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Robinsons Take The First Step To A Green Fleet

Robinsons Facilities Services have taken the first step on the road to having a fleet of electric vehicles (EV), and are about to undertake a trial with Leeds City Council as part of an exciting new EV scheme.

Our vans are the lifeblood of our organisation, enabling our engineers to react quickly and be flexible in how our service and maintenance programmes keep you operating 24/7. As a result, fleet is a big part of our operating costs and we put a lot of work into making our operations more efficient and reducing costs such as journey times and fuel usage.

The benefits of electric vehicles

For a number of years we have kept an eye on the EV market with a view to making the switch from traditional fuel vehicles, but we know it requires careful analysis and strategic thinking. But a new scheme launched by Leeds City Council to encourage the use of EVs, has arrived to provide the perfect opportunity to see if EVs work for us.

Leeds City Council are allowing electric private hire vehicles, or in our case, vans to be hired free of charge for two months, to allow performance and operations to be tracked and analysed as an accurate trial of the benefits of EVs.

There is no doubt that EVs can save money for an organisation, and the environment, through:

  • Lower fuel costs per mile compared to traditional fuels such as petrol or diesel
  • Lower maintenance costs due to fewer moving parts, no expensive exhaust systems, starter motors, fuel injection systems and radiators
  • Less pollution because no exhaust emissions mean you are not putting any harmful CO2 emissions into the atmosphere
  • Better safety because there is a lower risk of fire or explosion. Also, a lower centre of gravity provided by the battery, offers better steering control and reduces the possibility of rolling the car on sharp bends
  • Tax benefits because businesses can make significant VAT savings by running an EV fleet.

However, EVs are not automatically suitable for every organisation, because of the nature of the work you undertake or the kind of journeys and mileage you make. Therefore, the first stage of the Leeds City Council trial is to fit a sample van from the organisation’s current fleet with a small telematics device. This is a plug-in device that is fitted for one month to analyse:

  • The length of individual journeys made
  • Daily mileage undertaken

It’s also important to note that the cost of EV vehicles is still high but as they’re now more widely available then it is becoming much more financially viable, plus with better EV van models on the market now, it is an attractive proposition for the team here at Robinsons Facilities Services.

How the EV loan scheme works

These figures will advise Leeds City Council whether EVs, in principle, will benefit Robinsons Facilities Services, and on the back of this will recommend whether we are eligible for a free two-month trial of an EV within our fleet. A full two-month trial will enable us to carry out a full analysis of how the EV performance compares to our normal fleet.

We are about to receive the telematics trial device and to start our one-month trial. We are hoping the trial will highlight some potential cost savings and allow us to move onto the next stage, where either a Renault Kangoo (100% electric and capable of between 75-120 miles on a full charge) or a Nissan E-NV200 (100% electric, capable of rapid charging and with 124-187 miles from a full charge) will be loaned to us for a two month trial. At the end of that Leeds City Council will provide us with a full report on EV suitability for our organisation, and what emissions and cost savings can be achieved by making the switch.

We are hopeful that the trial will work for us! Being a Yorkshire business, our journey times are typically shorter so we can respond quicker to HVAC emergencies, so we hope that we can work with the ranges without the need for regular charging throughout the day.

Our environmental credentials are evident throughout the business, but we are very keen to add EVs to our overall Green message, and with Leeds City Council’s help via this fantastic new scheme, we hope to report more carbon and cost savings soon.

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