Rivervale Switching on the Electrics
We have been moving closer and closer to the world of electric vehicles and the most recent addition to our journey takes us forward a huge jump.
As a business, we knew that we needed to have several charging points installed in at Rivervale House for two main reasons. One being that as a leasing company we are seeing the demand for Electric Vehicles (EV's) increasing, and as we always encourage local customers to collect their vehicle from Rivervale House it would make sense to have a point or two so that we can make sure that our customer's vehicles are always ship-shape and ready to go. The other being that we had recently decided to re-enter the world of the franchised dealer by taking on a Maxus Commercial Vehicle franchise.
What interested us about Maxus was how they are producing a range of full electric vans commencing with the E Deliver 3 that we should start seeing on our roads from September this year. The original discussion was around us being an authorised repairer but once Neil Chapman, our Group CEO and I had visited their distribution partner in Dublin at the back end of last year, we knew that this could be a very exciting opportunity.
So, going back to the beginning, the second reason was that you can’t supply and service electric vans without having the ability to charge vehicles when they are onsite. There were several issues that we needed to understand from the outset:
What charging point partner to work with?
We met and spoke to three businesses before deciding on Virtus Energy Limited. We already knew two of the Directors who, ironically, were leasing customers of ours, although we did not know too much about the charge point business at this point.
They were so helpful from day one, James Varney is so passionate about the whole “road to zero” movement which does become quite infectious. They were able to supply and fit the “easee” charging units which for a number of reasons, just really suited what we wanted to use and offer to our customers. They also had the support and an installation partner to make sure they did exactly what they said they were going to do.
I have already mentioned that we have opted for “easee” points but why? Well in layman’s terms there are three real practical charging options:
- A charger that is best suited for home installation where your EV will effectively charge up at a slower rate overnight. Nothing wrong with that if that’s what you want.
- A “rapid” charger which is the high-power unit that you would primarily see at Motorway service centres. Whilst you are have having a coffee and a piece of carrot cake, your vehicle has been charged enough to take you onto the next leg of your journey. These are currently quite expensive to install on a site like ours.
- Then there is what we opted for which is what I would call a “fast” charger. We tested one of our charging points out just last week on a used BMW i3 that we had in stock and it took around 3 hours to charge fully, which means that if you needed a “top up” it would take about 35 minutes to give you a 20% charge. I don’t think that is too bad!
Once we had chosen the charger unit, Virtus Energy then helped us to complete the necessary grant applications. You can currently claim back £350 inc vat for every charger you have installed in the workplace for up to 40 chargers. Completing the application was a lot easier than I had expected and being fair, the government website was very simple to use.
So, having decided on the charger units themselves we then needed to work out the best place to put them. Once again, Virtus Energy were just brilliant at helping me to get this worked out. If there are any questions around both electricity supply and point location, they are more than happy to arrange a site survey, which they did. After looking at various scenarios we picked what we thought was the best option. They also spoke to us about “future proofing” which really is something all businesses need to consider.
We opted for 5 charger points and 3 more “ready to go” points which effectively means the wiring has been installed but not the charger head itself. When we are ready to activate any of the “ready to go” units, Virus Energy will simply post us the head unit, we clip it in and they activate it. How simple is that!
So, in no time at all from receiving a formal quotation in writing, the charging points are in and are active. Now, all we must do is embrace the whole electric transformation.
Comparing the costs - Electric vs Petrol/Diesel
I was recently involved in a meeting with one of our funding partners. The Sales Director was telling us about two EV’s that he had on demo. What was clear when speaking to him was than any range anxiety is disappearing now that the latest vehicles have a better range per full charge. The car he was referring to was returning him around 250 miles on a full charge, but what was really interesting was how he was able to convert the cost of charging the car into a stat that he could compare against an equivalent diesel version.
He was able to work out that it was costing him around £12 to fully charge the battery overnight and that would give him the 250 miles. To get the same 250-mile range out of his diesel car was going to cost him closer to £50! That’s a great saving!
I am sure that once people start to realise these cost savings they will not just look at the monthly rental/payment but the total cost of usership including all the maintenance and day to day running costs.
I get my first full EV next week and that’s definitely what I am keen to find out. I will update you as and when I know more.
If you're interested in finding out more about EV's and what options you can consider please request a callback at a time that suits you.
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