Electrify Your Business

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When game-changing technology hits the market it’s often faced with a backlash of resistance – people are wary of new, expensive “fads” and prefer to stick to the tried and tested methods. Electric Vehicles are no exception. They’ve certainly received their fair share of criticism and, to be honest, aren’t even on most people’s radar. However, with continuous leaps in technology and strong financial arguments, that is set to change – with Peterborough at the forefront of the revolution.

Pioneering electric  vehicle company, GoinGreen, has joined forces with Land Rover specialists, Footloose 4X4, to launch the first EV dealership and service centre in Peterborough. GoinGreen bills itself as a one-stop shop for electric vehicle transport solutions, with over 30 products ranging from electric bicycles right through to electric trucks. The company started in London in 2002 and has since sold over 1,400 electric vehicles. Having decided it was time to expand the business to other cities, GoinGreen was attracted to Peterborough City Council’s ambition to become the greenest city in the UK.

Both Footloose 4×4 and GoinGreen realise the biggest challenge will be overcoming people’s attachment to fossil fuelled cars, illustrated by the fact that there are currently only five electric cars in the whole city! But the two companies are confident they can do this and are particularly interested in communicating their message to the business community who are in the best position to enjoy the benefits.

Forget the image enhancement and the green credentials; the financial argument really works. You don’t need to worry about the headline price because with the grants that you get from the government, plus cheap running costs, plus other local incentives such as free parking and electric charging points, it really does stack up as a sound business case. Fleet Managers, Finance Directors’ and business owners will save money. No question

says Ian Hobday, managing director of Goin Green.

Ian admits that electric vehicles require a bigger up-front investment .The Liberty electric Nemo, a conversion of the popular Citroën Nemo, retails at £19,995 + VAT – quite literally double the petrol equivalent. However, after the initial outlay the financial benefits are actually worth looking into. It takes 7-9 hours to charge the vehicle from a standard 32 amp domestic socket (recommended overnight on low cost economy 7 energy) which costs the equivalent of just 10-20% of a full tank of petrol at 1.5p per mile based on a speed of 60mph. In real money that could mean 6,000 electric miles of driving for less than £100!

Government grants and incentives also make EVs an appealing option, particularly for businesses. Firstly, there is a 20% government subsidy on the purchasing price (up to £5,000 for an electric car, or £8,000 for an electric van). Secondly, all EVs are exempt from company car tax, and van benefit charge. Factoring in other benefits like no road tax and minimal servicing requirements, it starts to make economic sense. In fact, Ian confidently asserts that companies can write off the initial cost against their profits within the first year.

Aside from the price, two other common turn- offs are “range anxiety” and the “different” driving experience. Ian is keen to dispel these myths as well: “Our Citroën Nemo van has an 80-mile range with a 75mph top speed. It has a very crisp acceleration because electric motors have all the torque instantly available to the driver from 0mph. So between 0-30mph you think you’re in a racing car because it’s a completely flat torque curve!

Feedback shows us that people working in cities love this, because they actually can’t do more than 30mph – so if you can get 0-30mph quickly that’s a super thing to be able to do.

We’ve also discovered that if you can give people working in inner-city areas a 60-80 mile range it is perfectly adequate because on average they’re only doing 20-30 miles a day, so they’ve got double what they need. If you’ve got a van and you’re job is a plumber or electrician or parcel delivery, the key feature is you’re going a relatively short distance and coming back to base every night. And that is perfectly suited for cheaper re-charging

And actually, that is just the current situation. Ian explains that developments in battery technology are advancing at an incredible pace, with giant leaps taking place every six months, giving reign to very exciting possibilities:

Hot off the press, there will be a car next year, one of our cars, that will go from Land’s End to John O’Groats (800 miles) on a single charge. This demonstrates a new type of battery technology which may well be, commercially, the solution electric vehicles need

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