Kings Secure Technologies reviews the Mercedes-Benz eVito
Reflex Vehicle Hire customer Kings Secure Technologies has a three-phase electrification strategy for its vehicles. Fleet, Warehouse and Logistics Manager Jacob Telemacque explains as he tests the Mercedes-Benz eVito
Reflex Vehicle Hire customer Kings Secure Technologies is at the forefront of innovation and uses cutting edge technology to serve customers. Fleet, Warehouse and Logistics Manager Jacob Telemacque is just as ambitious in the way he runs the fleet as he prepares for an electrified future.
He is currently preparing a three-phase electrification strategy, starting with management cars, followed by engineers’ cars and finally vans, with the first vehicles expected to arrive this year.
“I believe we will see electric cars added to the fleet in 2021; myself and Kings are very keen on reducing the fleet’s environmental impact.
I will be really happy to have our first EV, with charging points installed at our offices. It is a really exciting time, but we have to make sure the technology is right for our business, as well as good for the environment.”
Jacob recognises that cars will be the logical first step, as there are a growing number of electric-only models with significant range available, particularly for management-level cars.
There are also substantial incentives available, such as 0% benefit-in-kind tax (1% for the 2021/2022 tax year), which cuts driver costs and reduces Class 1A National Insurance Contributions.
Commercial vehicles present a more significant hurdle, as the technology needs to be adapted to cope with payloads, higher mileages and the rigours of everyday use faced by all vans.
Jacob recently put the Mercedes-Benz eVito through its paces. It was supplied for a road test by Reflex Vehicle Hire as part of our Electric Drive programme, which gives the country’s fleet operators first-hand experience of plug-in vehicles.
“I recently tested the Mercedes-Benz eVito, provided by Reflex Vehicle Hire, and I achieved 75 miles from a full charge, compared to a WLTP range of 92 miles.
Using the heater reduces range even further, as well as payloads, but some of our engineers can travel 40,000 miles a year in their diesel vans with fully laden vehicles. The industry will need a massive cultural shift to modify driving behaviour to maximise range.
There are some electric LCVs that offer 200-plus miles that I am keen to test, but in the real-world, range is typically 20% less than the official figures indicate.”
On the road, vehicles will need to rely on public charging infrastructure and Telemacque found this is an area where improvements will be needed.
“During my test, I focused on public chargers. Four out of the five chargers that I tried were out of order. The one I used barely added any mileage in half an hour, so I arrived at work with five miles of range left, and I was 30 minutes late.”
Jacob believes it may be at least 18 months before there is enough progress on range and recharging networks to make EVs viable for his entire fleet.
During the preparations for change, data will be essential to support decisions about switching to EVs. Jacob benefits from telematics technology provided with Reflex vehicles as part of our award-winning Driive with Reflex modular risk management service.
“It will help us analyse mileage and journey patterns to ensure vehicles are introduced where they can have the biggest impact and where the best charging infrastructure is.”
The government is currently pushing ahead with plans for a 2030 ban on the sale of new vehicles that rely solely on petrol or diesel engines.
It will mandate electric-only new vehicles from 2035, with a recent statement saying, “zero must mean zero for greenhouse gas tailpipe emissions from new cars and vans”.
Reflex is working alongside leading vehicle manufacturers to arrange test drives with fleet decision-makers, who can then share their insights and feedback with the industry.
Lisa Spong, Reflex Vehicle Hire Sales Director, said:
“Reflex Vehicle Hire is powering the green mile with its growing zero-emission and low-emission fleet. Drivers have already covered more than 1 million-miles in our green fleet and our Electric Drive initiative will ensure more fleet operators have a chance to experience electrified vehicles as they prepare their transport strategy for the future.”
Read more: Reflex Vehicle Hire Electric Vehicle Guide