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Sponsored by Ford and Warren Zenith plugs into electric cars as road trials prove a success

A LEADING fleet management company from Yorkshire is predicting a bright future for electric vehicles after local trials produced positive results.

Zenith manages 38,000 vehicles on behalf of 90 blue-chip customers across the UK.

Its employees at Calverley, near Leeds, have been trialling two Nissan Leaf models for the last three months.

Every user rated the driving experience as ‘satisfactory’ or ‘extremely satisfactory’, while 75 per cent said they were impressed with reliability.

Tim Buchan, chief executive, told the Yorkshire Post: “The next big area for our sector will be electric vehicles and the part they have to play in motoring in the UK.

“I am absolutely convinced that over the next five years we will see electric vehicles within fleets that use city cars.

“They don’t have the range to be able to travel 200-300 miles down the motorway but they do have the range to be able to operate within city centres.

“The electric car will have a key place in fleets, but I think the technology still needs to develop further. But we are absolutely embracing that.”

Zenith employees have clocked up more than 3,000 miles to date during the ongoing trial. The Nissan Leaf has a range of around 70 miles on a single charge.

“Everybody has had the opportunity to drive a vehicle. We have had a competition to show the vehicle in the most unique and furthest away place.

“We have got it right under the Humber Bridge and that lovely East Yorkshire sunset.”

The company has installed a charging point at its headquarters at Holly Park Mills. Nearly one in five – 17 per cent – said they would “definitely” consider switching one car in their household to an electric vehicle.

“For us, it’s about having the confidence to lead our sector,” said Ian Hughes, commercial director.

“There’s a significant amount of investment that manufacturers are making into this technology and our industry is looking at it slightly apprehensively, unlike ourselves who see they have a place.”

Electric vehicles might suit some customers in certain areas, while traditional diesel or petrol might be appropriate in others, he said.

Mr Hughes added: “There are many of our clients who do maintenance on these great big sites and just want to cruise about in a local environment… electric is absolutely perfect for those sorts of things.”


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