A dramatic shift in focus is needed to improve the uptake of electric vehicles, according to Ian Hobday, chief executive officer at GoinGreen.
According to Hobday, utility and delivery company fleets in particular offer greater growth potential than the private car market because there is less need for a charging infrastructure.
“The focus should have been on fleet from the beginning, in particular utility and delivery companies that drive shorter, regular journeys and return on site every night,” Hobday said. “They have the most to gain from implementing electric vehicles. If the focus moved, take up could be substantial.”
GoinGreen, which was started back in 2002, has sold 1,400 electric vehicles to date and offers an extensive range of niche electric mobility solutions, from bikes and scooters, to electric cars and vans.
Included in the range is the Mia, a three or four seat electric car that is available on the government plug-in car grant.
Hobday believes convincing fleets to purchase electric vehicles needs continual support from local authorities and the Government; financial initiatives play a key role coupled with being able to demonstrate the true cost of ownership.
“A plumber or electrician travelling a hundred miles a day will be better off with an electric vehicle, it makes financial sense. The great thing about electric vehicles is that they require very little SMR work, there needs to be more open thinking from fleets, they need to start thinking about the adoption of these vehicles,” said Hobday.
According to Hobday, range anxiety, one of the key challenges facing electric vehicle uptake, will disappear within the next three years as technology continues to improve.
“We would expect within three years the batteries in electric vehicles will be able to offer a comparable range to conventionally fuelled vehicles, around 400-500 miles without any trouble, couple that with fast-charging and the range anxiety disappears,” he said.
GoinGreen is looking to expand its franchise further in the UK in conjunction with support from local authorities that are actively investing in becoming greener.
The company has recently opened a new branch in Peterborough, after the local authority announced plans to support an electric vehicle infrastructure. In conjunction with Footloose, a 4x4 maintenance and service specialist, GoinGreen has trained the Peterborough Footloose engineers to be able to service and maintain the company’s range of EVs.
“We are setting up our GoinGreen franchise in Peterborough because Peterborough Council has said they are wanting to be green and have some initiatives in place to make that happen, ,” said Hobday.
While uptake in electric vehicles has been slower than expected, GoinGreen believes a renewed focus on fleet will help to drive sales and, in time, lower the purchase price.
“I think the focus needs to shift for faster success. Manufacturers haven’t enjoyed the volume they expected because they are trying to sell an expensive product without the infrastructure in place, the sector to focus on is fleet,” said Hobday.