7 Nov 19

Fleet managers test drive rival EVs back-to-back

Hundreds of the most important and influential fleet decision makers in Europe seized the opportunity to compare the future of motoring at the Fleet Europe Summit.

A varied fleet of electric cars showcased zero emission technology, with a test drive programme designed to give decision makers the chance to compare the models back-to-back.

The vehicles ranged from the Jaguar i-Pace, the 2019 Car of the Year, to the Tesla Model S and Model 3, Citroen DS3 and DS7, Kia e-Niro and e-Soul, Nissan Leaf and e-NV200 van, and the Hyundai e-Kona and Ioniq electric, and the Renault Zoe.

Jur Voorthuijzen, Associate Fleet Manager & External Mobility EU, Stryker Navigation, said his company is running an EV pilot in Amsterdam with the local government, and has added the Audi eTron to the company’s fleet choice list. Emerging from a Jaguar iPace at the end of a test drive, he said: “It’s an amazing car, especially the power. I am a ‘petrol head’ and I’m very happily surprised - the car convinced me.”

At the end of his first test drive behind the wheel of a Tesla Model S, Michael Potysch from ARC Europe, said: “It’s very nice to drive a silent car with instant acceleration.” 

He added that if drivers calculate honestly the distances they drive on a  daily basis, that any range anxieties which have held back the uptake of electric cars will evaporate.

Philippe Bismut, the former CEO of Arval, forecast said fleet minds are ready to adopt electric vehicles and that if the whole sector pushes EV uptake could be considerable within 10 years. He tried the Hyundai e-Kona and described it as: “Very comfortable - I really enjoyed the silence.”

Shh... it's a DS3 E-Tense

The insulation in the DS3 E-Tense is so substantial that drivers can’t hear the warning sounds it makes to alert pedestrians to its presence.

“The acoustics make it like a cocoon inside,” said Stephane Kharat, Product Manager of the DS3 Crossback E-Tense.

The top of the range electric car has a range of 320km, and competitive TCO thanks to its low fuel cost. Substantial grants are also available to subsidise its higher list price, with the French government offering a €6,000 grant to support the zero emission car.

“In DS we didn’t want to make different cars for hybrid and electric models,” said Kharat. “So the cars have the same equipment, the same style, and they offer the same pleasure to drive. We want people to choose the model they want and then decide which power source is best suited to their usage.”

Parked next to the DS3 in the test fleet line-up was a plug-in hybrid DS7, with a zero emission range of 58km, and official WLTP emissions of 30 to 37g/km. Drivers can choose to run on electric or petrol mode, and with motors for both the front and rear wheels the DS7 is capable of running as a 4x4 under electric power.

Geotab Operate Electric

With reports emerging in some countries that company car drivers are selecting plug-in hybrids for their benefit in kind tax advantages, but then never bothering to charge them, Geotab has developed a function within its Operate Electric platform that gives fleet managers an insight into battery use - are cars being driven as much as possible on electric power, and are any running solely on petrol? The same platform can also generate reports about when and where vehicles are charging, how long they spend charging at specific charge points, and how much of a charge they receive. This technology was on display in the Tesla test drive car.

Octo driving behaviour scores

Fleet decision makers also had the chance to have their driving skills scored by Octo, an on-board black box-type system that gives instant feedback, based on incidents of harsh acceleration, braking and cornering. The technology was installed in a Renault Zoe for drivers to try.

Andrea Maticevic, Marketing Specialist, Octo, said: “The system gives a score of 0 to 10 straight away, and gives you the events that occurred that influenced your score. It also takes into account the weather, traffic conditions and offers tips to improve.”

Developed originally for the insurance industry, Octo is now expanding into the fleet and rental arenas. For a low cost solution, its Driver Companion product can operate via a smartphone, although an in-car sensor provides a more accurate result.


Authored by: Jonathan Manning