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Electric vehicles: EV network needs government help

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Martin Brown, MD of Fleet Alliance, looks at the Government's input to the EV network.

We are big supporters of alternatively-powered vehicles, be they hybrid or full electric (EVs), and fully recognise that an alternative to the internal combustion engine needs to be found for a variety of reasons – not least the reduction of greenhouse gases.

Over the years, we have relayed that message to our customers and have helped them cut an estimated 7.2 billion grams of CO2 from their fleets, through a variety of green initiatives.

More than 20% of all new cars supplied to fleet customers on our managed fleet of more than 16,000 vehicles now have CO2 emissions of sub 100gm/km, while the average stands at just 122g/km.

And we have just introduced a number of new initiatives aimed at carrying our green campaign still further. This includes adding two new Nissan Leaf models to our fleet – one for staff use and the other for clients to test and review. We’ve also provided two free-to-use electric car charging points in the car park at our offices in Glasgow Skypark, in conjunction with our landlords. And we’ve added the Lexus CT Hybrid, with CO2 of just 82g/km, to our own company car policy to encourage our staff to consider greener alternative vehicles.

So far, so good. However, in trialling our new EVs, we  have run into problems through lack of investment in the  necessary recharging infrastructure.

There are simply not enough recharging points available to make running our vehicles a straightforward and  worry-free experience. We have found on several occasions that recharging our EVs has given us cause for concern  and that ‘range anxiety’ has become something of a key issue due to the distance between recharging points.

There is little doubt there is a growing green momentum in this country. You only have to note how sales of ultra-low emission vehicles increased four-fold from 3,586 in 2013 to 14,498 last year.

So, the appetite is definitely there. What’s needed is the necessary investment to help fulfil the potential. Are you listening, Mr Cameron?

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