UK Fleet Chief a ‘Convert’ to the EV

David Hosk­ing, chief exec­u­tive at UK-head­quar­tered con­tract hire provider and salary sac­ri­fice com­pa­ny, Tusker, has become a staunch advo­cate of the mer­its of elec­tric vehi­cles for fleets in cer­tain sit­u­a­tions, after dri­ving an all-elec­tric Nis­san Leaf for more than 5,000 miles over the last six months.

Hosk­ing want­ed to under­stand first­hand the mer­its and pos­si­ble pit­falls of elec­tric vehi­cles so decid­ed to take a Nis­san Leaf as an inter­im com­pa­ny car.

To get the full expe­ri­ence of dri­ving an elec­tric vehi­cle, he drove the Leaf on a 38-mile reg­u­lar com­mute twice a day with­out major mishap, recharg­ing the vehi­cle at no-cost at a spe­cial charg­ing point close to Tusker’s car park dur­ing the day, avail­able though Source Lon­don, the new, city-wide elec­tric vehi­cle charg­ing net­work.

When dri­ving the Leaf, he did find that he need­ed to plan longer jour­neys very care­ful­ly to ensure that, if the total jour­ney was more than 80 miles, he always had access to a recharg­ing point to ensure the car was ful­ly charged for the return leg of the jour­ney.

This was rel­a­tive­ly easy to ensure by using the mass­es of infor­ma­tion avail­able on the inter­net on the loca­tion of charg­ing points.  How­ev­er, this  didn’t help when he arrived at one NCP car park in Knights­bridge to find that access to both charg­ing points was blocked by a large 4X4 dri­ver who had ‘thought­ful­ly’ parked across both spaces ren­der­ing them use­less for any­one need­ing to use them!

Tusker has now made an even greater com­mit­ment to using EVs for its own employ­ees by adding them to the com­pa­ny car choice list and invest­ing in two dual-sock­et recharg­ing posts installed in the car park at the company’s new offices in Crox­ley Green, Hert­ford­shire.

With a £5,000 (US$8100) Gov­ern­ment grant, low recharg­ing costs and 0% Ben­e­fit-in-Kind tax­a­tion, ris­ing to 5% from 2015–16, EVs’ low run­ning costs only start to make sense against the typ­i­cal­ly high­er front-end costs if they are used on a very reg­u­lar basis, says Hosk­ing.

“There is lit­tle doubt in my mind that EVs have a use with­in a cor­po­rate envi­ron­ment. They are ide­al for the dai­ly com­mute pro­vid­ed the range is lim­it­ed to around 70 miles per jour­ney and there is access to a charg­ing point dur­ing the day,” he said.

“There is a belief in some quar­ters that EVs are only suit­able for short, occa­sion­al jour­neys but my view is that they are more rel­e­vant for short, repeat­ed jour­neys, such as the reg­u­lar com­mute to work.

“Then, the very low run­ning costs make a lot of sense against the high­er front-end costs that the EVs cur­rent­ly incur. I was run­ning the Leaf at prac­ti­cal­ly zero cost com­pared to my pre­vi­ous diesel car which cost around £60 ($US97) a week in fuel for the same jour­neys,” he said.

Hosk­ing went on: “How­ev­er, I don’t think EVs are always appro­pri­ate for a typ­i­cal field-based nation­al sales force that trav­els the coun­try, because they may not have the nec­es­sary range so you would need to make sure there were fast charg­ing points en route.

“But for a sales rep work­ing from an office in a city with only short jour­neys to see clients, and with ready access to recharg­ing, then EV use would be ide­al for them,” he said.

Hosk­ing said that EVs had seen lim­it­ed uptake in the salary sac­ri­fice sec­tor where Tusker is mar­ket-leader with over 125 live schemes in oper­a­tion.

 “I am not con­vinced that will alter mas­sive­ly in the short term — cer­tain­ly until pur­chase costs start to come down. How­ev­er, new mod­els com­ing onto the mar­ket are begin­ning to change per­cep­tions,” he said.

“Per­son­al­ly, I am now a con­vert to the unde­ni­able ben­e­fits of an elec­tric vehi­cle for my par­tic­u­lar cir­cum­stances and am cur­rent­ly look­ing at which elec­tric vehi­cle to choose as my per­ma­nent com­pa­ny car.”

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