technologies. It’s not just the total cost savings that can be achieved converting fleet managers to ULEVs; the refined nature of the driving experience is also converting fleet drivers. While the case for integrating ULEVs into fleets is improving daily, we do recognise that there is currently a limited range of ULEV models available and that some ULEVs may not be suitable for all fleet roles. However, vehicle manufacturers, Government and leasing and finance companies are all supporting the ULEV agenda. 8 Winter 2013 fleetnews.co.uk
cost to run an ultra low emissions vehicle per mile
amount Government will have available to develop ULEV market between 2015 and 2020
Not doubting that the future is ultra low emission, some leasing companies have developed leasing models that encourage businesses to use an electric vehicle when fit for purpose, but allows for companies to use an internal combustion engine vehicle where an ULEV isn’t the most suitable, such as Alphabet’s AlphaElectric product (see page 20). In September we published our ultra low emission vehicle strategy – ‘Driving the future today’ which sets out the long-term vision for an effectively decarbonised fleet by 2050. In developing this strategy we listened to the views of our stakeholders. And we will continue to do so. It is vital for us that businesses lead by integrating ULEVs into their fleets but we recognise the role Government must play in supporting that move. In the 2013 Spending Round, the Chancellor announced that £500 million would be available to develop the ULEV market between 2015 and 2020. This is a world-leading commitment that gives certainty to the market. But we need the industry to help us deploy it in the most beneficial way and would especially welcome your input in responding to our recently published call for evidence on Government measures to incentivise uptake of ultra low emission vehicles between 2015-20. And can I pose you a challenge to get out there and try one? All the evidence shows that the single most influential contributor to increasing ULEV uptake is users experiencing the vehicles for themselves. This can perhaps dispel some misconceptions and prompt people to realise that these are, first, just cars (or vans) after all, and second, that they’re actually really nice to drive. n We’d love to hear about your experiences and hope you will share your stories on our recently launched LinkedIn group for fleets: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/OLEV-FleetsForum-6547857/about.
ENER GY S AV ING T RUS T OP INION
“THE WHOLELIFE COSTS CAN BE HUGELY POSITIVE” Caroline Watson, knowledge manager, Energy Saving Trust
n increasing number of organisations are looking at electric vehicles as an investment for their business fleets. Last year, through the Plugged-in Fleets Initiative (PIFI), which is a free analysis of business fleets, the Energy Saving Trust worked with 25 organisations, such as Boots UK, Wm Morrisons, and City of York Council, to assess whether switching to electric and plug-in hybrid cars and vans could work for them and the benefits this could bring. We found that the majority of organisations could benefit from placing plug-in vehicles somewhere within their fleets. More than half (61%) of the organisations we worked with said that they would acquire plug-in vehicles. The benefits of operating electric and plug-in vehicles were relevant to a variety of businesses – SMEs, large organisations and companies in the private and public sector. One of the main benefits is the potential to reduce fleet fuel costs by up to 75% and running electric vehicles within fleets could help to protect businesses from the impact of rising fuel costs. A company that has managed to reduce its costs considerably by using electric vehicles is Fruit 4 London, an SME that operates small to medium-sized delivery vans around London delivering fruit to offices. It found that by switching to electric it could save £9,000 per vehicle over three years. It currently operates three electric Renault Kangoo ZEs, but intends for all its future vehicles to be electric. Using the example of Fruit 4 London, our conservative figures show combined savings of almost £200 million if 10% of all vans registered in London went electric. Boots UK was one of the larger organisations that got involved in PIFI, with around 1,100
of organisations the Energy Saving Trust worked with through the Plugged-in Fleets Initiative said they will acquire electric vehicles
£9,000 saving Fruit 4 London can make per vehicle over three years by switching to electric vans
owned and leased small vans in the UK. It was looking at ways of reducing carbon emissions by using electric vans for its pharmacy delivery service, with our analysis showing that the organisation could save on its fuel and vehicle costs by introducing electric vehicles to its fleet. From the public sector, City of York Council was keen to learn more about the potential benefits of plug-in vehicles as part of its Low Emission Strategy within York. The council has now implemented many of PIFI’s final recommendations, including purchasing a Nissan Leaf, which was shown to have slightly lower running costs than existing vehicles. This trial has proved so successful that it is now in the process of procuring another five electric pool cars. The council intends to draw on its experiences to promote its fleet as an exemplar of electric vehicle implementation to other organisations, encouraging the transition towards cleaner fuels in York. Ultimately, plug-in vehicles will not be suitable for everyone or every business – that’s why we offer a tailor-made approach as each organisation has different needs for their fleet. However, the wholelife costs can be hugely positive so the switch to plug-in vehicles could be one worth making. Following the success of PIFI, the Energy Saving Trust received additional funding from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) to establish the PIugged-in Fleets Initiative 100 (PIFI 100). The initiative offers 100 organisations in England the opportunity to receive free analysis and guidance on how plug-in vehicles could work for them. n Places are available on PIFI 100 on a first come first served basis. For more information or to apply contact 0207 227 0310 or pifi@ est.org.uk. More details about PIFI 100 can be found at www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/pifi fleetnews.co.uk Winter 2013 9
MILES AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION BiK 5%** FROM
MPG 235.4mpg* UP TO
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Now, for the second successive year, it has been named Green Vehicle of the Year by the Association of Car Fleet Operators (ACFO) – an especially highly-prized award, reﬂecting the day-to-day operational experience and expertise of Fleet Decision Makers.
CO2 27g/km* FROM
The Ampera is way ahead of its time with an ingenious, practical solution. A revolutionary Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (E-REV), it uses advanced technology to provide a non-stop range of up to 360 miles1 – giving all the convenience of a conventional car, but with signiﬁcantly lower CO2 emissions (27g/km*) and running costs.
In addition, Ampera has won the prestigious title of European Car of the Year, plus Green Car of the Year by both What Car? and Top Gear magazine.
VAUXHALL FLEET Call 0870 010 0651 | visit www.vauxhall.co.uk/ﬂeet Ofﬁcial Government Test Environmental Data. Fuel consumption ﬁgures mpg (litres/100km) and CO2 emissions (g/km). Model shown Vauxhall Ampera Positiv: Urban: N/A. Extra-Urban: N/A. Combined/weighted: 235.4mpg (1.2). CO2 emissions: 27g/km. Ofﬁcial EU-regulated test data are provided for comparison purposes and actual performance will depend on driving style, road conditions and other non-technical factors. * = The “Combined/weighted” fuel consumption/CO2ﬁgures for Ampera are calculated from two test results: one when the battery is fully charged by mains electricity and the other when the battery is discharged. The two test results are a weighted average, taking into account mileage range on battery power only, providing a ﬁgure in a variety of charge conditions. 1 = Extended range achieved by 1.4 litre 16-valve VVT ECOTEC® petrol engine
Ampera: Advanced thinking, revolutionary motoring
Tax breaks and buying incentives • £3,500 price reduction announced in September
It’s clever. The Ampera’s battery provides up to 50 miles of motoring – plenty for the majority of commuters – but on longer trips there is no need to stop and recharge as a 1.4-litre generator cuts in seamlessly, providing up to another 310 miles1. And, happily, there’s no shortage of performance, either; the 150PS electric motor gives 0-60mph in 8.7 seconds, and a 100mph top speed. Reassuringly, the battery has an eightyear/100,000 mile warranty and each car also comes with Vauxhall’s 100,000 mile Lifetime Warranty3.
• £0 Vehicle Excise Duty (ﬁrst year and standard rates) • 5% BiK** • Exempt from London Congestion Charge 5 • Reduced Employer Class 1A National Insurance contributions • 100% ﬁrst year Writing Down Allowance • Eligible for the Government £5,000 Plug-in Car Grant
Enhanced driving The Ampera is a very sophisticated ﬁve-door four seater. While it drives like a conventional automatic, it also has two hi-tech displays that show power ﬂow and charging schedules – and four driving modes for different driving conditions and styles.
Incredible fuel economy Fuel savings will depend on particular drivers and journeys, but if every commute falls within the batteryonly range, the cost per mile will typically be two pence4 depending on your electricity provider. The Ampera offers a Combined/weighted fuel economy ﬁgure of 235.4mpg*. Seeing is believing; take a look at your potential fuel costs at www.vauxhallﬂeet.co.uk/toolbox/fuel-calculator
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BusinessCar Green Model of the Year 2013
generating electricity. ** = 2013-14 tax year. General Motors UK Limited does not offer tax advice and recommends that all Company Car Drivers consult their accountant with their particular tax position. Image is shown for illustrative purposes only. 2 = The range achievable in battery mode with a fully charged battery under typical everyday driving conditions, modest use of engine performance and in average weather conditions (without use of additional electrical consumers). The range is substantially inﬂuenced by the driving style. 3 = Lifetime Warranty covers lifetime ownership of ﬁrst car owner, 100,000 mile limit, (eight-year 100,000 mile warranty on the Ampera battery subject to the warranty conditions as outlined in the Vauxhall Ampera service booklet). Annual check required. The warranty excludes wear and tear and serviceable items and the vehicle must be serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s servicing schedule to continue the Lifetime Warranty. Terms and conditions apply. Offer available to all Vauxhall passenger cars, (this offer does not apply to car-derived vans) registered from 1 August 2010. 4 = Depending on electricity prices. 5 = Exemption from London Congestion Charge available upon the payment of a £10 annual fee.
FORD’S VIEW OF THE FUTURE FOR FUEL How carmaker will build on long history of making electric vehicles
By Carlton Boyce ord isn’t at the forefront of alternative energy promotion, perhaps with good reason. Its Ecoboost petrol engines are finding favour with buyers who have looked beyond its diminutive displacement and the Econetic diesel range is lauded for a fine blend of performance and economy. When conventional technology is this good, the fleet manager can be forgiven for giving electricity a miss, especially when you consider that Ford’s overall fleet emission figure has dropped by 19% in 10 years. Yet to do so might be to do Ford’s electric vehicle (EV) range a disservice; EVs have their virtues, and their vices can often be managed.
We travelled to Frankfurt to examine Ford’s alternative-fuel vehicles to help you decide whether they should be on your choice list.
BELOW: Mondeo/ Fusion hybrid electric vehicle produces CO2 emissions of 99g/km
Focus Electric has a claimed range of 100 miles on a full charge
12 Winter 2013 fleetnews.co.uk
Ford’s EV history Ford’s EV history stretches back 100 years to Henry Ford’s 1913 electric Model T, developed with Thomas Edison. Attracted by the absence of noise, vibration and harshness as well as the reliability offered by an electric motor he was, even then, well aware of an electric car’s power to generate good PR. Unsurprisingly, it was battery technology that limited the car’s appeal commercial viability. The Ford Comuta of 1966 was next, with a top speed of 25mph thanks to a lead acid battery, while the e-Ka of 2000 was the first Ford to use a lithium-ion battery, giving it a top speed of 80mph and a 124-mile range. The North American Escape Hybrid of 2004 was joined by a plug-in version of the same car in 2007. Indeed, America has been a hotbed of electrification since 2008, with Ford USA selling the Fusion Hybrid there, alongside the Focus Electric and C-Max Energi. But the American market is very different to that of the UK and Europe, which explains why we are only just getting the cars the US has had for years. Current EV range Ford currently produces three classes of EV: a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV), a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) and a fully-electric vehicle, represented by the Mondeo/Fusion Hybrid, C-Max Energi, and Focus Electric respectively. The Fusion/Mondeo HEV combines a 2.0-litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine with an electric motor and battery. The petrol engine develops 141hp and 129lb/ft of torque, boosted to 188hp when the electric motor cuts in to supplement it. Performance is adequate, with up to 85mph possible on battery power alone. The target fuel economy is 64mpg-plus and sub-99g/km CO2 emissions. The Fusion has been sold in the United States since 2008 and the Mondeo will be available in the UK next year. There are no plans to produce the C-Max Energi PHEV in right-hand-drive form, but is interesting nonetheless. Ford’s first production plug-in hybrid combines the same 2.0-litre engine used in the Fusion with an 88kWh electric motor and lithium-ion high-voltage battery. Producing less than 50g/km of CO2, it can be run in pure-electric mode for up to 18 miles and can be recharged in less than three hours when plugged into a 32-amp charging station. Perhaps the most interesting car is the Focus Electric, which is on sale now. Fitted with an electric motor and battery (cooled
C-Max Energi is Ford’s first production plug-in hybrid – but it won’t be coming to the UK
and heated to maintain a stable environment, helping maximise life and output) it produces 142hp. It has a top speed of 85mph and has a claimed range of 100 miles. Recharge times vary from as little as three to four hours when plugged into a 32-amp supply to 10-11 hours when charged through a domestic 240-volt/10-amp supply. Conventional approach to environmental issues Ford might be the number two manufacturer of hybrid cars, but if you suspect its approach to electric power is guarded, you could be right. Roland Krüeger, chief of electric powertrain development at Ford’s European Technical Centre in Cologne, is clearly committed to exploring the use of electric power in cars – he sits on the ColognE-mobil project – but even he suggests that conventional powertrains can provide more practical alternatives for the time being. Of the fuel efficiency of fossil fuel engines, he says there is “still more to come, especially on the petrol side, but the steps will get smaller and smaller”. However, Krüeger believes that the more widespread use of electric vehicles is inevitable. He says: “By 2020, it will be hard to achieve the legal requirements with electrification.” This explains Ford’s current interest in alternative fuels (and probably several other manufacturers as well); it has no choice but to be interested. The manufacturer also needs a wide range of power options to cater for geographical variations in demand – and it isn’t just national considerations either, as hyper-local markets can be as sensitive to political nuance. A London-based company that travels solely within the congestion charge zone would take a very different view to that of a company based in and around Birmingham, for example. This is why Ford needs a ‘portfolio of options’, only one of which happens to be electric. If future legislation is a catalyst for change, Ford is keeping its options open. Electricity isn’t the only alternative fuel on offer or being considered: natural gas is widespread in North America as a fossil fuel alternative in vehicles, LPG is still popular in mainland Europe, even if its use in the UK is declining, biofuel, used as a conventional fuel supplement, is an attractive proposition and fuelcell cars running hydrogen might just oust EVs in the not-so-distant future. Telemetrics – a missed opportunity? No telemetrics are available with the current range of Ford EVs, denying fleet managers the opportunity to monitor charging regimes and running costs remotely. This seems like an opportunity missed given how well regarded Nissan’s Carwings app and Volvo’s On Call apps have been.
“There is still more to come, especially on the petrol side, but the steps will be smaller and smaller” Roland Krüeger, Ford
10-11 recharge time (hours) of Focus Electric
top speed (mph) of Focus Electric
The Atkinson-cycle engine So what is an Atkinson-cycle engine, and why has Ford chosen to use it in its C-Max Energi and Fusion/Mondeo hybrids? Simply put, the modern Atkinson-cycle is a variation on the conventional Otto cycle engine in which the intake valve is held open during the first part of the compression stroke, allowing a higher expansion ratio. This trades power for efficiency, an engineering sleight-of-hand that is acceptable when you have an electric motor supplementing your petrol engine’s output – and where low emissions and high fuel economy are the aim.
Resale values The Focus Electric starts at £33,500 in the UK, and is eligible for the £5,000 Government Plug-In Car Grant. That’s a considerable amount as the Nissan Leaf starts at £15,990 (including grant). Resale values are “really difficult to predict” in Ford’s own words. The Leaf, the best-selling EV in the UK, depreciates at well over twice the rate of an equivalent diesel Focus or Volkswagen Golf and there is no reason to suspect that the Focus Electric will stray too far from that. As a result, Ford doesn’t expect to sell many this year, saying it will be pleased if 30 find new homes. Unsurprisingly, the Focus Electric will be built alongside the regular Focus; no one builds a new production line for numbers like that. The future The future for EVs is impossible to predict. Political wills are easily bent and while electricity is the flavour of choice at the moment it would be easy to argue a future where, say, hydrogen makes more sense for more people more of the time. And yet, as Henry Ford noted, there is good PR to be gained from the use of an electric vehicle, which for some companies is enough. Ford doesn’t think that many will take up its EV offer, but for those that do, the Focus Electric is by far the nicest of its electric range to drive.
fleetnews.co.uk Winter 2013 13
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TEST DRIVE 0800 777 113
*Demonstrator subject to applicant status and availability. Official fuel economy figures for the BMW i3: mpg N/A, CO2 emissions 0 g/km, nominal power output (electric motor) 75/102 kW/hp at 4,800 rpm; peak power output (electric motor) 125/170 kW/hp, total average energy consumption per 62 miles/100 km (combined cycle) 12.9 kWh, customer orientated range 80â€“100 miles, total range (combined cycle) 118 miles. Official fuel economy figures for the BMW i3 with Range Extender: mpg 470.8, CO2 emissions 13 g/km, total average energy consumption per 62 miles/100 km (weighted combined cycle) 11.5 kWh, customer orientated range without use of Range Extender 75-93 miles, weighted combined cycle total range 211 miles, weighted combined cycle range without use of Range Extender 106 miles. Figures may vary depending on driving style and conditions.
BMW ‘TAKES RISK OUT OF EV MARKET’ Manufacturer pledges to protect residual values of its i3 range
By Simon Harris MW began its roll-out of plug-in vehicles with the launch of the i3 in November. The manufacturer will seek to control both new and used markets for its new electric vehicles to protect values. Suzanne Gray, general manager of BMW i, told an audience of almost 200 fleet industry delegates at the unveiling of the i3 in August: “The cars will be sold on a fully direct basis. We’re taking the risk out for customers and our network. We have enormous confidence in these vehicles and we are happy to stand by them.
number of sales agents for BMW i in the UK
“We will control supply in the marketplace and will manage the situation until the market has matured and has as much confidence in the vehicles as we do.” There will be 47 sales agents for BMW i in the UK, many of which will be at current corporate hub dealers. There will be dedicated sales areas and expert staff, and these outlets will also be qualified
i3 is available as both aa pure electric car and as a range-extender
The i3 will have a range of around 80 to 100 miles between charges, and customers can also specify a range-extender version that uses a 650cc motorcycle engine to continue charging the battery after the plug-in charge is depleted, offering a potential 186 miles until recharging or refuelling. The electric motor produces 170hp and 184-lbft of torque, the latter being available instantaneously and
16 Winter 2013 fleetnews.co.uk
sufficient to propel the car from 0-62mph in 7.2 seconds. Extensive use of lightweight aluminium and carbon fibre components has also helped. The i3 has the fun-to-drive characteristics you’d expect in a compact BMW, with the added appeal of travelling in silence. The gear selector is behind the steering wheel, and the interior is surprisingly spacious for a vehicle that’s shorter than a Mini Countryman.
As there is a significant amount of energy recuperation when lifting off the accelerator, it replicates engine braking and speed reduces as much as when applying the brakes gently. This saves brake wear, and the electric motor has fewer moving parts than an internal combustion engine. BMW i also offers a smartphone app that guides you via public transport options (or on foot) for the remainder of your journey, assuming the destination for
the i3 is the nearest public charging point rather than your place of work or the venue for your meeting. The manufacturer talks of ‘megacities’ as the places where the i3 works best. BMW says SMR costs for the standard model are around 22% lower than the 1-Series 118d, while the range-extender should be comparable to the 118d. Aluminium and carbon fibre have been used to help keep weight down, ensuring the i3 weighs less than 1,200kg.
to carry out maintenance on high-voltage components as well as the rest of the car. A further 100 outlets will be able to carry out diagnostic and body repair work, and there will be two specialist centres for carbon fibre repair. However, BMW will cover the cost of any transfer between dealers. And by 2015 the manufacturer is expecting all its dealers to be capable of dealing with high-voltage components. BMW claims its trials with electric prototypes, including the Mini E and the ActiveE, ensure it comes to market prepared for what customers need from electric vehicles. More than a quarter of a million miles were driven in electric vehicle trials in the UK. There will be a single customer or driver helpline to deal with any query surrounding charging, and a facility where drivers would be able to swap to a conventional vehicle for a holiday that involved travelling long distances.
However, BMW has also been in consultation with Thatcham and the ABI to ensure they understand how the car is built to try to ensure insurance groups are no higher than necessary. The i3 is around four metres long, making it comparable in length to a Ford Fiesta. It has 50:50 weight distribution and rear-wheel drive. Prices start at £30,680 for the standard car and £33,830 for the range-
extender variant. Both qualify for the £5,000 plug-in car grant, making transaction prices of £25,680 and £28,830 respectively. There will be a choice of four equipment grades: Standard is the entry point to the range, Loft and Lodge are the mid-grade models with the leather-trimmed Suite at the top, the latter having a premium of around £2,000 over the Standard grade.
Steve Chater, BMW corporate operations manager, said drivers of BMW i models would not have to compromise by choosing ‘electromobility’. “We are not the first to market with an electric vehicle, but I believe we are the best to market,” he says. “Alongside an innovative new product, we need an innovative solution. “In the future, fleet management will not be about cars: it will be about mobility solutions. “There is no need to compromise. You get the best of both worlds.”
High performance i8
Deliveries of the i8 high-performance coupé will begin in July 2014. It’s a plug-in hybrid and at almost £100,000, won’t qualify for the £5,000 Plug-in Car Grant as it has CO2 emissions of 59g/km – above the 50g/km threshold for the incentive. The BMW i8 is the first BMW production model to be powered by a three-cylinder petrol engine. The engine is equipped with latest-generation MW TwinPower Turbo technology with high-precision injectors positioned between the valves. This three-cylinder combustion engine in the BMW i8 develops 231hp and drives the rear wheels, while a maximum torque of 236lb-ft is available from 3,700rpm. The car’s second power source is a 131hp hybrid synchronous electric motor which sends its power to the front axle. The motor develops 184lb-ft of torque from a standstill. As well as providing a power boost to assist the petrol engine during acceleration, the electric motor can also power the vehicle by itself with a range in everyday driving of up to 22 miles and a top speed of 75mph on electric power alone, drawing its energy from a lithium-ion battery. Developed by BMW Group, the high-voltage battery has a liquid cooling system, offers a maximum usable capacity of five kilowatt hours and can be recharged from a conventional household power socket, at a BMW i Wallbox or at a public charging station. The battery can also be recharged via the electric motor on the overrun. The high-voltage starter-generator, responsible for starting the combustion engine, can also be used as a generator to charge the battery, the necessary power being provided by the BMW TwinPower Turbo engine. These various processes help to ensure the i8 has sufficient energy on board to power the electric drive system. The rear wheels of the BMW i8 are driven by the petrol engine via a six-speed automatic transmission, while the front wheels receive their power from the electric motor via a two-stage automatic transmission. Combined maximum output of 362hp and combined peak torque of 420lb-ft provide all-wheel-drive performance which is as dynamic as it is efficient. Combined fuel economy is 113mpg.
i8: 362hp with CO2 emissions of 59g/km and fuel economy of 113mpg
fleetnews.co.uk Winter 2013 17
V OL K S WAGEN GR OUP
VW WANTS TO BE E-MOBILITY LEADER Volkswagen Group outlines ambitious plans for electric mobility
By Simon Harris olkswagen Group has plans to be the global leader in electric mobility by 2018, and its first all-electric models will appear in 2014. Audi already has a number of petrolelectric hybrid models, while Volkswagen will launch battery-electric versions of the Up and Golf, as well as add more hybrids to its range. “We are starting at exactly the right time. We are electrifying all vehicle classes, and therefore have everything we need to make the Volkswagen Group the top automaker in all respects, including electric mobility, by 2018,” says Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Vollkswagen AG. “We have the most comprehensive approach to tomorrow’s mobility. “From highly-efficient, eco-friendly diesel, gasoline and natural gas-fuelled engines to classical hybrids, purely battery-driven vehicles and plug-in hybrids – no other automaker can match the broad range we have to offer.” The group already has a plug-in hybrid in the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, while an Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid will follow next year. According to Winterkorn: “The electric car cannot be a compromise on wheels. It must convince customers in every respect.” He says environmental compatibility and sustainability are increasingly becoming the main purchasing criterion, and admits that electric-drive vehicles are a key building block for achieving the ambitious climate protection targets. Winterkorn believes that the plug-in hybrid had the greatest market potential.
Audi A3 e-tron plug-in is due to be on sale in the UK in the middle of next year
number of Volkswagen Group models available with electric or hybrid drive technology by 2014
“The electric car cannot be a compromise. It must convince customers in every respect” Martin Winterkorn, Volkswagen AG Porsche’s Panamera is available as a hybrid
18 Winter 2013 fleetnews.co.uk
“From the zero-emission city car, through the plug-in hybrid all-rounder to the 3.0-litre sports saloon: it is our customers who decide for themselves just how much e-mobility they want,” he says. Initially, a total of 14 models from several group brands will be available with electric or hybrid drive technology by 2014. If there is demand, up to 40 new models could be fitted with alternative drivetrains. Winterkorn says Volkswagen has placed electric mobility “at the centre of the group”. “We have developed the know-how for electric motors and battery systems at our own components plants,” he says. “We have recruited 400 top experts for electric traction and qualified almost 70,000 development, production and service employees in this new technology – the biggest electrification training programme in our industry.” Volkswagen Group spends more than g7 billion in research and development each year. It says a significant share is spent on developing technologies and components for electric mobility – more than in any other field. The company says key to rolling out electric mobility swiftly and efficiently across all brands and vehicle classes is the modular toolkit systems which have been designed for assembling electric drives. Production in many of its European plants can now respond flexibly and at low risk to demand as it arises and can reduce both weight and costs through the use of proven components. According to Winterkorn, anyone who genuinely takes ecological responsibility seriously goes one step further. He says: “We must have a holistic mindset and a comprehensive approach to mobility – from generating energy through development, production, retail and vehicle operation right down to recycling. Our clear goal, therefore, is to lead with holistic, modern mobility concepts.” In Europe, Volkswagen Group brands currently offer 420 model variants with CO2 emissions of 130g/km or lower, 302 models emitting a maximum of 120g/km, 50 models emitting up to 100g/km and 23 models emitting 95g/km or less. The Volkswagen XL1 plug-in hybrid has the lowest emissions with 21g/km, consumes 0.9 litres of fuel and has a range of 300 miles.
Electric vehicles can offer whole life cost benefits Alphabet launches AlphaElectric to help fleets assess potential of technology
oor knowledge levels and perceived high costs are the biggest barriers to the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) within company fleets, according to consultation undertaken by leading mobility solutions provider, Alphabet. Indeed, the research conducted with its customers in summer 2013 showed a poor understanding of plugged-in vehicles and the perceived cost of going green were both obstacles in the journey towards EV adoption. Despite the research showing fleet managers generally favour the combined environmentally-beneficial and costconscious approach to running their vehicles, the perceived upfront cost of electric vehicles is getting in the way. Opening the doors to the UK electric vehicle market Looking at the electric vehicle market as a whole, UK adoption has been relatively modest, with only 138 units sold in 2010 and 1,082 sold in 2011. Conversely, sales rose sharply in 2012, with 2,254 cars registered, while year-on-year sales at August 2013 showed an increase of more than 70%. However, Alphabet’s strategic fleet consultant, Nigel Trotman says: “As with all new technologies, there is often a time lag between the new technology being launched and people taking it up. “Many organisations may wait to see what the others are doing before making any changes themselves. “For EV adoption rates to rise, the industry
“For adoption rates to rise, the industry needs to truly demonstrate the benefits of EVs in action”
EVs are increasing in popularity
AlphaElectric – a new way An expanding range of plug-in vehicles on the market, a growth in the number of public charging points (now up to 5,000 in the UK) and further central government investment in electric vehicle infrastructure all combine to make a strong business case for rapid electric vehicle growth. Within this context, Alphabet has launched AlphaElectric, a new solution designed to help organisations assess the electrification potential for their fleets, support the introduction of EVs into a fleet and provide a full in-life support service. The key elements of AlphaElectric include analysis to assess a fleet’s electrification potential; guidance on vehicle selection; the provision of comprehensive charging solutions both for the home and the workplace; and mobility services which include a charging card to access the public charging network, add on mobility for when a larger vehicle or one with a greater range is required and Corporate CarSharing; all in addition to a fleet management service.
needs to truly demonstrate the benefits of EVs in action, while acknowledging that they are only one part of the total mobility mix.” Demonstrating EVs in action In the UK, Alphabet’s trial with one of the country’s leading public service and infrastructure providers, Amey, provided an ideal opportunity for Matt Dillon, principal service delivery manager, to understand the practicalities of living with an EV. Matt commented: “My perception became more positive as I became more familiar with the electric car and my confidence in it grew.” Following live vehicle pilot testing over a number of months, the whole life cost benefits of switching to electric vehicles for specific roles and journeys (based on lower fuel costs, tax, maintenance and parking) soon became apparent. “You have to live with the electric car and become an expert in its strengths and weaknesses,” said Dillon. “Using an EV calls for a very different mindset. The really positive factor for me was the lack of noise.”
Contact our team to find out more about our services: Tel: 0870 50 50 100 Email: email@example.com Website: www.alphabet.co.uk
L E A SING EL EC T RIC V EHICL E S
LEASING COMPANIES TO DRIVE EV UPTAKE Firms launch plug-in products to capitalise on growing fleet demand NEED TO KNOW n Leasing companies see EVs as a long-term investment n Advice offered on plug-in technology n Growing appetite for ULEVs revealed
By Gareth Roberts enith is the latest leasing company to launch an ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) strategy aimed at persuading fleets to consider plug-in powertrains. Called E-Motion, it will give both salary sacrifice and company car drivers access to all electric vehicles (EVs), be that full-electric, plug-in hybrid or range-extenders. Fleets will be offered advice on vehicle suitability from specially-trained consultants and a wholelife cost calculator will indicate potential savings to employee and employer. Charging infrastructure options will also be offered to drivers for installation at home and to companies looking for on-site stations at work premises. “We want to help our drivers understand the different technologies now available,” says Ian Hughes, Zenith’s commercial director. “We know they don’t suit everyone. However, for those who make short journeys – particularly drivers who can commute and charge their car at home or at work every day – they can offer a great solution with very low running costs.”
WOULD YOU CONSIDER LEASING AN ELECTRIC VEHICLE? Yes: 22%
20 Winter 2013 fleetnews.co.uk
AlphaElectric’s plug-in vehicle target for 2014
5,700 number of plug-in cars on UK roads
In a recent survey of 100 company car drivers by Zenith, 21.7% said they would be likely to lease an electric vehicle now or in the near future, 60.8% said they might do if they can get comfortable with range, charging times and the price, while 17.5% said they would definitely not consider leasing an electric vehicle in the future. This compares to a similar survey carried out in December, 2012, when 17% said they would definitely consider exchanging one car in their household for an electric car and 39% may consider it.
Zenith’s plug-in strategy follows growing confidence in the sector, which has been partly fuelled by the launch of BMW’s plug-in offering, the i3. The German marque has invested hundreds of millions of pounds in bringing the car to market and millions more on marketing it. It’s the latest in a growing pool of potential plug-in vehicles, following the launch of the all-electric Ford Focus and the V60 plug-in hybrid from Volvo. Hughes adds: “With longer ranges for the new pureelectric cars and range-extenders or plug-in hybrids catering for longer journeys, there are electric cars out there that suit many driver groups. “As the charging infrastructure and technology improves further, they will become more practical for a larger proportion of people.” Zenith is not alone in recognising untapped potential in the fleet market. Its launch of E-Motion comes only weeks after Alphabet unveiled AlphaElectric (Fleet News, October 17). BMW-owned Alphabet is hoping that its new service will help increase the use of plug-in cars from 5,700 units to more than 10,000 in the next three years. This commitment was illustrated by its high-profile launch at the Saatchi Gallery in London’s West End, where dozens of fleets were invited to get a first glimpse of the AlphaElectric initiative. Richard Schooling, Alphabet’s UK chief executive, wouldn’t reveal how much cash the company had invested in bringing it to market, but he told Electric Fleet: “It’s not inconsiderable and we want to make sure we get a return on our investment.” That will start with trying to surpass its target of leasing 400 plug-in vehicles next year, which is a significant increase given the latest FN50 data revealed Alphabet has just 35 EVs on its residual value risk fleet. It would also prove significant in terms of the overall market, which the Department for Transport and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles say is steadily growing. Nevertheless, the adoption of EVs in the UK has Ford has developed a fully-electric Focus
Dozens of fleets were invited to the launch of Alphabet’s AlphaElectric product
been modest, with only 138 units sold in 2010 and 1,082 in 2011. Sales, however, rose sharply in 2012 with 2,254 cars registered by the DVLA, while yearon-year sales – as of August 2013 – show an increase of more than 70%. Research by Zenith also suggests that a growing number of company car drivers would consider switching to a plug-in vehicle (see panel, left). Schooling says: “While there is so much talk about limited battery life, car performance and available charging points, we think the single biggest barrier to EV adoption, both privately and corporately, is a lack of joined-up thinking.” Alphabet is convinced it can help the EV market grow with an approach that covers all aspects of integrating EVs into an existing fleet. The company has devised a four-step process that starts by helping fleets and drivers understand whether EVs will work for them. It then offers advice on vehicle selection, before helping implement the most suitable charging solution and providing flexible leasing packages. Paul Hollick, chief commercial officer at Alphabet, says: “Feedback from our customers confirms the view that businesses are keen to assess the viability of EVs in their fleet, but are starved of impartial, clear information.” It’s something that Arval’s fleet consultancy team has recognised and resulted in it producing a guide to ULEVs called the Alternative Fuel and Technology Car Review. The booklet assesses 14 fullyelectric and hybrid cars, which have been driven around a 28.9mile course that incorporates motorway, urban and town driving around the company’s headquarters near Swindon. They are then benchmarked against
“UK businesses are keen to assess the viability of electric vehicles in their fleet” Paul Hollick, Alphabet
AlphaElectric’s plug-in vehicle target for 2014
year-on-year increase in EV registrations
a BMW 320ed saloon and compared to the efficiency figures and range claimed by the manufacturer. Arval consultant Paul Marchment says: “We need to be in a strong position to advise our customers about the type of technology that will work for them. This provides us with the ability to do just that.” Arval’s sales team were receiving an increasing number of enquiries from customers keen to understand more about the different powertrains available. “We wanted to demystify some of the technologies coming on to the market,” he says. “For example, you have mild hybrids, micro hybrids, plug-in hybrids, passive hybrids: somebody might think what’s the difference, how do they work and would that work for me?” Arval hopes it is now equipped to provide those answers through its guide. It says this will be updated on a quarterly basis and the next edition will also include information on electric vans. Marchment says it will feature the Nissan eNV200, the Mercedes-Benz Vito and the Renault Kangoo. Vans will be driven around the test route empty and then again carrying a load. The Arval initiative is yet another example of how the industry is adapting products and services to reflect what a number of leasing companies now see as a long-term investment. And, it looks likely to cement the fleet industry’s role as a key player in the early adoption of plug-in vehicles, if the market is to succeed. fleetnews.co.uk Winter 2013 21
CENE X OP INION
“THERE ARE STILL CHALLENGES TO OVERCOME” Rob Anderson, programme manager, Cenex
hen electric vehicles (EV) entered the UK market, there was enthusiasm and willingness from fleet decisionmakers to give these unconventional vehicles a try. However, in reality, the uptake of EVs has been slow. Original excitement turned into fear and many real and perceived barriers, including high capital cost and range anxiety, have moved EVs to the sidelines. Nevertheless, Government and industry players are committed to supporting the gradual uptake of plug-in vehicles in the market, and we foresee a growing uptake in the near future. The Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle (ULCV) demonstrator programme – the first UK-wide major EV trial, which was launched in 2008 by the Technology Strategy Board – showed immediate acceptance from drivers. EVs were seen as simple to drive and unfamiliar components such as regenerative braking were adapted to within the first trip. More than 1.5 million miles were driven and more than 51,000 charging events were recorded from the 349 vehicles used during the programme.
of drivers who took part in ULCV demonstrator programme would recommend an electric vehicle
miles driven during the ULCV demonstrator programme 22 Winter 2013 fleetnews.co.uk
Sweet spots for fleets looking to deploy EVs The majority (91%) of drivers that took part in the study said they would recommend an EV to other drivers. Our work with a range of clients reveals there are a number of sweet spots already available to fleet decision-makers looking to deploy low carbon vehicles to reduce carbon and energy consumption, while at the same time save money. With fuel prices continuing to rise, many fleet decision-makers are already prioritising carbon and fuel reduction strategies. While carbon reduction may not be the only driver for change within fleets, it is worth keeping in mind that the continuing evolution of low carbon technologies will require fleet decision-makers to assess their operational and economic suitability to ascertain whether
any new technology is worth adopting. To help fleet operators with their decision, we can perform a technology review – a top-level ‘traffic light’ style assessment – of the potential to replace and deploy low carbon vehicles within fleet operations. Such analysis involves a review of the client’s current fleet operations, looking at fuel consumption, carbon emissions, operating patterns and the potential for introducing alternative fuels and technologies. Traffic light system to rate technologies A range of low carbon technologies (for example, gas, hybrid and electric) are investigated and rated in terms of carbon emissions, air quality emissions, noise, reliability, economics, availability and practicability based on their performance against the standard diesel option. In this way ‘Green’ would be assessed as better than diesel; ‘Amber’ as equivalent to diesel; ‘Red’ as worse than diesel. In terms of EVs, at the moment there is a growing potential for operators to gain cost savings especially if they run fixed routes, as easily defined operations will make deployment easier. However, operators should bear in mind that there are still some challenges to be overcome, such as potential restrictions on load space and the impact of load on range. Be wary of manufacturer range figures Operators should be particularly wary of range figures from manufacturers as these have been generated with no load, so don’t represent realworld operational conditions. In our experience, investment in EVs is proving successful and can generate appreciable returns for fleet operators. We predict this will continue as the capital costs of EVs reduce and residual values improve. This, coupled with toughening CO2 emission markets, will continue to drive the uptake of these technologies. We believe it won’t be long until EVs are pulled from the sidelines to the mainstream.
ENER GY S AV ING T RUS T TOP T IP S
CONQUERING RANGE ANXIETY Eco driving techniques can transform the distance an EV travels
nticipation and maintaining momentum are skills that can be transferred to driving electric vehicles to help conserve energy and, therefore, increase range. Driving the latest electric cars and vans is similar to driving conventional automatic vehicles, but there are key differences. Applying eco driving techniques to an electric vehicle can help to increase range by 20%. Electric vehicle road tests and reviews frequently highlight the challenge drivers face translating published range – achieved on the NEDC test cycle, the same gentle drive cycle used for conventional cars and light vans – into the reality of daily driving. This is where a fuller understanding of the technology pays dividends. Research carried out by Cenex and Millbrook emphasised the importance of the correct use of regenerative braking and the impact this has. Regenerative braking as used by electric vehicles (and increasingly by efficient petrol and diesel cars to improve battery charging efficiency) converts the kinetic energy or momentum of the vehicle into electricity by using its electric motor as a generator, slowing the vehicle in the process. As well as improving range, this also reduces wear on the vehicles’ conventional friction brakes. Energy Saving Trust-developed research into a Smarter Driving programme for electric vehicles, funded by the Department for Transport, offers free training to recipients of the Plug-in Car Grant. Between February and May 2011, 67 drivers were trained and, on average, energy consumption, as measured by a data logger calibrated for the vehicle in question, was reduced by 16%. This translates into an increase in range of 20%. As is the case with conventional vehicles, this demonstrates that some people are driving their electric vehicles inefficiently which means they are unlikely to achieve the promised range.
“Some people are driving their electric vehicles inefficiently, which means they are unlikely to achieve the promised range”
potential increase in EV range through Smarter Driving
Training in an electric vehicle takes up to two hours per driver, most of it behind the wheel. The most important technique – greater anticipation of the road ahead to avoid unnecessary acceleration and braking – was imported from EST’s main petrol and diesel Smarter Driving programme, but was tailored to help drivers make the most of the regenerative braking. There are also other differences; for example, we’re used to ancillary loads such as air conditioning increasing fuel use, but with an electric vehicle these have a disproportionately greater effect. And, of course, we’re used to having a ready supply of heat with a petrol or diesel engine under the bonnet, whereas with an electric vehicle, using the heater will significantly increase energy consumption and therefore decrease range. Driver selectable drive modes may be provided, helping to conserve the electricity stored in the battery or adjust the regenerative braking to increase its effectiveness. Some vehicles allow the cabin to be heated or cooled using mains electricity while charging, reducing the battery capacity needed to reach the desired temperature on cold or hot days. Ensuring drivers are aware of and understand how these features work to improve range and comfort is all part of the training. Following the pilot, EST has delivered additional, client-funded training days in both cars and vans and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Drivers have been impressed with the training, and advised that their confidence in driving further has increased as a result. All of those surveyed would recommend the training to others. Easy and relaxing to drive, electric vehicles potentially offer a cost-effective choice of transport for goods and personnel, particularly in an urban environment. Smarter Driving can help smooth the transition to electric drive. n Source: Energy Saving Trust, ‘A Fleet Manager’s Guide to Ecodriving’
fleetnews.co.uk Winter 2013 23
Fleet News events are the biggest and best in the sector. Our annual awards night attracts more than 1,500 people; the FN50 Dinner sees 850 leasing, manufacturer, rental and supplier companies networking; Congress and Van Summit provide insight into key areas of ﬂeet operation; monthly roundtables enable 10-15 ﬂeets to discuss issues and share solutions.
W H AT W E DO IN YOUR INDUS T RY
Fleet News magazine The leading business publication for the fleet sector, offering insight, analysis, best practice and in-depth profiles of fleets and suppliers. But don’t take our word for it: 96% of readers say Fleet News/Fleet Van are the most useful fleet publications (Fleet News reader survey 2012). Every issue is packed with information that helps companies to run efficient and effective fleets and our readership of 16,000 is restricted to named decision-makers running fleets of 10-plus vehicles.
Fleet Van magazine Relaunched last year, Fleet Van digs deep into the world of light commercial vehicles to provide operators with detailed insight and analysis on key topics such as operations, safety, remarketing and the environment. Van fleet case studies provide best practice advice to help you to boost your efficiency. Fleet News provides an overview of van; Fleet Van gives you the detail.
Driving Business magazine
Websites and digital magazines
Best practice guides
Launched last year, this quarterly magazine is sent to managing directors and ﬁnance directors at 28,000 small to medium enterprises (SMEs) that are running fewer than 25 vehicles. Focusing on the key elements of running cars and vans, Driving Business provides practical advice to reduce cost and improve safety with a minimum of time and effort.
The Fleet News website is an extensive library of best practice advice, ﬂeet case studies, news and tools. Compare car and van running costs, check how much tax employees will pay and ﬁnd out which models use the least fuel with our easy-to-use tools. We also publish Ignition digital magazine which contains car reviews and interviews not included with our print magazine.
Special supplements that complement the magazine, our best practice guides look at areas that are core to ﬂeet management or which are topical, such as electric vehicles. They provide you with the knowledge you need to make the right decisions. Look out this year for two EV reports, a Professional Fleet Manager guide, Minimising Costs report, the Fleet200 and the FN50.
Magazines, supplements, brochures and digital products that are produced for a commercial partner, these bespoke publications inform ﬂeets about companies and topics relevant to their business. They include Manufacturer Reports in which Fleet News journalists interview key personnel to unearth the developments of interest to ﬂeet operators.
F L EE T C A SE S T UDIE S
COST-EFFECTIVE GREY FLEET ALTERNATIVE Oxford City Council saves thousands of pounds by using EVs
By Sarah Tooze lectric pool cars are more cost-effective than allowing employees to use private cars for business journeys for Oxford City Council. The Energy Saving Trust (EST) analysed the business case for the council in February this year as part of its Plugged in Fleets Initiative. It compared grey fleet costs at 10,000 miles per annum over three to six years against the wholelife costs of the Citroën C-Zero, Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe. The cost savings from using the Leaf were £720 over four years and £2,645 over six years. A staff workplace travel survey supported the case for electric vehicles. It found that 82% of journeys were within the Oxford ring road – a range suitable for an electric vehicle. Operating electric vehicles has environmental benefits for the council. Jennifer Carr, sustainable energy officer at Oxford City Council, says: “We have a target to reduce carbon emissions by 5% every year and the fleet is large part of our carbon footprint. “We are concerned about air pollution and want to have vehicles without local emissions.” The council is not new to electric vehicles. It first experimented with them in the late 1990s when the technology was still in its infancy. It moved on to LPG and biofuel before giving electric vehicles another chance, taking part in the Mini E trial in 2010. It now has eight electric cars (the Leaf and C-Zero), six electric utility vehicles, nine electric bikes and 17 hybrid vans with another six hybrids on order. The vans are diesel-engined Ford Transits with electric hybrid conversions and are installed with Lightfoot technology which gives drivers real-time visual and audible feedback to improve their driving behaviour.
Trevor Jackson, cemeteries manager, with a Citroën C-Zero
cost saving over four years of using Nissan Leaf instead of grey fleet vehicles
Oxford City Council’s annual carbon reduction target
TIPS FOR INTRODUCING ELECTRIC VEHICLES Get an independent review from an organisation like the Energy Saving Trust (EST). Jennifer Carr says: “It was really useful to have the EST report to make sure the financial case stacked up.”
Have an employee communications plan. “Promote electric vehicles and engage employees so they are excited about driving them,” Carr says. The council held launch events at three sites, giving employees the chance to drive Take time to trial electric an electric vehicle, as well as 2 vehicles. The motor presentations explaining their transport division at Oxford benefits and how to drive and City Council trialled different charge them. Case studies were makes and models to see what published and of information was The majority Police Scotland’s electric vehicles i-Mievs would work best. provided onare theMitsubishi staff intranet.
“We have not found suitable fully-electric vans for the job, but we are constantly looking and trialling,” Carr says. Operating electric cars as part of a centralised pool fleet works for the council. “People worry about committing on a department basis to electric vehicles in case they need to go out of range, but that isn’t a problem when a variety of vehicles are available,” Carr says. The electric pool vehicles are generally used for short trips within the city ring road and are charged up at the end of the day. After taking part in the Mini E trial, the council already had charging points installed at locations round the city, including six 13-amp charging points at three of its depots. In May, two further 32-amp charging points were installed at the council’s main city centre site for the new electric pool cars. The council also has charging points at nine of its car parks and park and rides for public use, thanks to funding from The Office for Low Emission Vehicles. Staff have reacted positively to the centralised pool fleet and electric vehicles. “There was no big uproar about removing the grey fleet and getting people to use pool cars because there were clear alternatives,” Carr says. “Anyone who was cynical about driving an electric vehicle soon changed their mind when they got behind the wheel.”
“We are concerned about air pollution and want to have vehicles without local emissions” Jennifer Carr, Oxford City Council fleetnews.co.uk Winter 2013 25
F L EE T C A SE S T UDIE S
CASE STARTING TO STACK UP FOR EVS Driver education key to getting the most out of electric vehicles
By Sarah Tooze ony Chalk, transport manager at Police Scotland, believes that hybrid and electric vehicles are “the way forward”. A full-electric vehicle would not be suitable as a marked operational police vehicle at the moment, according to Chalk, but he believes this will happen in the future as the technology develops. Police Scotland has 31 full-electric vehicles and range-extenders on its 3,500-strong fleet. The majority are Mitsubishi i-Mievs, but it also operates the Nissan Leaf, Citroën C-Zero, Peugeot Partner and the Vauxhall Ampera range-extender.
3,500 size of Police Scotland’s fleet
number of fullelectric and range extenders on Police Scotland’s fleet
Electric vehicles introduced to lower CO2 The diverse mix is the result of eight individual police forces (Central Scotland Police, Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary, Fife Constabulary, Grampian Police, Lothian and Borders Police, Northern Constabulary, Strathclyde Police and Tayside Police) merging to form Police Scotland in April this year. The forces began operating electric vehicles to lower CO2 emissions.
“We’re getting to the stage where electric vehicles are competitive with diesel and petrol” Tony Chalk, Police Scotland
The majority of Police Scotland’s electric vehicles are Mitsubishi i-Mievs
26 Winter 2013 fleetnews.co.uk
The electric vehicles are used for a number of roles. The cars are generally used around city centres and as pool vehicles for staff to get between different cities (typically between Edinburgh and Glasgow), while the vans are used for parcel deliveries as the routes can be planned in advance. The four Amperas are used for door-to-door deliveries. Chalk admits that, when he began running electric vehicles a few years ago, there were issues but the vehicles are now “vastly improved”. He also believes the financial case is starting to stack up. “Electric vehicles are still expensive but we’re getting to the stage where they are competitive with diesel and petrol,” says Chalk. The vehicles have been funded using grants and he points out that, even for an electric vehicle, outright purchase rather than contract hire is generally best for police forces because of the manufacturer discounts which can be secured through the National Association of Police Fleet Managers (NAPFM) framework agreements. However, operating electric vehicles has required a cultural change among drivers. “Police vehicles are traditionally petrol and diesel – predominantly diesel now – and high performance,” Chalk says. “People have had to get into the habit of plugging vehicles in to charge and it’s taken a long time for them to become comfortable about the vehicle’s range. “I’ve had drivers say, ‘I’ll never get to Edinburgh in that’, but it’s just their perception and they are proved wrong.” No driver has run out of charge Driver education is the most important element, according to Chalk. “You have to make them aware of the risks when using the vehicles,” he says. “They don’t have the same performance on the motorway, you have to be careful about battery life and you have to plan your journey correctly. You don’t want to come to a stop on a country road in the middle of the night.” Police Scotland adopts a ‘train the trainer’ approach with electric vehicles. When an electric vehicle is delivered, a supervisor or service manager will receive training and he will then train any other drivers the vehicle is passed to. A driver handbook is also provided in every vehicle which explains how the vehicle is operated as well as the location of charging points. Police Scotland has a number of charging points but also utilises charging points at council buildings. Chalk’s advice to other fleet managers thinking of introducing electric vehicles is to “sell it to the organisation in the right way”. “People are fairly negative about electric vehicles in operational fleets,” he says. “If you can promote it in the right way then you’re off to a flyer.”
Siemens leases its Nissan Leafs from Lex Autolease
SIEMENS EXTENDS LEAF CONTRACTS Company to keep electric vehicles for another year
By Sarah Tooze iemens has extended the contracts on its three Nissan Leafs after operating them successfully as pool vehicles for the past two years. The vehicles, which are all based in Lincoln and are used for short, local runs, will be leased from Lex Autolease for a further year. Paul Tate, commodity manager at Siemens, says: “It’s all about getting the right application for electric vehicles (EVs). You need to do a full analysis of average mileage and ensure that when you put an EV on your fleet it is fully utilised.” All of Siemens’s EVs have telematics fitted and are monitored closely. “Don’t invest in EVs if you’re not going to monitor them,” Tate says. “The last thing you want is for it to be in the car park for two years not turning a wheel.” Siemens introduced EVs to its fleet to reduce CO2 emissions and demonstrate the company’s green credentials. As a technology company, it produces a number of ‘green products’ and has its own electric vehicle charging points. “We like to use the latest technology on the fleet and we want the fleet to be as green as possible,” says Tate. He approached his contract hire provider Lex Autolease to see if it would do a joint investment and reached a ‘competitive’ agreement. However, the Leafs were not trouble-free in the early days of operation. Siemens had issues getting them serviced and there were some technical problems, although they were covered under warranty. The garage the Leaf needed to go to was outside
“Don’t invest in electric vehicles if you’re not going to monitor them” Paul Tate, Siemens
its range so a low loader had to collect it, resulting in more off-road time. Over the past 12 months, the situation has “vastly improved”, according to Tate. “The manufacturer has improved its network to overcome those issues,” he says. “We adopted this technology in the early days when the network wasn’t as big as it is now.” Although the Leafs have never run out of charge, the range does fluctuate depending on the weather (using the heater, for example, will require more battery power) and the driver. Tate would like to see fully-electric vehicles used elsewhere within Siemens, but there are concerns whether the range will be suitable. There is greater appetite for range-extenders or plug-in hybrids and Siemens is operating a Vauxhall Ampera as a pool vehicle for longer journeys from its Manchester office. “We need a vehicle that can be used in all different applications,” he says. “A range-extender can be used far more than traditional pure-electric vehicles.” There are currently no plans to make EVs available to company car drivers, although hybrids can be chosen. “We are wary about having EVs as company cars because of recompensing employees for recharging the vehicle,” says Tate. “HMRC has said to use the Approved Mileage Allowance Payment (AMAP) rates but that’s a substantial payment. It won’t cost 45 pence per mile for an employee to recharge an EV at home. “Unless we can find a suitable way of recompensing employees we won’t have EVs on the company car fleet.” fleetnews.co.uk Winter 2013 27
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With Ford, BMW and Volkswagen Group set to enter the electric vehicle fray, will 2014 be the year of the EV?