Our weekend with an electric minibus
As a business we are very aware of the need to do everything we can in reducing our carbon footprint, and after a reading all of the ‘marketing’ material on electric vehicles, this weekend we decided to test drive an electric minibus.
Our perception was that we would have a gloroius weekend ferrying our staff to 5 different event locations…….Little did we know the fun and games that would ensue!
ENV200 7 seater
The Nissan E- NV200 was a fantastic vehicle – well equiped, spacious, and a very simple charging process. A really good drive that transported our staff to varying points around Oxfordshire.
Our weekend of events started off on Friday evening going to Hook Norton, then Saturday to Oxford, Henley, and Gaydon, and finishing on Sunday in Henley again, which involved private parties, weddings and a jousting event!
We had planned the milege out meticulously based on range of the vehicle, and had a good ‘pitstop’ stratergy each day to facilitate charging.
What could possibly go wrong?
Now again, reading the ‘marketing’ material of charging we thought this was going to be a very simple process…..how wrong could we have been!
The nuances of charging are wide and varied:
a) from the having to have an online app account to use a charge point
b) not being able to just pay on debit card for charging
c) and the varying power outputs of the points – 7, 11, 22, 50, 100KW optoions.
One really does have to do a great amount of homework before setting out of the office door.
1. You need to know exactly where points are (dont follow the app details they arent very clever) and you can access the points (one of the charging points we arrived off was closed off by a gate – 24 hour access I dont think so!)
2. You need to know the power output of the charging points (forget anything less than 22KW! ….it took us 2 hours in the middle of nowhere to charge the vehicle for just 34 miles on a 7KW charge point)
3. You need to plan you trip with plus on minus tolerances of 20 miles.
Motorway driving / radio / lights / passengers
The brochures of eVehicles talk about the fantatsic range of vehicles (ignore this information comepletely) the variables of driving have an enormous effect on the range of the vehicles.
- Motorway driving will reduce the range,
- having a full payload will reduce the range,
- having the heater and lights on will reduce the range,
#but on a positive note if you drive downhill at any point of your journey you do get a regeneration boost from the vehicle to your range…result.
We loved the minibus
Let us be crystal clear we absolutley loved the Nissan, but what we hated (and it was a very steep learning curve) the ecosystem infrastructure surrounding charging. More detail is required before we fully commit to investing into a minibus.
There is a lot of ‘marketing hype’ around the use of electric vehicles, but we think there needs to be more clarity as the ‘reality of electric transportation’ as it could be a very expensive mistake to dive in to purchasing without having a full picture.
The weekend was stressful at times, the charging was an educational (and having to pay for taxis to get staff home when we couldnt get the vehicle charged defated the object at one point), but overall we will be moving forward with an electric transportation system….once we have done some more homework!
In the mewantime if you need to book staff for your next event email: firstname.lastname@example.org