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My electric vehicle and me 

Two members of Grosvenor’s sales team swap their cars for EVs and take to the road.

Ever wondered what it would be like to have an electric vehicle? Would you be able to live life in the same way, and fulfil your job role?

To find out, we asked Mark Richardson and Martin Rose, both willing members of the Grosvenor Leasing sales team, to swap their company cars for a Renault Zoe and a Nissan Leaf.

Martin: There’s been a huge amount of interest in Grosvenor’s 0Zone solution, which offers advice, guidance and support to help companies with vehicle fleets navigate their way smoothly towards ultra-low emission and electric vehicles.

I therefore felt it was time I took to the wheel of an electric vehicle so that I had hands on experience of what it was like to have one.

Living in Penistone, I had my reservations when collecting the car in Kettering that the 117 mile trip from Northamptonshire to Yorkshire might be its first challenge. However, I arrived at home with distance to spare and popped it on charge.

Mark: My home town is in the Lincolnshire Fens, and my EV had no problems getting me back from Kettering, where our purchasing manager, James Parnell, had handed the car to me earlier that day, showing me all of the controls and how to charge it. 

My first impressions were positive, with an automatic gearbox and Bluetooth connections which I loved. I did, however, think I’d have to plan my journeys and time better as the nearest charging point from my house was 12 miles away in Spalding.

Martin: Being in a small town in Yorkshire, many of my appointments can be a hundred or more miles away, resulting in me driving two to three hundred miles in a day, and I soon began to realise that my electric vehicle would be best suited to someone who operated more locally within a smaller radius. 

However, by using an App that pinpointed where the charging points were, I got into the habit of planning my day based on who I was going to see, whether they were near a charging point and how far the round trip was. For local meetings, the EV was perfect and, for those old enough to remember the BBC series Last of the Summer Wine, I even managed to tie in a client meeting with a tea break at the famous café in Holmfirth. However, there were occasions when I resorted to my diesel – particularly on a day when I was particularly tight for time and was travelling 238 miles.

Mark: I’d agree with Martin that my EV would be better suited 
to someone living in a city or urban area, as I live in quite a rural area, cover large distances with my job role, and definitely experienced the ‘much discussed’ range anxiety. If I lived and worked in Spalding, where there are charging points, the EV would be a great car, offering me all of the financial and environmental benefits they bring. Being objective, the car drove beautifully and smoothly, was fun to be in and comfortable. Once the charging infrastructure is more expansive, and the battery range of EVs increases, I can see a fast and dramatic shift to drivers choosing electric cars.

On the downside, I became so conscious of running out of power that I stopped using the heater and radio, however I also drove very carefully which must be a plus point!

Martin: The Meadowhall Shopping Centre in Sheffield gave me free EV charging, topping me up for 134 miles, which was 
95% of the battery. If I lived and worked in Sheffield, that would be perfect – probably keeping me going for days on end. The upshot is, the manufacturers are producing very nice cars, which are great to drive, but I can see the uptake being for people whose jobs are in densely populated areas, rather than for country folk like me!....but watch this space as the technology and infrastructure are improving very quickly!

Final verdict

Mark: I’ve got my current company car for a year or so more now. But when I’m due to replace it I will certainly look at what electric vehicles are available. It was a great experience and I can now look a customer in the eye and say, “I’ve used an EV for my job and can give you first hand advice!”

Martin: Ditto! I would also consider an EV next time round based on the driving experience. However, it’s all down to battery range, charging points and speed of charging. Once that’s in place, I can see myself joining the EV brigade!

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