Inchcape Fleet Solutions is putting itself in the vanguard of ensuring customers have comprehensive information on electric vehicles by evaluating and carrying out feasibility studies on a wide range of zero emission cars and vans. The Portsmouth-based vehicle leasing and fleet management company has just completed a trial of a Peugeot eExpert developed by Glasgow-based Allied Electric, part of the Allied Vehicles Group. The zero emission vehicle is one of only two built so far, is based on the Peugeot Expert van, and has a range of up to 70 miles on a single charge and a top speed of 70 mph.
Inchcape Fleet Solutions has already evaluated a number of other electric vehicles, including light commercial vehicles from Smith Electric Vehicles based on the Ford range, the Mitsubishi i-MIEV city car, which has just gone on sale in the UK, the MINI E and Tatas electric vehicles. The company also tested a prototype of the Nissan Leaf towards the end of April, which is due to go on sale in the UK in 2012. Production of the lower medium sector five-seat model is scheduled to start at the manufacturers Sunderland plant in 2012 when the factory will become the third Nissan facility to produce the model worldwide.
The company`s evaluation of electric vehicles, which has also included attending a number of manufacturer-hosted events, further raises its green credentials as it strives to help fleets reduce their carbon footprint. Additionally, the uptake of electric vehicles, particularly by public and private sector fleets, is viewed by the Government as crucial in the establishment of Britain as a world-leading low carbon economy.
Inchcape Fleet Solutions took delivery of the eExpert for a 24-hour evaluation on the day that Lee Hamlett, the companys head of technical risk and the man responsible for evaluating electric vehicles, attended the opening of a new 7.1 million South Winchester Park and Ride scheme in Hampshire.
Meanwhile, in a bid to encourage fleet uptake of electric cars and vans, April 6 saw the introduction of a series of tax measures, which mean:
All electric cars are exempt from company car tax for five years
All electric vans are exempt from van benefit charge for five years
There is a 100% first-year allowance provided for the purchase of electric vans
Electric vehicles are already exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty.
Terry Bartlett, managing director of Inchcape Fleet Solutions said: We anticipate that electric vehicles will play a significant part in the operation of many fleets in the future. As one of the UKs leading providers of vehicles to the public and private sectors we have a desire and an appetite to embrace new vehicle technology, and that includes electric vehicles, which is why we are gathering as much data on models as we can through our own evaluation. A number of our utility and public sector fleet clients have expressed an interest in electric vehicles and almost every tender document that we respond to asks us to advise on the fleet feasibility of electric vehicles. It is therefore vital that we have the knowledge and expertise to inform clients on the potential use of zero emission vehicles.
Inchcape Fleet Solutions leading environmentally-friendly fleet standing was given a major boost when late last year it won a prestigious Green Apple Award from The Green Organisation in recognition of its Environmental Management System (EMS), which includes a range of online tools to help fleets and drivers cut CO2 emissions. The system was further accredited with the subsequent win of an Automotive Green Apple Award earlier this month, based on environmental achievements within the fleet industry.
Additionally, all drivers receive a CO2 welcome pack containing a wide range of essential information on how to cut emissions when taking delivery of a vehicle; customer green roadshows are delivered by the companys team of trained environmental account managers; and a special eco-driving programme is part of the organisations driver training solution that delivers fuel savings and reduced vehicle wear and tear bills.
The Award came hard on the heels of Inchcape Fleet Solutions last year achieving international environmental management standard ISO 14001.