We are now a couple of months into our serious push into electric vehicles. Under the vision of ” if we can make them work in Wales” then they will work anywhere. Well I suppose the first hurdle was a Wales size hole in the electric vehicle charging point map of the UK. The UK Government have just launched the latest push on charging points and again there is a Wales sized hole in the offer. Therefore working with the kind people at Zerocarbonworld we decided to have a go at shading the map in a little bit with our own publicly available EV charge stations. After a slow start we are now getting into our stride with systems going in all over Wales. We have a few weeks left and it should result in a good coverage of the country. But we consider this as phase 1 and phase 2 will be quite a bit more ambitious but as ever we need to do three things – planning, planning and more planning
On the vehicles front we have been learning. Renault very kindly loaned us 4 vehicles. 2 very comfortable Fluence and 2 very practical Kangoo electric vans. The initial results are coming back. The vans have gone down superbly with the two farms where they are based. They look nice and muddy which means to me they are being used. The cars have been a bit slow to kick off but I feel its more to do with the availability of charging points. The Fluence is a superb piece of engineering but is also not quite the vehicle we need. Range is probably its Achilles heel in Wales. Hills and distance have always been an issue. We are tackling car sharing, intensive video conferencing and overall “first remove the need to travel’ bit. Additionaly this week Renault have also very kindly offered the loan of one of the latest Zoe electrical cars early in the summer (quick charging and more range should keep us happy). But everybody has been impressed with the cars and vans. So much so i have been asked what the lease costs of the vans are, which to me means they are fitting in to the NT. If we could only deal with the range issue (weight of the vehicle or battery technology – but it’s coming and not that far away) in an urban environment the Fluence would be perfect) We have had a lot of requests from properties to borrow the cars as the news filters through the NT grape-vine on how good they are. The visibility of the new charging points is also helping raise awareness of what is possible.