Electric avenue: fleet managers test drive new EVs
Many of the most senior and influential fleet decision makers from across Europe enjoyed the opportunity to drive the very latest electric cars at the Fleet Europe Summit.
A tantalising fleet of test cars from 10 manufacturers showcased the possibilities of zero emission driving, with models to suit all budgets and range requirements.
Audi Q4 e-tron and e-tron GT
The Audi Q4 e-tron (pictured above) and e-tron GT Quattro are not simply zero emission at the tailpipe, but manufactured on a net zero basis. The cars and their batteries are produced using green electricity, and any emissions that cannot be avoided are offset by certified carbon credits – good news for corporate customers with a focus on their total carbon footprints. The Q4 35 e-tron has a 341km range; while the blisteringly fast e-tron GT has a range of up to 488 km and can top up its batteries for an extra 100km in just five minutes when plugged into an ultra fast charger.
BMW iX xDrive40
The pace of development in EV technology is clearly illustrated by the density of the high voltage battery cell in the BMW iX xDrive40, which is 40% higher than the battery in the 2020 BMW i3. The result is an SUV capable of up to 425 kilometres in between charges. Company car drivers who enjoyed BMW’s rear-wheel drive engineering will like the electric all-wheel-drive system in the BMW iX, which transmits exactly the right amount of drive torque to the front and rear wheels in all driving situations, ranging from pure rear-wheel drive through to an all-wheel-drive when road conditions demand maximum traction.
Going electric involves no compromise in driving performance, as the CUPRA Born proves. CUPRA’s first all-electric car offers drivers an e-Boost performance pack upgrade, which accelerates the 58kWh battery option from 0-100km/h in just 6.6 seconds, a fraction ahead of the 77kWh option in 7 seconds. For drivers who want the sporty styling without the scorching acceleration, there is also a 45kWh option, which still has a range of 340km. The 77kWh battery is capable of up to 540km between charges.
DS4 E-TENSE and DS9 E-TENSE
From 2024 every new DS will be an electric car, but until recharging infrastructures develop, the French manufacturer has also created stylish plug-in hybrid cars capable of about 50km in electric mode, with the flexibility of a turbocharged petrol engine for longer journeys. With tax-beating CO2 emissions as low as 30g/km, the DS4 is a crossover between a hatchback and SUV. The DS9, equipped with state-of-the-art technology and a luxurious interior, marks a return to the premium executive sector for DS.
Hyundai Ioniq 5
Any fleet manager concerned about the reliability of electric vehicles should check out the warranty on the Hyundai Ioniq 5, which comes with a five-year unlimited mileage warranty and an eight-year battery warranty. This is one of the first cars to have an 800V battery system, which means it can be charged at super fast 350 kW public chargers – it takes just 18 minutes to boost a battery from 10 to 80% at these speeds. The two battery packs (58kWh, 384km range; and 72.6kWh, 481km range) propel a car with cutting edge safety and infotainment features.
Kia EV6 GT-Line
Designed from the drawing board exclusively as an electric vehicle, the Kia EV6 boasts a range of up to 510km from its 77.4kWh battery (or 400km from the smaller and cheaper 58kWh battery option). Both should be more than enough for any company car driver’s daily requirements, but if there is a need to charge out on the road, this new Kia is capable of using ultra-fast chargers. Plugging it in for 4.5 minutes would add 100km of range, and it only takes 18 minutes to recharge the battery from 10% to 80% capacity. Plus, with Kia being a partner of the high speed IONITY network, Kia owners enjoy discounted charging fees at some of the fastest chargers in Europe.
As the first car to offer a built-in Android-powered operating system, developed in partnership betweenPolestar and Google, the Polestar 2 offers cutting edge levels of connected services for drivers. The voice-activated Google Assistant, for example, lets drivers ask for directions and the navigation system then plots the most efficient route, taking into account the level of charge in the battery and charging points along the way. Polestar, the uniquely electric car maker, brought two versions of the Polestar 2 to the Summit; the Standard Range Single Motor which has a maximum range of 435km, and the high performance Long Range Dual Motor, which has a range of 477km.
Skoda Enyaq IV
Building on the success of its petrol and diesel powered SUV range, Skoda has launched the all-electric Enyaq IV. Safety conscious fleet managers should know that the Enyaq IV achieved the top five stars and the best-ever grading for occupant protection in the European New Car Assessment Programme (EURO NCAP) tests. Company car drivers will be equally impressed by the Skoda’s 413km range from the 62kWh batteries and 537km range from the 82kWh model, with both able to rapid charge at speeds of up to 125kW, restoring batteries to 80% capacity in about 38 minutes.
Tesla Model Y
The new Tesla Model Y has been the best-selling electric car in the USA this year, comfortably out-stripping the Model 3, with which it shares the same platform. The Model Y offers a flexible SUV/hatchback design with a decent boot (maximum cargo space of 2,100 litres) or a third-row of fold-flat seats to create a seven-seater vehicle. The car is capable of 507km between charges, and can recharge for a range of up to 241 km in just 15 minutes.
Hydrogen fuel cells offer the most compelling alternative to batteries for cleaning up road transport, offering long cruising ranges with a short refueling time and generating zero emissions.Visitors to the Fleet Europe summit had the chance to get behind the wheel of the tried and tested four-door Toyota Mirai. Officially the car has a range of about 650km on a tank of hydrogen, but this summer a team in France completed 1,000+ km. With the generation of green hydrogen from renewable energy, the Mirai offers a clean, green alternative to EVs.
Powering this impressive and highly desirable fleet of electric and hybrid cars were four double chargers, installed at the Fleet Europe Summit by Vattenfall, which develops and delivers charging solutions for electric cars, buses and trucks. The company, along with its partners, has built one of Europe's largest charging networks, InCharge.