Guide to EVs & Infrastructure
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DEAR READER When the coalition government came into office we pledged to make the transport sector greener and more sustainable, with tougher emissions standards and support for new transport technologies. We understand that the real enemy is carbon, not the car. It is an inescapable reality that the car is central to people’s modern day lives. Motor vehicles are a vital socio-economic tool for thousands of businesses and millions of people. And, for many journeys, the car is, and will remain, the only practical and convenient travel choice. Paradoxically, it is the very fact that the car plays such a fundamental role which means it has enormous de-carbonising potential. And, to realise that potential, a productive blend of supportive government policies and dynamic private enterprise is sparking a green motoring revolution in this country. For example, thanks to the government’s ground-breaking Plug-In Car Grant, which gives motorists a 25 per cent subsidy up to £5,000, new ultra-low emission cars are more affordable than ever before. And, through our £30 million Plugged-In Places Programme, a network of vehicle recharging points is being established in eight areas across the UK - from homes and workplaces to streets, car parks and retail facilities. We have also set out a comprehensive strategy that identifies how a national recharging network will develop in a way that is targeted, convenient and safe. But, in order to really boost the impact of our policies, programmes and investments we are making it much easier for private enterprise to provide the necessary infrastructure. This approach is already starting to pay real dividends for motorists with two major private companies, Chargemaster and Ecotricity, both recently announcing plans to build privately-funded networks of thousands of recharging points along the UK’s motorways and across the country by next year – something that should go a long way to easing so called ‘range anxiety’. And there’s another area which shouldn’t be overlooked. The transition of the automotive sector to greener vehicles has the potential to contribute to our overriding priority of economic growth. This government is encouraging innovation and investment across a much wider range of economic sectors, including advanced manufacturing and low carbon technologies. The publication of this guide is very much a recognition that a radical motoring transformation is underway. But it is also a reflection of the crucial part that the fleet sector can play in spreading and embedding that transformation. Backed up by a supportive government, the people reading this guide can help to set the pace and lead the way on the road to a low carbon future.
Mark Prisk Minister for Business and Enterprise, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Guide to EVs & Infrastructure
FINANCE & LEASING
ELECTRIC VEHICLE MARKET
EV-USER EXPERIENCE NATIONAL RECHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE
INFRASTRUCTURE An update on the UK’s electric vehicle recharging network
14 ELECTRIC VEHICLES
What does the electric vehicle market look like today and what can we expect in the future?
19 FINANCE & LEASING
Find out how the leasing industry is helping early-adopters purchase electric vehicles
EXPERIENCE We talk to Dundee City Council to find out how staff are getting on with the Council’s car pool of all-electric Mitsubishi i-MiEVs
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CHARGING UP AND DOWN THE COUNTRY
The ability to recharge when out and about is crucial if buyers are to seriously consider electric vehicles. With government support via its Plugged-in Places scheme, a national recharging infrastructure is fast becoming a reality The creation of a national charging infrastructure is being driven forward by the the government’s ‘Plugged-In Places’ (PiP) programme. Launched in 2010, the scheme offers match-funding to businesses and public sector organisations that want to install an electric vehicle recharging infrastructure in their region. The first areas to be announced as Plugged-in Places were London, Milton Keynes and the North East. The second phase of the scheme involved the Midlands, Greater Manchester, East of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) has been established to manage the scheme and other government low-carbon vehicle initiatives. The cross-Whitehall team is made up of people and funding from the Department for Transport, the department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the Department for Energy and Climate Change. LONDON London already has the highest proportion of electric vehicles in the UK and the Mayor Boris Johnson has created a package of measures to ensure the capital remains ahead of the game. These plans seek to incentivise the uptake of electric vehicles, whilst providing aspiring and novice electric drivers with the confidence to take this step. To this effect, the Mayor launched the Source London charging network, creating the capital’s only city wide publicly accessible scheme. For just a £10 annual membership fee, electric drivers can charge up as many times as required whilst on the go. There are more than 250 points already in place with 1,300 planned by 2013. Installations are being delivered by Transport for London (TfL) and a wide coalition of public and private sector partners. Some of these points will use the very latest technology offering either a fast or rapid charge option to significantly cut the time required to recharge an electric vehicle. A CENTRALISED APPROACH The birth of Source London moves the capital away from the localised and disjointed approach which had characterised the fledging charging network for electric car drivers, offering a consistent one-stop-shop. Electric vehicles are already perfectly suited to the shorter trips motorists take in London, but the next challenge is ensuring
people feel confident in driving beyond the parameter of the M25. To this end, the capital is collaborating with other cities and regions, expanding the Source London template for their use with their own schemes. The Mayor hopes this focus on inter-operability at this early stage will support the government’s aim of creating a national charging network in the near future. One of the criticisms and concerns regarding electric vehicles has been the high cost of the cars to date. This perception will slowly change as mass production steps up and manufacturers develop new pricing mechanisms. In London, the Mayor has sought to ease this initial cost outlay by offering a 100 per cent discount off the city’s central congestion charge. This comes in addition of course to the cost savings coming from becoming a petrol free motorist. The capital’s next steps include working with partners in 2012 to connect the Olympic park with electric charge points operating under Source London and using the Games’ fleet of electric cars to fuel an appetite for their wider use after the sporting celebrations have ended. In addition, Transport for London is working with innovators on a pioneering new wireless charging trial also set to kick off this year. MILTON KEYNES One of three initial places chosen in the UK for funding under the government’s Plugged in Places programme, Milton Keynes is working with electric vehicle and infrastructure specialists Arup to install 50 electric charge points (25 dual use charging posts) per year for the next three years; with the first 50 already installed in the city centre. Much of the technical focus in year one was directed at ensuring the installed posts would be to some degree ‘future proof’ to keep step with advances in EV charging technology, without any expensive or disruptive works. Each individual post in Milton Keynes has been provided with its own 100 amp feed in order to allow future post power upgrades without the need for any street works. The modular design of the posts themselves also means that they can also be upgraded without too much fuss. LINKING UP Milton Keynes has worked closely with the OLEV and with the other PiP areas to share knowledge and experience. It is recognised
that An image of a Pod Centre in the Manchester national PiP programme will only be successful in encouraging the uptake of electric vehicles if those car drivers can easily move from one PiP area to another and charge their cars. To help enable this, the Milton Keynes Plugged-in Places scheme has linked to an Extension Project, covering strategic locations, mainly within Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, to enable local EV owners to make longer journeys outside Milton Keynes with confidence. MK has also linked with existing schemes in Oxford and Cambridge, as well as with the Joined-Cities Plan, which will create a network of vehicle recharging points across the country. The Milton Keynes programme is exploring the complexities
A GreenFleet Guide to EVs & Infrastructure
and issues created by integrating multiple charge post manufacturers’ products into a single back office system. Data from the back office is being sent to a purpose built data centre, which will eventually co-ordinate all aspects of the Milton Keynes Low Carbon Living scheme. Moving across the country, Source East, the Plugged-in Places scheme for the whole of the East of England will deliver 1,200 accessible charging points by 2013. These will be available from the M25 to the north Norfolk coast and from the M1 to Felixstowe, including global and local businesses, retail outlets, tourist attractions, public car parks, railways stations and street side parking. Drivers who register for the scheme will have unlimited access to these charging points as well as one card to access the points, one recognisable logo to help drivers spot the points, one point of contact via a dedicated call centre, and one map detailing all charge point locations. MIDLANDS The Midlands Plugged in Places project is jointly managed by Cenex, the UK’s Centre of Excellence for low carbon and
fuel cell technologies. Heading a consortium of over 50 Midlands businesses, universities and local authorities, up to £2.9 million of government funding is supporting the installation of more than 500 charge posts across the East and West Midlands and over 1,000 charge points in domestic homes. The consortium has set a challenging but achievable target of 1,000 plug-in vehicles being registered in the Midlands, the UK’s largest car buying region, by 31 March 2013. DISTRIBUTION OF POINTS Recognising that charging posts are needed where people commute to, not from, the bulk of the proposed installations focus on city centre car parks, shopping centres and leisure facilities plus transport hubs, such as railway and bus stations and Park & Ride schemes, in order to extend commuting range. Consortium partners will also work with Motorway Service Area Operators to help cater for longer distance commuters and to facilitate inter-regional EV travel. The Midlands project has been designed to maximise learning opportunities and allow comparison of best practice with other Plugged-In Places to inform the national picture. While the deployment of charge posts in Birmingham, Coventry, Nottingham and Leicester focuses on city centres and transport hubs, targeting commuters and urban dwellers, the Worcester deployment is dispersed to help understand plug-in vehicle use in a rural setting, and the Corby deployment provides an exemplar for new town developments. The Midlands project will include extensive data collection and analysis by universities and research institutes in the region, to help understand user behaviour. The findings are expected to inform the business models of a range of companies investing in new products and services associated with the plug-in vehicle revolution. Information about driver behaviour and charge point use will also be central to understanding local grid impacts, as well as the benefits of linking electric vehicle use with smart grids fed with renewable electricity from wind turbines and solar cells. EV OPPORTUNITIES In addition to recruiting new hosts for charge posts, the project team is actively recruiting public and private
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A GreenFleet Guide to EVs & Infrastructure
RECHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE fleet operators. Electric vehicle opportunities have been identified for pool cars and vans for business support services within blue chip businesses and on University/Science Park campuses, including Loughborough, Worcester and Warwick Universities. At the Priors Hall Park housing development in Corby, Bela Developments plans to offer plug-in vehicles as an option for new home purchasers. Corby Borough Council, a key supporter of this project, is installing charge posts in the town centre’s main amenities to support those who opt into the scheme. MANCHESTER As part of Manchester’s Plugged-in Places scheme, Manchester Electric Car Company (MECC) together with its partners will launch the first of 300 charge points and six larger Pod Centres to bring the electric vehicle revolution to Greater Manchester. Manchester Electric will be a new network of state-of-the-art Pod Centres where people can buy a range of electric vehicles
company, which will manage and deliver Manchester Electric along with its partners. MECC is working closely with AGMA to look at how the scheme will fit with public transport. A smart card is currently being developed which will give drivers access to the charging points. It will be similar to an Oyster-style card that will be interoperable on public transport and EVs. THE NORTH EAST OF ENGLAND With over 240 public standard chargers, seven quick chargers and 50 home charging points already installed in the region, the North East is making great headway in making sure that EV drivers have a wide choice when it comes to charging. ‘Charge your’ Car was one of the first Plugged in Places projects to receive funding from OLEV with the aim of making the region home to one of Europe’s most advanced electric-vehicle charging networks. Josey Wardle, North East Plugged in Places manager, said: “We have reached
The first areas to be announced as Plugged-in Places were London, Milton Keynes and the North East. The second phase of the scheme involved the Midlands, Greater Manchester, East of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. including cars, vans, scooters and bikes. There will also be centres where drivers can lease, hire and charge EVs, as well as being able to join an electric car club, shop or buy a coffee. Domestic appliances – also known as smart charging systems – that will enable drivers to charge their vehicles at home will also be available. The Pod Centres will be in key sites including Manchester Airport, Manchester City Centre, Oldham, MediaCityUK, Stockport and the Trafford Centre, with more to follow. MECC’s medium term plan is for around 25 Pod Centres across greater Manchester. Staff in the Pod Centres will be on hand to educate drivers about EVs as well as offering vehicle sales and hire, after sales care and retail facilities. In addition there will be around 300 charge points across Greater Manchester where commuters can charge EVs through fast and rapid points. As a guide, a fast charge point (32amp) charges a vehicle in two-three hours and a rapid charge point takes around 30 minutes. The programme to establish the network of charging points will be delivered over a two-year period. A consortium from Greater Manchester, led by the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA), secured £3.6million of support through the government funded Plugged In Places scheme. This has been match funded by a private consortium led by MECC, a new private sector
an important milestone in the project with almost 300 charging points in total in the region – on streets, in car parks, in commercial and residential locations. Our aim has always been to create a charging network that would allow an electric vehicle owner to move around the region and beyond comfortably with charging points always within a short drive and we are on target to achieve that.” CHARGING DATA The Charge your Car network is also completely connected, with live data streams being fed from the points to the website, www.chargeyourcar.org.uk, allowing drivers to not only analyse their charging point usage but also allowing drivers to plan their journey by providing them with real time status updates of posts. Josey Wardle, continued: “One of the most exciting parts to the project is not just installing the charging points but seeing the demand for the posts increase. Our public charging points have been used a total of 2,500 times with some of our flagship locations receiving significant use. Our first quick charger, for example, was installed at the Metrocentre in February this year and has already generated over 80 hours of charge for North East drivers in its first six months. “The project is all about trialling different charging standards and technologies and the data we receive from the posts helps the region and the UK to understand
WHAT IS RANGE ANXIETY? Range anxiety refers to the fear people have about the distance an electric vehicle can drive and the concern that the range may not be enough to reach their destination and return back again.
how electric vehicle drivers will choose to charge and the impact that this will have on the infrastructure and the grid.” The decision to fund charging point infrastructure into the region has much wider economic benefits for the North East. Electric and low carbon vehicles are a major sector for the region, offering a range of opportunities for business and individuals. Colin Herron, managing director of Zero Carbon Futures, said: “The sector is primed to bring real economic benefits to the region in areas such as manufacturing, infrastructure, training and research and North East England is leading the way on a global scale. We were recently delighted with the government announcement of a £6.2 million investment into the low carbon vehicle economy of the region through the Regional Growth Fund and will do everything we can to capitalise on this industry. In order to strengthen this world-leading reputation, it is integral that the region has in place a comprehensive charging infrastructure for the future.” SCOTLAND Transport Scotland, acting as the Scottish Government’s agency for transport in across Scotland, led the Scottish consortium in developing a successful bid to become part of the £30m Plugged-In Places initiative. The Scottish Government is keen to encourage the development and use of low carbon vehicle technology to help achieve its vision of almost complete decarbonisation of road transport by 2050. As part of this commitment Scotland is pressing ahead to have an electric vehicle charging infrastructure in place in Scottish cities by 2020. The public sector has an important leadership role in supporting the transition to wholesale uptake of low carbon vehicles and the Scottish Government has responded directly to this challenge by taking a number of positive steps forward. The Scottish Government recognises that value for money is crucial, in particular against a backdrop of cuts to its capital budget by Westminister, and so has combined funding for charging infrastructure with a programme of support for the procurement of electric and low carbon vehicles by the public sector. This approach has been taken to ensure that installed infrastructure is utilised and valuable data gathered to inform further private and consumer sector use of
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A GreenFleet Guide to EVs & Infrastructure
RECHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Scotland’s £3m Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Scheme run in 2010-11 allowed public sector fleets to test new low carbon technologies through funding the difference in cost between low/ultra low carbon vehicles and conventionally-powered
The trial will additionally explore how EVs perform in hilly locations, how EVs perform in low temperatures (-20 degrees on a regular basis), and establishing a strong link between transport infrastructure and renewable energy sources. The Scottish Plugged in Places activity
Electric vehicles are already perfectly suited to the shorter trips motorists take in London, but the next challenge is ensuring people feel confident in driving beyond the parameter of the M25. equivalents. The scheme is on track to deliver 145 vehicles and 74 charging points. The 74 charging points installed via the Procurement Scheme form the first installations under the Plugged In Places project in Scotland. PiP is worth a total of £3.1m to Scotland over 2011-12 – 2012-13, including £1.45m of match funding from DfT. ENCOURAGING EV TAKE-UP On 24 October, 2011, the Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure & Capital Investment, Alex Neil announced a further £4.2m has been made available to encourage public bodies to use electric vehicles. Neil said: “This extra funding will allow local authorities and their community planning partners to bridge the gap between the cost of petrol or diesel powered vehicles and their electric powered equivalents, and help drive down air-polluting emissions. “We are determined to build on the good work carried out as a direct result of funding announced last year which has enabled Scotland’s public services to purchase 145 low carbon vehicles, including cars, vans and even street sweepers, and install 74 charging points across the country.” The Scottish approach focuses on providing a network of 375 charging points to allow electricity powered journeys throughout Scotland, initially by the public sector and then through car park and on-street parking, including rapid charging. This is particularly important in Edinburgh and Glasgow where almost three quartres of residents do not have access to off street parking, where electric vehicle charging can be undertaken, posing particularly challenging test conditions on the trial for publicly available on-street parking.
will also link up with existing and planned charging points in the North East of England and Northern Ireland, enabling a continuous journey by electric vehicle from Newcastle through Southern and Central Scotland, and over to a Belfast, via Stranraer. Scotland’s ambition is clear, and the above is a first step in achieving its emissions reduction targets and stimulating further uptake of electric vehicles beyond the public sector. This will make zero carbon electric vehicles, powered by renewable energy, a realistic and cost effective transport alternative for the people of Scotland. NORTHERN IRELAND Across the sea, Northern Ireland’s electric vehicle offering under the Plugged-in Places scheme comes under the name of ‘ecar’. Over the next two years, the project aims to install electric vehicle charging points in six towns and cities across Northern Ireland in a number of important locations. The ecar project will also explore opportunities to install charging points in workplaces and at home. This is the first project of its kind in Northern Ireland. The government’s drive for a national charging infrastructure is also being complemented by private sector schemes. POLAR, the UK’s first privately-funded nationwide electric vehicle charging network from Chargemaster plc, allows its members to charge at a network of over 4,000 charging points across the country – as well as at home, with a home charging unit costing just £95. It also includes an iPhone/iPad app showing chargepoint locations and availability and a range of member benefits including discounts on parking, hotels and restaurants. Membership of the POLAR charging network costs between £19.50 and £39.50
What is the government’s Plugged-in Places (PiP) scheme? The government’s Plugged-In Places programme offers match-funding to businesses and public sector partners that want to install an electric vehicle recharging infrastructure in lead places across the UK. Data derived from the programme about how drivers use and recharge their electric vehicles will provide the necessary evidence base to shape the design of a national system of recharging infrastructure. The government is supporting eight Plugged-In Places: East of England; Greater Manchester; London; Midlands; Milton Keynes; North East; Northern Ireland; and Scotland.
What is the Plug-in Car Grant? Motorists purchasing a qualifying ultralow emission car can receive a grant of 25 per cent towards the cost of the vehicle, up to a maximum of £5,000. The Plug-in Car Grant has been designed to help make the whole-life costs of a qualifying car more comparable with petrol or diesel equivalents. Both private consumers and businesses can benefit from the grant when purchasing a qualifying ultra-low emission car and registering it in the UK. Vehicles must have been confirmed by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) as eligible under the rules of the scheme in order to receive subsidy.
per month and a payment of 90 pence each time a charging unit is used. This provides fuel for up to 100 miles of electric car driving, compared with around £16 for 100 miles in a comparable petrol or diesel car. Philip Hammond MP, Secretary of State for Transport, said: “This announcement is exactly the kind of private-sector-led initiative that we need to drive the development of our national network of recharging infrastructure. It comes hot on the heels of our recent Plug-In Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy where we set out a range of steps to significantly improve the commercial case for infrastructure provision. It is good to see the government’s pump priming investment, delivered through the Plugged-In-Places programme, leading so quickly to private sector investment in public charging infrastructure.”
STANDARD CHARGE (3KW)
FAST CHARGE (7KW)
RAPID CHARGE (20-50KW)
Standard charge is available in all UK homes. It will take approximately six to eight hours to charge the average pure-electric car.
Fast charge will normally occur at dedicated charge bays rather than at home. This will fully charge an average pure-electric car in three to four hours.
Rapid charge will only occur at dedicated charge bays. This will charge the average pure-electric car in around 30 minutes.
A GreenFleet Guide to EVs & Infrastructure
CHARGING AHEAD A very big player indeed has entered the EV infrastructure market. Charged talks to Mark Bonnor-Moris, EV Business Manager at Siemens Mobility & Logistics, about its plans to grab EV infrastructure by the scruff of the neck and become the number one supplier of charging equipment and services for workplace, fleet and car parks The effectiveness of Electric Vehicles in reducing emissions can only really be evaluated once a realistic charging infrastructure is in place. Much work is being undertaken to solve this ‘Chicken and Egg’ scenario, particularly by Siemens, the largest Europe-based electronics and electrical engineering company. In order to understand the limitations of EVs and concerns regarding their use, a fleet of 100 EVs reside in Munich, Erlangen and Berlin and operate as part of Siemens’ fleet. The vehicles and corresponding infrastructure are tested by Siemens employees and departments, with charging spots installed at Siemens car parks, where the test users get green electricity for free. Every user also gets a wallbox installed in his private garage. Subsidised by ‘Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, the project has provided a solid body of research data. BonnorMoris commented: “The project produced a significant amount of information on user profiles, with a key finding that home based overnight charging and fast AC based
workplace charging was favoured by most users. This living lab trial provided excellent feedback for our electromobility R&D teams concerning customer needs and has helped assist in defining, testing and adapting useful business models and technical solutions.” EUROPEAN ATTITUDES Asked how European attitudes towards electric vehicles, such as those in Germany, differ from those in the UK, Bonnor-Moris stated: “In general, continental European attitudes differ from the UK view as there is broader acceptance of the need to integrate and use EV vehicles within a multi-modal transport network. Essentially, there is a greater understanding that the real benefit from EV vehicles relates to urban or short journeys. Other forms of transport such as trains and rental cars are used for longer journeys.” PLUGGED-IN PLACES Siemens involvement in the largest of the ‘Plugged-in-Places’ projects is considerable. Source London plans to install over 1,300
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charging units in the capital, with Siemens having developed the back office and IT systems, and providing the operational services. Siemens provides registration, card issuing and customer management through a customer portal which is supported by the Siemens call centre, which is dual sited for business continuity purposes. Whilst the charging infrastructure is sourced from a number of suppliers, the Siemens service provides an interoperable layer to deliver a single ‘card to charger to customer contact’ approach. The Siemens system also provides secure payment through the use of the PayPoint service and provides the necessary secure and auditable processes for financial reporting, charge backs, refunds, renewals and replacement cards. ADVANCED CHARGING Gradually, advanced charging equipment is making it way into the UK picture. Siemens has already installed a number of its CP700A three phase AC charging units at several sites across the UK. Its range of fast AC charging solutions has now been expanded to include the CP500A - a dual headed three charging unit (pictured). This is based on the same high quality components, design and safety features but can simultaneously charge two vehicles in around 1-2 hours. In 2012, Siemens will be launching its DC based rapid Charger in the UK – EVERFLASH is a 50 kW ultra-fast DC charger which complies with the CHAdeMO (an association which is proposing a global industry standard charging protocol). Bonner-Moris explains the rollout: “Essentially an EV business model or network based on 8 hours charge time
does not stack up. We see three phase AC or DC charging equipment becoming the chargers of choice for all non-home based charging. EV users and fleet operators need solutions that can charge cars in less than two hours in order to reduce ‘range anxiety’ and increase commercial vehicles ‘on road’ time. OEM manufacturers understand this, and will be introducing more and more vehicles that can benefit from a short charge time. ABOUT THE CHARGING UNITS Siemens charging solutions have been designed, built and installed for long term field deployment and a high level of usage. The CP product range has a high level of electromechanical protection and is not just reliant on software protection. The units are mechanically much stronger
user or network operator. Siemens supports this technology with a national network of qualified electrical engineers and 24/7 call centre. A Siemens engineer will oversee the appropriate site design, install and commission every unit and, if required, will on be site anywhere in the UK within four hours. THE WIDER PLAN Siemens has already stated that the company will not be making electric cars, nor batteries, but its involvement in the EV marketplace involves looking into ways to merge EV networks and strategies within a wider city or regional integrated transport plans. The company has a wide variety of solutions and services from across its Infrastructure and Cities Sector that can be used in this field and is already talking to
Source London plans to install over 1,300 charging units in the capital, with Siemens having developed the back office and IT systems, and providing the operational services. and durable than competitor units – e.g. IK 10 rating for anti vandalism. The CP500A is available with IEC 62196-2 Mennekes Type 2 and offers a fully shuttered connector rather than just a simple flap with electromagnetic lock. To increase system availability and reduce maintenance costs the RCD can be remotely reset and units are fitted with two visible MID-compliant meters, which can easily by read by the
a number of potential customers on new ways to integrate EV infrastructure within a wider multi-modal transport strategy. FOR MORE INFORMATION Mark Bonnor-Moris, EV Business Manager, Siemens Mobility & Logistics email@example.com +44 (0)1202 782649
DISCOVER THE FUTURE. NOW. Positively NOT a hybrid, Ampera offers ‘all the benefits of owning an electric vehicle with virtually none of the drawbacks.’ (What Car?) Arriving Spring 2012 , the Ampera is a revolutionary Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (E-REV) which ‘is quite simply the best Vauxhall ever’ (Quentin Wilson), thanks to its revolutionary Voltec propulsion system.
Better still, Ampera generates serious financial advantages for Fleet Decision Makers and drivers:
> 5% Benefit-in-Kind taxation*1 > Eligible for Government £5,000 ‘plug-in’ grant
> £0 VED (first year and standard rate) > 100% First Year Writing Down Allowance > London Congestion Charge exempt*2
VAUXHALL FLEET ‘This was not just a new car launch; this was the start of a new era and a moment in history.’ (Martin Ward - CAP). Discover Ampera for yourself at www.discoverampera.co.uk/fne or call 0870 010 0651*3 Fuel Consumption for Ampera in MPG (l/100km) Urban: 0.0 (0.0), Extra Urban: 56.5 (5.0), Combined: 235.4 only. Extra Urban: is the vehicle running on Combustion Engine supplied electricity. Combined: is the hour (kWh) of electricity generated in the UK emits 545g of CO2. (02 November 2011, Autocar) – this is not *1. 2011-2012 Tax Year. General Motors UK Limited does not offer tax advice and recommends that all company car drivers consult their own accountant with regards to their particular tax position. *2. Exemption from or training purposes. Images shown are for illustrative purposes only. From 2009-2012, cars are subject to an increasingly tougher and more comprehensive assessment in the achievement of the final star award due
Powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, its 150PS Voltec propulsion system gives the Ampera up to 50 miles of battery-powered electric driving – ample for most daily commutes. When the battery reaches a minimum state of charge a 1.4-litre ECOTEC engine kicks-in, generating electricity for up to a further 310 miles, meaning an anxiety free non-stop range of up to 360 miles.
(1.2). Type Approval Fuel Efficiency figures: Urban: is the vehicle running on Battery supplied electricity vehicle running on a combination of both. Combined CO2 emissions of 27g/km – on average, each kilowatt/ included within the EU Type Approval figures. London Congestion Charge available upon the payment of a £10 annual fee. *3. Telephone lines are open Monday-Friday, 8.00am to 5.30pm excluding Bank Holidays. Calls may be recorded or monitored for quality and/ to the introduction of Euro NCAP’s new rating system in 2009.
A GreenFleet Guide to EVs & Infrastructure
ELECTRIC VEHICLES Written by Samantha Larner, Technology and Innovation Manager, The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)
ELECTRIC VEHICLES TODAY AND TOMORROW
The year ahead will see the number of electric vehicles on the market grow rapidly as more manufacturers add further models to their range, catering for a variety of different operational requirements 2011 marked the real beginning of electric vehicle (EV) availability in the UK. Previous exploration of the potential of electric power was typically on a small scale or trial basis. By the end of 2011 there were 10 pure-electric vehicles on the market, covering both the commercial vehicle and car sectors. 2012 will see this number grow rapidly as more manufacturers put more models on the road, catering for a range of vehicle segments. The early market indications for electric vehicles are positive and are reflective of the whole industry’s efforts to reduce emissions across all types of technology. With infrastructure growing rapidly and the 2012 introduction of range-extended electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and more pure electric cars, the only way is up for the ultra-low carbon market. FITTING IN WITH THE FLEET With any new technology the ‘early adopter’ phase is crucial; EVs and their associated infrastructure have to enter mass market acceptance gradually. Fleets are an important part of the adoption process and the options now and in the coming few years for fleet buyers are certainly enticing. Pure-electric vehicles, those powered exclusively by batteries, currently have a range of around 100 miles. With the extremely low recharging costs, zero benefit-in-kind, zero VED and low servicing requirements the fleet operator running a back-to-base operation or with a local daily usage pattern would do well to consider the pure-EV. Some fleets benefit from well defined routes and distances, allowing for perfect planning for vehicle charging times and destinations. This sort of simple predictability makes EVs a genuine option for fleets looking to reduce tailpipe emissions and enhance their corporate sustainability standings. SMMT is working to facilitate the introduction of a range of ultra-low emission technologies for all sectors of the market. Ahead of the January 2012 Plug-In Car Grant review, it has been lobbying government to include light commercial vehicles (LCVs) in the scheme. Extending the
grant to LCVs would enhance the range of benefits already available to EVs, such as road tax and congestion charge breaks. REAL-WORLD TESTS The UK is at the forefront of R&D, testing and development of ultra-low carbon vehicles, including EVs and their associated technology. Feedback from the many demonstrator projects (such as the MINI E trials) has shown how quickly drivers acclimatise to the new driving experience of an EV, with many enjoying the quieter ride and calmer environment in addition to the cost savings on offer. Total cost of ownership is clearly an important consideration and here, EVs benefit from anticipated lower maintenance costs, given fewer moving parts, enhancing further the ability of a business to reduce its carbon footprint while still conducting business as normal. TECHNICAL ADVANCEMENTS Looking ahead to the 2012 introduction of range-extended electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, the low carbon market has opened-up to a whole new type of fleet operator. Range-extended vehicles boast economy figures exceeding 170mpg, average CO2 emissions of less than 50g/ km of CO2 and a range of around 350 miles, this technology meets the requirements of even the most ambitious fleet driver. Through the Automotive Council, industry has demonstrated that alongside the ongoing refinement of existing technologies, vehicle lightweighting and the introduction and development of alternative fuels, electric is set to grow considerably. Hybrids, range-extenders and pureelectric vehicles will become increasingly important as vehicle manufacturers look to cut carbon emissions further, plus as fuel prices continue to creep up, the case for other options becomes ever stronger. THE UK LEADS THE WAY The UK is at the heart of the global drive to reduce vehicle emissions and has the support and recognition of a government that, with
Automotive Council support, recognises the potential of manufacturing and the automotive sector of spearheading a low carbon economy. Multinational companies are investing in the UK as a base for R&D, testing and manufacturing of electric vehicles and their components. In 2012 Renault/Nissan will establish its battery manufacturing facility in Sunderland, before production of the LEAF begins there in 2013. Also, the UK is home to several firms that successfully convert vehicles to run on electric power with products ranging from electric vans to cars and taxis. These low carbon developments build on the breadth of low carbon R&D, engineering and manufacturing already going on in the UK. Examples range from hybrid production undertaken by Toyota at its facility in Burnaston and low carbon engine manufacturing by Ford in Bridgend and Dagenham, to the engineering expertise demonstrated by companies including Bentley, Jaguar Land Rover, Lotus, McLaren and MINI in areas such as lightweighting, alternative fuels, efficient engineering and the refinement of existing technologies. Despite challenging economic times, the early introduction of EVs is on track to a bright future that will be boosted by the introduction of more vehicles in more vehicle segments, as well as the greater flexibility presented by alternative technologies – opening up low and ultra-low carbon motoring to an even wider audience. These enticing options, along with the extensive selection of highly efficient petrol and diesel vehicles and those featuring hybrid technology, demonstrates the commitment of vehicle manufacturers to provide an economical, low carbon option for every sort of motorist. FOR MORE INFORMATION www.smmt.co.uk
Types of electric vehicles PURE ELECTRIC VEHICLE (EV) A vehicle powered solely by a battery charged from mains electricity
PLUG-IN HYBRID ELECTRIC VEHICLE (PHEV)
A vehicle with a plug-in battery and an internal combustion engine (ICE)
EXTENDED-RANGE ELECTRIC VEHICLE (E-REV) A vehicle powered by a battery with an ICE powered generator on board to generate electricity to extend the range
A GreenFleet Guide to EVs & Infrastructure
Electric vehicles available now and in the future CITROEN C-ZERO
Brand and Model
UK Launch Date
Allied Electric Vehicles e-Bipper Tepee
Allied Electric Vehicles e-Expert Tepee
Allied Electric Vehicles e-Partner Tepee
Lightning Car Company, The Lightning GT
Renault Fluence Z.E.
Tesla Model S
Toyota prius PHEV
Porsche 918 Spyder
Westfield GMT Electric
Volkswagen Up! blue-e-motion
Volkswagen Golf blue-e-motion
Th!nk City EV
TBC Source: SMMT
A FLEXIBLE ELECTRIC OFFER The government is driving a sustainable motoring revolution to combat climate change and Renault is at the forefront of the charge with its industry-leading range of electric vehicles The award-winning Renault Kangoo Van Z.E. is already available in two and five-seat versions and it will be followed in 2012 by the Twizy urban two-seater in April; the four-door, five-seat Fluence Z.E., which will be available in the UK mid year; and the Zoe hatchback, which will become the marque’s electric vehicle flagship, will launch in the autumn. FITTING FLEET NEEDS No-other manufacturer is able to offer the breadth of electric vehicle motoring that Renault is bringing to UK showrooms and fleets are already benefiting. JCDecaux, Europe’s largest ‘outof-home’ advertising company, has
taken delivery of six electric Kangoo vans for inter-site driving in urban areas, as it strives to reduce its carbon footprint. The world’s first 100 per cent electric van produced by a mass market manufacturer costs £16,990 excluding VAT (standard model), the long wheelbase Kangoo Van Maxi Z.E. costs £17,990 excluding VAT with the five-seat crew van version at £18,690 excluding VAT. The pioneering Kangoo has already earned Renault two coveted awards – the prestigious International Van of the Year 2012 title and the Van of the Year award from influential publication What Van? AN INNOVATIVE APPROACH Electric vehicle affordability is a fundamental issue for fleets, but Renault has overcome that hurdle by introducing an innovative battery hire business model. The battery for the Kangoo Van Z.E. is hired for a monthly fee with a variety of mileage and duration permutations – the same principle will apply to the cars. For example, a threeyear/12,000 miles per annum contract is £74 per month excluding VAT and a three-year/6,000 miles per annum contract is £60 a month excluding VAT. Importantly, by fitting the battery under the floor of Kangoo Van Z.E., Renault has kept the same load capacity – load volume ranges from 3 m3 to 4.6 m3 and payload is 650kg – and dimensions as the internal-combustion version. The arrival of the Renault Z.E. cars in 2012 opens the door to public and private sector organisations being able to benefit from the government’s Plug-In Car Grant scheme, which sees cash help of up to £5,000 or 25 per cent of the value of the car being made available. The Fluence is the first Renault car to be approved for grant and it will go on sale priced from only £17,850 on-the-road after deduction of the £5,000 Plug-In Car Grant. Billed as Britain’s ‘most affordable electric car’ it will be available with a similar battery hire scheme to that operated for
the Kangoo Van Z.E. – from £69.60 per month including VAT (based on 6,000 miles per year and a three-year agreement). The two-seat Twizy will be launched in the UK in April and will cost from £6,690 on-theroad. Available in a choice of three trim levels, battery hire costs from £40 including VAT, based on three years and 4,500 miles per year. The Renault four-model electric vehicle range will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2012 with the UK arrival of the lower medium sector Zoe. EXPERT ADVICE To facilitate UK sales, Renault has appointed a network of 21 Z.E. Expert dealers who have invested in specialist tooling, training for both sales and workshop staff (including accreditation to a European standard for electrical safety from both the Institute of the Motor Industry and Lloyds Register) and showroom display. In addition Z.E. dealers will have a demonstrator and/or display vehicle for each model in the Z.E. range. However, the whole Renault network has a key role to play in the sale of electric vehicles, handling initial enquiries and passing them to their nearest Z.E. dealer and are also able to carry out nonspecialist maintenance operations. In the Z.E. dealership, customers will receive a comprehensive explanation of the electric vehicle technology and driver tutorials are available on the internet. TAX INCENTIVES Organisations looking to add Renault’s electric vehicle range to their fleets can benefit from motoring-related tax incentives designed to speed introduction of zero emission motoring. This includes a 100 per cent first-year capital allowance on the purchase of electric cars and vans, Vehicle Excise Duty and London congestion charge exemption, as well as zero BiK. Additionally, there are significant benefit-in-kind tax advantages for employees with an exemption for all electric cars and vans at least to 5 April 2015. EV BARRIERS Although the electric vehicle revolution is in its infancy, research by the Society of Motor Manufacturers (SMMT) suggests that electric vehicle sales could account for around 200,000 units a year by 2025. Range anxiety – the fear of being
stranded with an electric vehicle that’s run out of power – has been highlighted to be the major concern of motorists when considering zero emission driving. However, SMMT research suggests that around 50 per cent of all journeys currently undertaken are suitable for electric vehicles. Additionally, Renault’s own research reveals that some 87 per cent of daily journeys involve driving less than 37 miles and that 70 per cent of van drivers cover a daily distance of less than 62 miles. The official range of Fluence Z.E. is 115 miles and that of Kangoo Van Z.E. is 106 miles, measured using the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) combined figure in the same way as fuel consumption figures on an internal combustion engined vehicle. In real-world conditions, the operational range of electric vehicles varies more than that of internal combustion-engined vehicles, as it is affected by factors such as speed, the lie of the land, the use of onboard electric-powered features such as the heater or climate control, the outdoor temperature and individual driving style. Unlike vehicles that use an internal combustion engine, electric vehicles are at the most energy-efficient when driven in heavy traffic in built-up areas. In such conditions, Fluence Z.E. and Kangoo Van Z.E. can achieve a range of 125 miles, helped by the fact that when at a standstill, for example at a red light or traffic queue, the electric motor uses no energy. In addition, the van’s system to recover energy under deceleration works more frequently in stop-start city motoring. By the same token, driving in bad weather, coupled with a sportier driving style, hilly routes and no use of the pre-heating system (detailed below), can reduce the vehicle’s range to around 50 miles. INFRASTRUCTURE To further allay range concerns a nationwide network of electric vehicle recharging points is being developed due to a combination of funding from private enterprise and the government’s Plug-In Vehicle Infrastructure Strategy. The SMMT has calculated that by 2013 some 11,000 electric vehicle recharging points will be available principally at the roadside, in car parks, at shopping malls and at businesses. It means that there will be more electric vehicle recharging points in the UK than there are filling stations within two years. To enable drivers to easily monitor vehicle range, Renault’s electric vehicles feature two additional dials, one either
side of the speedometer. One gauge indicates the battery’s level of charge and an econometer tells the driver how energy is being used: light blue indicates the vehicle is running ‘normally’, dark blue is optimum while red indicates that energy is being used excessively in a way that will impact the range. Optimum vehicle recharging via a standard domestic ‘wallbox’ takes six to eight hours. However, a ‘top-up’ charge at a car park charging point enabling 12 miles of motoring can be obtained in under an hour. Renault’s electric vehicle recharging partner
by Renault backing its electric vehicles with a three-year/100,000 miles warranty and the electric drive train with a five-year/100,000 miles warranty. A FITTING FORMULA In addition to the standard manufacturers’ warranty, Renault offers a ‘programmed maintenance’ service which allows customers to choose the best formula (years/ mileage) to suit their usage, in line with the duration of their battery hire contract In the event of a breakdown as part of the battery hire, and regardless of the pricing
Fleet peace of mind is further extended by Renault backing its electric vehicles with a threeyear/100,000 miles warranty and the electric drive train with a five-year/100,000 miles warranty. is British Gas and for business customers that would like to equip their car parks with battery charging facilities, a wide range of solutions and services are available. Customers can, for example, opt for a single charging point or for a number of points clustered together. The idea is to locate all the charging points together in order to simplify their installation and minimise costs. LOW OPERATING COSTS Operating costs – fuel and maintenance – are significantly lower on electric vehicles than on petrol or diesel equivalents. For example, Renault has calculated that the cost of electricity – depending on supplier – is five to 10 times lower than the price of petrol, while maintenance costs are around 20 per cent lower than a petrol or diesel car or van. This is because there are fewer parts that need replacing – no timing belt, air filter or fuel filter, for example – and there is no oil change requirement. For example, with Fluence Z.E, a range of 115 miles costs approximately £3 (depending on price per kWh of electricity) which marks a clean break compared to the fuel budget required for an internal combustion-engined vehicle. With an electric vehicle, the battery hire cost must also be included in the operating cost calculation. For an annual mileage of 9,000, for example, the additional cost for the Fluence is just under 11p/ mile (based on a monthly battery hire agreement of £81 over three years). Fleet peace of mind is further extended
chosen, comprehensive 24/7 breakdown cover is included. It also covers flat batteries, whereby the vehicle will be towed to the charging point of choice, within a distance of 50 miles. A temporary replacement mobility solution is also offered to enable the driver and passengers to reach their destination. With plenty of low down torque electric vehicles offer impressive driving performance as power delivery is instant. For example, the Fluence Z.E. has a top speed limited to 84mph and delivers 70kW (equivalent to 95hp) at 3,000rpm, while maximum torque is 226Nm. Meanwhile, the Kangoo Van Z.E delivers 44kW (60hp) with maximum torque of 226Nm and a top speed of 81mph. Darren Payne, Renault’s director of fleet and commercial vehicle operations, said: “We’re committed to driving down CO2 emissions, which in turn helps our fleet and business customers to reduce their carbon footprint and their vehicle budgets. “Incorporating electric vehicles into a fleet is the easy way to make motoring more economical and more responsible across individual organisations. “The Renault Z.E. range puts the brand at the forefront of sustainable motoring. The Kangoo Van Z.E is already being operated by some fleets and the 2012 arrival of three more electric models means Renault has a range of vehicles that provide the perfect solution for modern, responsible companies and public sector organisations.” FOR MORE INFORMATION www.renault-ze.com
A GreenFleet Guide to EVs & Infrastructure
LEADING THE CHARGE Electric vehicles can be a viable option for public sector fleets if targeted funding schemes are used effectively, says Tim Meadows, brand director of GreenFleet’s Leasing Company of the year, Automotive Leasing Many public sector organisations (PSOs) are attracted by the environmental benefits of electric vehicles, but are reluctant to add electric vehicles to their fleet, wary of higher upfront, maintenance and depreciation costs. Similar reservations were voiced within Dumfries and Galloway Council (D&G) but unique funding arrangements from Transport Scotland and Automotive Leasing made it possible for the Council to become the first Scottish council to lease four fully electric Nissan Leaf vehicles and an electric sweeper – saving over 127 tonnes of carbon each year. Emulated elsewhere, this financing model could enable affordable procurement of electric vehicles across the public sector. FUNDING INNOVATION The Scottish government’s target to cut CO2 emissions by 42 per cent by 2020 has provided greater motivation for Scottish PSOs to look at lower carbon vehicles, but higher leasing costs have always been a significant disincentive. To overcome this obstacle, Automotive Leasing worked directly with Transport Scotland to develop a grantfunding framework – enabling its customers to lease electric vehicles at the same cost as traditional petrol or diesel vehicles. Last year’s grants totalling £4.3 million helped to replace conventionally-powered vehicles such as cars, buses and even electric sweepers and an additional £4.2 million has now been made available. As part of the world’s largest fleet management and leasing provider, LeasePlan, Automotive Leasing were able to provide further financial support, financing the vehicles over a five-year term and assuming the
financial risk typically associated with electric vehicles, bridging the gap between the cost of traditionally fuelled vehicles and their low and zero carbon equivalents. Making electric vehicles operationally viable within an organisation can present itself as a challenge – especially within rural areas. For D&G it was agreed that the Nissan Leaf’s 100 mile range was significantly greater than previous all-electric models and was agreed sufficient for the majority of Council journeys. Dumfries and Galloway strengthened its regional charging infrastructure, meeting the cost of two £4,000 charging posts through the ‘Plugged in Places’ match-funding scheme. To further help drivers of electric vehicles across the UK, the locations of charging points will be available to view via a public access database from early 2012. ‘The Registry’ lists all database of charge points and to make it easier for motorists to access each charge-point around the country without having to sign up to multiple schemes, the central white list will be created.
PASSING ON POSITIVE EXPERIENCES As well as the immediate benefit in terms of fuel reduction costs, there is hope that the presence of electric vehicles on the streets of the UK will inspire residents and local businesses to consider how they can be ‘greener’ in their daily lives. In addition to this, PSO employees who drive the vehicles have become advocates of the technology, passing on their daily driving experiences. The public sector has an important role to play in demonstrating the viability of electric vehicles – both financially and operationally. Dumfries & Galloway’s partnership with Transport Scotland and Automotive Leasing was an important test case for EV procurement – and five Scottish councils have already followed suit. This model must be taken seriously by other public sector organisations across the UK if we are serious as a nation about reducing our carbon impact.
“When we first initially started looking at electric vehicles and sweepers Automotive Leasing were the only leasing company which was willing to lease these vehicles to the council. They are always willing to assist with promoting and help working with us in promoting a greener and more efficient fleet.” Shelley Sloan, Fleet Management Coordinator, Dumfries & Galloway Council.
Cllr Graham Nicol, Chair of Resources Committee at DGC commented that the work by Automotive Leasing and Transport Scotland “has enabled the Council to realise its environmental ambitions, even in the current era of stringent budgeting.” Fleet decision makers can at last choose electric vehicles and meet stringent value for money criteria. FOR MORE INFORMATION Tel: 0844 493 5840 firstname.lastname@example.org www.automotive-leasing.org
Key milestones in this ongoing project have included: Collaboration with the Scottish government to shape a grant funding framework to ensure the deployment of electric vehicles is financially viable for councils Development of a proposition where LeasePlan takes on the additional risk, therefore removing financial barriers to adoption within the public sector Partnership approach with customers to ensure its regional infrastructure could support electric-only vehicles prior to their introduction into the fleet The fostering of relationships with electric car, commercial and municipal vehicle manufacturers
A GreenFleet Guide to EVs & Infrastructure
FINANCE & LEASING
Written by Toby Poston, BVRLA
A LEASE OF EV LIFE
With high-purchase costs and other concerns such as range anxiety and unknown residual values, fleet buyers may be approaching the electric vehicle market with caution. But the leasing industry is helping early adopters finance this new technology with less risk Ultra-low carbon transport is a necessity, and whether it is driven by environmental motives or cost ones, all fleets are heading in the same direction. How they get there is a different matter, but electric vehicles (EVs) will play a part. No one is sure yet how big this part will be, but the fleet industry needs to prepare nonetheless. There is a particular slide that is often used in presentations across the UK, which predicts the market trajectory for EVs, hybrids and hydrogen vehicles over the next 30 years. It shows full EVs as a niche market for the next decade or so. The niche they are referring to is probably that environmentally-focused, urban dwelling group of motorists that will buy an electric vehicle almost regardless of the cost and different operational requirements. But for fleet operators currently rolling out a small batch of Leafs, iMiEVs, Ions and C-Zeros, this is not a niche market, it is a test market. Nissan, Mitsubishi, Peugeot and Citroen have done an excellent job in testing these vehicles in laboratories, factories and proving grounds – but they are now being put through their paces in the real world. In the business world the difference between success and failure does not just rest with NCAP ratings, braking distances, 0-60mph times or cubic capacity. It is about proper, all inclusive, cost of ownership calculations and whether the vehicle is up for the job. KEEP IT REAL Electric vehicles will find their role in the road transport mix. But for this to happen, we need to put them in the right places, doing the right things. It is about how well we use EVs, not how many of them we use. There is a dearth of real-world EV information at the moment and it is important that the early feedback is good. If organisations start shoe-horning them into roles that they aren’t capable of, they will get a bad name and a reputation that could be hard to shift. Much of this EV testing is being done by the vehicle rental and leasing industry and its customers. They are bearing the risks and learning the lessons as all early adopters do. A number of BVRLA members, in both the short-term rental and longerterm leasing and contract hire markets, are helping businesses trial the technology. For example, UK businesses will now be
able to lease electric vehicles, as well as home charging units, thanks to a new deal agreed between Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions and British Gas. The deal means that British Gas will supply and install electric vehicle charge points in homes across the country as standard when EVs are chosen by customers from Hitachi Capital’s fleet offering, which includes all EV makes and models. The cost of the charging point, including installation, will be included in the lease contract, with maintenance provided by British Gas Home Electrical Care. Elsewhere in the industry, leasing companies are teaming up with the public and private sector to provide funding models for organisations that would like to test this new technology, but are cautious about doing so. Automotive Leasing, for example, worked directly with Transport Scotland to develop a grant-funding framework – enabling its customers to lease EVs at the same cost as traditional petrol or diesel vehicles. FINANCIAL CONCERNS According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), just 812 buyers have taken up the government’s Plug-in Grant by the end of August, suggesting that electric vehicles are still too expensive for most consumer and fleet buyers. More than a dozen new electric and hybrid vehicles are set to hit the UK market over
insurance and benefit-in-kind tax. However, their higher purchase price and faster depreciation means that cost-conscious fleet operators are proceeding with caution. Used car prices are a very important consideration for fleets, which often invest in more expensive prestige marques because the depreciation, and hence the lease costs, are so much lower. With the latest EV models, residual values are a largely unknown quantity and most organisation will have to rely heavily on the forecasting expertise of third parties. Although the powertrain is very different, many of the service actions for EVs are similar. While an electric car has fewer moving parts and no oil filters or spark plugs to replace, there is still a lot of uncertainty over the type and cost of maintenance required for electric motors and battery packs. For this reason, an EV maintenance package offered by a leasing company is likely to be more costly than for an equivalent diesel or petrol-engine vehicle. BATTERY LEASING Some manufacturers are opting to reduce the up-front cost of their EV by selling the vehicle without a battery, which is then leased at an extra monthly cost, for its whole life. Renault’s first electric car, the Fluence, will be priced from £17,850 (including the PlugIn-Car Grant), which compares to similar internal combustion engine cars. However, purchasers will need to take account of the extra cost associated with leasing the battery, which could cost around £75 per month for a three-year, 18,000-mile contract. Owners may also face difficulties when it eventually comes to reselling a car they do not totally own. The fact remains that with existing concerns over range anxiety and residual values, potential business customers will need to see some real cost benefits
The leasing and rental industry is enabling many organisations to experience the environmental benefits and low running costs of electric vehicles with funding models that take the fear out of purchasing an electric vehicle outright. the next year, but most of them will be decorating showrooms unless their prices are more realistic. These vehicles are simply too expensive for most fleets at the moment. A simple calculation of running costs by the BVRLA suggests that a Nissan Leaf would cost £5,000 more to run than an equivalent diesel car over the typical threeyear, 36,000 mile lifecycle of a company car. Electric vehicles can offer big running cost reductions in fuel, road tax, national
if they are to adopt this exciting new technology in significant numbers. Thankfully, the leasing and rental industry is enabling many organisations to experience the environmental benefits and low running costs of electric vehicles with funding models that take the fear out of purchasing an electric vehicle outright. FOR MORE INFORMATION www.bvrla.co.uk
Simon Oliphant with Hitachi Capital’s Newbury based EVs
Charge Point unit from partners British Gas
Are companies aware of the options open to them with electric vehicles? Simon Oliphant, Chief Executive, Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions No one can argue that organisations are increasingly becoming conscious of their carbon footprint, but during challenging economic times, are fleet managers aware of all the options available to them? With the pressure on to reduce emissions, and various Government initiatives being launched to promote alternatives to traditional gas guzzlers, awareness of electric vehicles (EVs) has increased in recent years. Despite this, there is still much that is unknown about the options available, and concerns about the technology are continuing to hinder buying confidence, but this does not have to be the case.
For example, for the next five years, EVs will be exempt from BIK and annual road tax, and qualify for 100 per cent first year Write-Down Allowance. They are also exempt from the daily £10 London congestion charge, offering a potential saving of £2,500 per year.
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), more than 1,021 battery-powered vehicles have been registered in the UK this year. This may sound encouraging, but when you compare this with the 1.7 million cars sold in the UK during the same time span, these numbers are disappointing.
Many drivers’ concerns around electric vehicles lie in ‘range anxiety’ – worries about how far they can travel on one battery charge, but this is easily overcome. The quoted range is generally between 80-100 miles, but as with a petrol or diesel car where the MPG is calculated on a variety of driving types, the publicised range is the optimum figure and is heavily affected by driver behaviour. This also rings true for EVs, and companies are increasingly ensuring customers have experience with the vehicles to ensure that they are familiar with them.
Recent research suggests that the public does have an appetite for plug-in vehicles. The question remains, is the government doing everything possible to make them a real option for both motorists and industry? The answer appears to be ‘yes’. So what about businesses? Adopting the ostrich strategy is bad for business It’s easy to bury your head in the sand and adopt an ‘it doesn’t affect me’ attitude, but that’s a risky strategy. Consider the rising cost of fuel, legislation, and the environmental benefits that accompany EVs, and organisations will quickly realise that there is more to consider than previously thought.
Energy can cost as little as 2p a mile – depending on the electricity tariff used, resulting in the future possibility that 90-100 miles can cost less than £1. These types of cost savings are difficult to ignore for cost-conscious businesses. Concerns about electric vehicles
For example, staff and customers at Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions have had the opportunity to experience driving an electric vehicle during a visit to either their Newbury or Trowbridge offices. As part of its on-going commitment to the environment, Hitachi Capital encourages its customers to adopt this new technology for their business by offering test drives of the Nissan Leaf and Citroen C-Zero. The electric vehicles also serve as pool cars for staff travelling between Newbury and Trowbridge offices and those attending customers and supplier meetings. Charging
points have been installed at both offices to ensure that the electric vehicles are convenient and always ready to use.
Centrica case study
The other major concern about EVs is the high purchase price. But what about leasing?
Centrica, the owner of British Gas, has recently partnered with Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Services to help put their first commercial EV into operational service in the UK.
Lease the power
The companies worked together on the three-year contract to help kick-start Centrica’s ambitious plan to expand its current EV fleet to more than 1,000 by 2015.
Experts predict that by 2020, electric vehicles could account for approximately 10 per cent of all vehicles sold in the UK. This would equate to 260,000 UK households and businesses owning an EV. The leasing market will play a major part in this growth strategy, with 973,000 fleet cars registered in 2010 compared with 958,000 private car registrations. Up to 50 per cent of electric vehicles are expected to be leased through companies such as Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions between now and 2020. Thanks to a deal agreed between British Gas and Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions, all UK businesses are now able to fully lease electric cars, including the provision of home charging units. British Gas will supply and install the EV charge points in homes across the country as standard when EVs are chosen by customers from Hitachi Capital’s fleet offering, which includes all EV makes and models. By using a seasoned leasing provider, like Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions, organisations can reap the larger benefits of introducing EVs into their fleet. Hitachi Capital works proactively with customers to manage down the environmental impact of their fleet. In-depth analysis of the existing fleet and alternative vehicles using Hitachi Capital’s unique ‘environmental calculator’ enables customers to easily see the benefits of moving to alternative vehicles both in terms of reducing the average CO2 of the fleet and the overall running costs. Conclusion There is no excuse for modern companies not to have a low emissions strategy when there are options such as leasing available to them. In the economic climate, owning an asset as costly as an EV does not make any sense for a business, but it is vital that all businesses demonstrate responsibility for the environment and do what they can to eliminate costs to the environment. Of course, one option is to ‘do nothing’ and rely on your traditional fleet, but effective business management is rooted in the long-term view, and it is everyone’s responsibility to drive down emissions and support the country’s strategy to become more efficient. Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions Ltd Kiln House, Kiln Road, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2NU Phone: 0844 463 2900 Web: www.hitachicapitalvehiclesolutions.co.uk
The British Gas business model means that most engineers work from home and drive short distances within their local area, indicating that EVs would suit the fleet requirements. British Gas approached Hitachi Capital with the idea of introducing EVs into their fleet. The company then worked with Centrica to develop a strategy plan that would be beneficial to its business model, as well as to incorporate points to help meet its ambitious plan. The EV Nemo will operate on trial within British Gas’ two main national distribution centres. The company will be collecting data on the operational experience of driving the Nemo. This will include how often the vehicle requires charging and other critical information to help determine implementation strategies, as well as finding out more about the cost benefits and total cost of ownership. Centrica plans to review the success of the EV Nemo in mid-2012 as part of the decision making about the company’s future use of electric vehicles. This new venture was won in part due to Hitachi Capital’s commitment to the future of electric vehicles and its longterm relationship with Centrica. In a separate deal, Hitachi Capital is already funding five Nissan Leafs as company cars for the utility provider. Colin Marriott, fleet general manager at Centrica comments, “We are highly ambitious in our strategy to introduce EVs into our fleet and this partnership with Hitachi Capital is a key step towards our goal. We are keen to learn more about EVs from a fleet operations’ perspective and are excited about embracing this new technology.” Jon Lawes, divisional managing director, Hitachi Capital Commercial Vehicle Services, comments, “This partnership to support British Gas is also part of our continued strategy to supplying more commercial electric vehicles into operational service. We’re pleased to be dual-funding the first commercial EV with Centrica and glad to be part of the future of EVs.”
A GreenFleet Guide to EVs & Infrastructure
THE FUTURE NOW. AMPERA. The idea of environmentallyfriendly electric vehicles (EVs) can be traced way back to GM’s EV1 model in the States, though more recently, European and Japanese manufacturers have introduced a whole new generation of mainstream electric vehicles Now the technological climate is changing, with the launch of the radical new Vauxhall Ampera. Indeed, Ampera’s unique E-REV (Extended-Range Electric Vehicle) propulsion system makes it the first electric car to be made available on sale in the UK with range extending capabilities. Set to launch here in Spring 2012 and available to order from 5 December, the Vauxhall Ampera turns traditional theories about electric vehicles on their head. HERE’S WHY We’re all aware of the benefits of electric power: lower emissions and low running costs. And also their traditional drawbacks: things like short range and the high risk of being left powerless when you least expect it. But let’s state from the outset that the
Ampera is different. Very different. Its unique Voltec propulsion system makes it a truly practical car for everyday car journeys, delivering all the advantages of electric driving without the drawbacks. No surprise, then, that it was awarded the coveted What Car? Green Car of the Year Award for 2011. As the magazine put it in its awards address: “(Ampera) offers all the benefits of owning an electric vehicle with virtually none of the drawbacks. It gives motorists the ability to dramatically reduce their emissions without changing their lifestyle... which is exactly what green cars need to do.” Auto Express surmised: “Performance, practicality and economy – the Ampera offers it all, and in a stylish package too.” Meanwhile, Quentin Willson was “extremely proud to be standing in front of what is quite simply their best Vauxhall ever.” Clearly the media appreciates just how radical the Ampera is. So what exactly does Ampera have to offer? Let’s look a little closer. THE TECHNOLOGY EXPLAINED Not all electric vehicles are the same. That much is clear. So here’s how socalled electrically-driven cars differ. Pure BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) – like the Nissan LEAF and Renault Fluence – feature a battery pack and an electric motor, rather than a traditional engine. They need to be
plugged in to achieve a full charge. They may offer the benefits of zero tailpipe emissions whilst driving – that much is good – but their range is strictly limited on a single charge. That’s clearly a major disadvantage. Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) typically use a small electric motor to provide supplementary power to the regular engine as a means of reducing both fuel consumption and CO2. The batteries are normally charged using regenerative braking and deceleration. HEVs can rarely be used on electric power alone. The Toyota Prius is one car that can run occasionally on electric power – but only for 1.2 miles and at speeds up to 31mph if the batteries have been fully recharged. Again, that puts the HEVs at a disadvantage. Advantage E-REV. Ampera is an E-REV (Extended-Range Electric Vehicle) which can run on battery power alone for the first 50 miles. When the battery charge is depleted, a petrol engine-driven generator then produces electricity to keep powering the Voltec electric drive unit. This extends the range of Ampera until you next have the opportunity to recharge, alternatively you can refill the fuel tank and continue your journey. That’s a major advantage, whichever way you look at it. THE PRACTICAL BENEFITS In practical terms, a lithium-ion battery pack powers the Ampera’s 150PS Voltec electric propulsion system, giving up to
Financial Savings n Eligibility for the Government £5,000 ‘plug-in’ grant n No need to buy a separate electric car for low-cost commuting n No Vehicle Excise Duty to pay n 100 per cent discount from London’s Congestion Charge n Just five per cent Benefit-in-Kind taxation for company car drivers (tax years 2012-13 and 2013-14) n Reduced Class 1A NI contributions for employers n 100 per cent First Year Writing Down Allowance for companies  n The Lithium-ion battery pack has 8 years/100,000 mile warranty n 100,000 Lifetime Warranty on the car  50 miles of travel – which independent research shows will meet the needs of 85 per cent of UK commuters . The battery itself is durable and powerful. Mounted centrally under the floor, it gives the Ampera a low centre of gravity and creates generous boot space. Unlike other systems that are temperature sensitive, the Ampera’s battery features an effective cooling and heating system that can withstand serious extremes of hot and cold. To ensure long battery life, the battery is never fully charged or fully depleted and this ‘smart’ use cycle is so reliable that it comes with a 100,000 mile or eight-year warranty (subject to the warranty conditions outlined in the service booklet). The overall car also features Vauxhall’s 100,000 mile ‘Lifetime Warranty’ . The battery level additionally benefits from energy recycled by the Ampera’s regenerative braking
system. In other words, when the car is braking or slowing down, forward motion produces kinetic energy that the Ampera converts into electricity and stores in the battery. Simple really. It can then be re-charged from a standard 13amp mains socket in just six hours. (Note: a 16amp home charge station, providing a four hour recharge, will become available as an option during 2012. This wall-mounted charging kit has an extra-long, extendable cord and can be installed in your home or garage). REPLENISHING BATTERY POWER So much for the technicalities. What if you’re caught up mid-journey and the battery decides to lose power? Seriously, it’s not a problem. When the battery runs low, Ampera’s 1.4-litre ECOTEC engine starts, generating additional charge for around 310 miles on each tankful of petrol. That means a totally anxietyfree non-stop range of up to 360 miles before petrol refuelling is necessary. Better still, when it comes to real world performance, the sensational new Ampera can deliver – in spades. DRIVING THE AMPERA The Voltec propulsion system performs exceptionally well, and the performance can only be described as impressive – whether you’re in Electric Mode or Extended Range Electric Mode. What else would you expect with 150PS at your disposal and 370Nm of torque (more than an Insignia 2.8-litre V6) from zero rpm? The Ampera is quick and powerfully efficient. Acceleration from 0-60mph is achieved in under nine seconds, while top speed is limited to 100mph. That’s more than enough to impress the electro-sceptics! And of course, in battery mode, Ampera is very quiet – almost silent in fact. Overall, on-road performance is the same whether you are running on battery power alone, or have the generator operating in extended range mode. In terms of ride and handling, the Ampera’s lightweight suspension system and extremely
stiff body structure connect the driver to the road. The independent McPherson strut front suspension improves stability whilst at the rear there’s a semi-independent torsion beam set up. For optimised control and agile handling, the Ampera also features the latest steering technology. All this from a stylish four-seat, five-door hatchback with low running costs. FLEET SAVINGS Terrific performance, no range anxieties and stunning looks – so far, so good. But of course, at the end of the day the only thing that will impress fleet operators will be the cost savings that accrue from Ampera’s E-REV technology, as highlighted in the adjacent box. So, when all’s said and done. Ampera delivers – not just in ‘electric vehicle’ terms but in real world, every day, normal fit-forpurpose vehicle parlance. Add to this a Euro NCAP five-star safety rating for additional peace of mind and Ampera really is the electric car for practical everyday use. Or as What Car? put it so conclusively: “The range-extender technology means incredible efficiency figures. Even the forthcoming Toyota Prius plug-in can’t get close, let alone a normal Prius.” So that, in a nutshell, is Ampera. All the benefits and virtually none of the drawbacks. FOR MORE INFORMATION www.discoverampera.co.uk/gf
 CCB EcoAuto Research, May 2011.  Vauxhall Lifetime Warranty covers lifetime ownership of first car owner, 100,000 mile limit. Annual check required. The warranty excludes wear & 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 on passenger cars, (this does not apply to car derived vans) registered from 1st August 2010.  Fuel Consumption for Ampera in MPG (l/100km) Condition A: 0.0 (0.0), Condition B: 56.5 (5.0), Combined: 235.4 (1.2). Type Approval Fuel Efficiency figures: Condition A: is the vehicle running on Battery supplied electricity only. Condition B: is the vehicle running on Combustion Engine supplied electricity. Combined: is the vehicle running on a combination of both. Combined CO2 emissions of 27g/km – on average, each kilowatt/hour (kWh) of electricity generated in the UK emits 545g of CO2. (02 November 2011, Autocar) – this is not included within the EU Type Approval figures.  Exemption from London Congestion Charge available upon the payment of a £10 annual fee.  General Motors UK Limited does not offer tax advice and recommends that all company car drivers consult their accountant with their particular tax position).
EDF ENERGY DRIVING THE FUTURE OF PLUG-IN VEHICLE CHARGING Opportunities for businesses to take advantage of the benefits of electric vehicles have never been greater. While buying electric is simple enough, EDF Energy, Britain’s largest producer of low carbon electricity, is working to ensure that businesses have access to the knowledge, the correct infrastructure and on-going professional support to gain the best results through simple, convenient and, above all, safe vehicle recharging. Darryl McCarthy reports on its strategy. With 40 years’ experience in the development of power supplies for electric vehicles and with the benefit of its own EV research and development facilities, the EDF Group is helping to lead the energy industry in the field of low carbon transport technology. In the UK EDF Energy is using these resources in its close co-operation with vehicle manufacturers and customers to develop products and services that support the rapidly growing electric vehicle market. Manufacturers are bringing to market a wide range of models that deliver significantly cleaner performance in terms of lower carbon emissions and cheaper running costs compared to traditional petrol cars. Government-financed discounts and tax breaks add further incentives for fleet operators to make the switch from vehicles with conventional petrol or diesel engines to all-electric or plug-in hybrid electric powered transport. EDF Energy has real hands-on experience working on trials involving both private and public sector vehicle fleets and it continues to work closely with leading vehicle manufacturers on the development of recharging solutions for the next-generation of plug-in vehicles. This work forms a key element in its mission to bring affordable low carbon solutions to everyone.
SAFETY FIRST The simplicity of the recharging process is one of the attractions of today’s electric vehicles. The concept of plugging a car or van into a power supply at the workplace or at home for the battery to be recharged is easy to grasp, but EDF Energy emphasises that there are important safety considerations that need to be understood. Managers responsible for business fleets need to make sure employees are aware of and follow the correct procedures, whether they are recharging at work, at home or in public places. EDF Energy highlights some of the key questions that need to be thought about when planning to run electric vehicles: • What are the minimum safety requirements? • What are the recharging infrastructure requirements, taking into account vehicle use, and the number of sites and drivers involved • How quickly will the cars need to be recharged and what type of connection will be needed? • What amount of energy will be needed to charge the number of plug-in vehicles being operated? • What systems are available to monitor who is recharging which vehicles and when?
FIND OUT MORE For any business contemplating moving to electric vehicles and wanting to find out more about the key issues that need to be considered with regard to safe and optimised charging, EDF Energy has experience, insight, technical resources and products to help. From infrastructure planning, advice on best practice and charge point installation to on-going technical support, it can help deliver solutions that work for your business. To find out more, contact EDF Energy at email@example.com to obtain a fact sheet on electrical supply installations and upgrades.
CASE STUDY – TRANSPORT FOR LONDON One of the most basic, but important safety issues is the way in which vehicles are connected to a power supply for recharging. While it’s possible simply to link to a standard UK electricity socket using a 13amp three-pin plug, EDF Energy advises that this can be the least safe method: the BS1363 plug has limitations and does not have the robust design appropriate for this kind of use. If a vehicle is recharged on a circuit that’s powering other appliances, there is a risk of overload and damage to the wiring and the other appliances. The recharging point should operate on a dedicated circuit, as required by UK domestic wiring regulations for larger appliances such as electric cookers and power showers. EDF Energy has developed a product, EcoRecharge, that’s designed to provide fast, easy and safe recharging, using an intelligent control box and a dedicated EV charging cable and connector. The robust, weatherproof wall box (charge point) runs on an isolated, fully earthed 16amp circuit, which can recharge a vehicle up to 35 per cent faster than a conventional plug could (comparing 16amp with 10amp supply). The system will only start charging when its communication signal verifies that the car is connected to the supply. As well as providing safe and user-friendly recharging hardware, EDF Energy is pro-active in increasing public awareness of the importance of safety and planning ahead when making the move to plug-in vehicles. Through its business-to-business service, EDF Energy can help its customers determine their recharging infrastructure requirements and put the most suitable equipment and procedures in place. Its fully trained, specialist EV team will work with the customer to produce a tailor-made solution that offers the highest safety and efficiency, installing the right equipment where it will be needed, taking into account how and where the vehicles will be used. Ensuring recharging facilities are available in the right locations, both at work places and the homes of employees adds to the convenience and flexibility of operating plug-in electric vehicles and helps maximise their “electric miles” operating range. With EDF Energy’s product range, technical support is available via their Green Energy Team, ensuring equipment is properly maintained and advice and support are given when facilities need to be extended or upgraded.
EDF Energy installed a multi-site plug-in vehicle recharging network for Transport for London (TfL), supporting a three-year trial that forms part of the Technology Strategy Board’s Ultra Low Carbon Vehicle Demonstrator Project. The work extended from initial site surveys, liaison with project stakeholders to producing and installing a system that met customer requirements in terms of location, ease of use, access and health and safety considerations. A key project challenge for TFL was the need to upgrade a mains supply, a complex job that takes at least 12 weeks to complete. This demonstrates how important it is for customers to understand what work may be required, and for the customer, the energy supplier and the distribution network operator to maintain clear and regular communications.
WORKING WITH INDUSTRY PARTNERS EDF Energy is working at National and European level with crossindustry partners to identify, develop and promote best practice and standards for safe recharging infrastructure and procedures, to help ensure safety for customers, their homes and their vehicles. With the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) it is involved in producing guidelines for installation, covering areas such as wiring, earthing and mains upgrades, while at a European level it is in dialogue with the industry standards organisations, including the BSI, CENELEC and the IEC to establish specifications for charge point functionality, recharging loads and charge management. EDF Energy plays an active role as a member of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Its co-operation with vehicle manufacturers in trial electric vehicle programmes and demonstrations includes high-profile projects with Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Toyota, and it is a commercial partner with Peugeot and Citroën, which have both introduced new urban electric vehicles in the past year.
A GreenFleet Guide to EVs & Infrastructure
ELECTRIC VEHICLES IN REAL WORLD APPLICATIONS
Dundee City Council has invested in four all-electric Mitsubishi i-MiEVs as ‘pool cars’ for its environment department. We find out from Ken Laing, the council’s director of environment, how staff are getting on with the vehicles Why did the council decide to purchase electric vehicles?
The council purchased four Mitsubishi i-MiEVs as part of its commitment to reducing carbon emissions and air quality management. It was apparent that electric-vehicle technology had progressed significantly over the last few years, making the vehicles a viable option for introduction into the council’s fleet. The capital cost of these vehicles was offset by grant funding through a government initiative being promoted via Transport Scotland.
How are the electric vehicles used?
Four electric Mitsubishi i-MiEVs were introduced to create a small ‘car pool’ within the environment department. The pool is used to enable supervisory staff working within the construction division to attend site meetings and inspections throughout the city. Six existing diesel vehicles were removed from the fleet and replaced by the electric vehicles. Following a review of utilisation, a further 12 staff who were using their own private vehicles for such visits have been included within the pool.
How did staff first react to the cars and have attitudes changed?
It is estimated that the four electric vehicles will provide savings of approximately £4,000 per annum in fuel costs and reduced CO2 emissions of 4.5 tonnes over the lifetime of the vehicles. The savings in maintenance costs are not yet known but it is anticipated that these will be reasonably significant.
Would you consider buying further electric vehicles? How would they be used?
Whilst it is very early days, the electric vehicles have produced some early encouraging results. It is envisaged that further investment into LCVs will be made in the coming years. The move to mainstreaming LCVs into the fleet will be assisted by further technical advancements in battery life and performance along with a reduction in unit costs. Initial capital cost is currently a significant barrier. It is also likely that electric vehicles will be used to expand the council’s ‘car pool’ to incorporate other service departments.
What’s the maximum range achieved?
The maximum range is just over 100 miles which is more than enough for daily urban use within a city the size of Dundee.
Where and when do you recharge the vehicles?
Vehicles are parked indoors overnight at our main depot and are recharged using a normal 13 amp socket. Charging from empty in this way takes four to five hours and would take 30 minutes using a three-phase supply unit.
Do the vehicles have any limitations?
How much will you save in CO2 and fuel spend?
Long journeys cause a problem as the charging station infrastructure is still very limited throughout the country. However for normal, everyday usage, this does not present any problem. What’s more, the vehicles are relatively small and are therefore not suitable for transporting bulky or heavy loads.
What advice would you give to other organisations thinking of purchasing electric vehicles?
There is now a large range of electric vehicles available and time should be taken to test and evaluate suitable vehicles with a clear understanding of the function they will be required to undertake. The whole life costs associated with procuring, operating and maintaining such vehicles needs to be fully considered.
There was an initial scepticism amongst some of the staff regarding the capability of these vehicles although most were curious and willing to get involved. Once staff had gained experience driving the electric cars they were impressed by the performance and build quality. The cars are particularly well suited to town driving and the short journeys which are required by the environment department.
Key questions to ask before purchasing an electric vehicle In what capacity would the electric vehicle be used? With a range of around 100 miles, electric vehicles are ideal for short to medium length journeys. Backto-base fleet operations, such as deliveries or ‘pool cars’, are therefore ideal.
How will the vehicles be charged?
How will I finance the vehicle?
Could you charge the vehicle at a 13 amp socket without trailing extension leads onto the street? Would you consider installing a dedicated charging point? If you plan to use the vehicles beyond their range capacity, are there public charging bays on route? Or can you re-charge upon reaching your destination?
An electric vehicle has higher initial purchase cost, but lower running costs than conventionally fueled vehicles. Would your organisation be eligible for government help, such as the ‘plug-in car grant’? Have you considered the whole-life cost of the vehicle? How about leasing to take the ‘risk’ out of the purchase?
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