If you’ve read any of room44’s output you’ll know that we run a diversified business model across sectors that include eBike sales and service under the www.fullycharged.com brand. Across the Fully Charged business and particularly Fully Charged Silverstone and the FC Mothership in London, we are committed to cutting carbon emissions. So, we run electric vans to deliver and collect eBikes.

In London, using a medium-sized van seems to work. Short trips, urban environment and ULEZ* costs make it a viable option.

Outside the city (or any city) – not so much.

Silverstone recently took delivery of a #Mercedes #eSprinter to move eBikes. Our rationale was that if we can move more bikes less often and also be able to carry the biggest bike we stock (an eCargo bike that simply won’t fit into a #VW Transporter), everybody wins.

So far, it has been a massive disappointment. Here’s why.

Range

Mercedes claims a maximum range of 90 miles.

After a full 7.5 hour charge we have seen a maximum of 78 possible miles that drops to 66 miles as soon as the van is turned on.

Infrastructure

It’s busted.

Attempting to drive 74 miles to collect a van full of eBikes means we would have needed to charge en-route. In theory, this isn’t a problem. In practice, it didn’t happen.

While researching the route prior to taking the trip, it was so uncertain that any of the charging points from any supplier were working, we just couldn’t take the risk – we defaulted to our diesel van. We were left feeling cheated and the benefits expected from making the investment into an eVan aren’t there yet.

The trip did give us the opportunity to stop at the possible charge locations. At the first motorway service station, of the three possible plug-ins (ignoring the unoccupied row of Tesla chargers), none were working. The poor Nissan Leaf hire car driver who was stuck there without a charging lead might still be there. The second service area had five working charging stations, but didn’t show this on their app so we couldn’t have planned to go there.

Summary

We are committed to the idea that electricity can power our vans for some of the trips we make and we’ll use them as often as possible.

But if you’re in the market for a greener delivery method, it looks as if eCargo bikes are the best, greenest, e-powered option for short trips. You just might need to find a way of joining up the dots to move stuff between towns.

That’s our current experience and as soon as the situation improves, we’ll be sure to tell you.

PS #BP Pulse

A number of companies provide charging points for cars in the UK. BP Pulse is one of them, but be warned. Trying to charge your vehicle through an app may result in standing for an hour while the helpline unsuccessfully attempts to release you from their post. If they can’t (and it happens) a helpful engineer may bring your cable to your house the next day by which time you’re somewhere else – without a cable.

Other things that have happened in month #1 of EV ownership:

  • The app ‘ICES’ and it’s necessary to call the helpline to start and end a charge – more than once.
  • The app starts charging the adjacent socket so your neighbour gets your charge but you can’t stop it and he can’t leave until the helpline eventually answers.
  • The helpline advice is to ‘get physical’ to release your cable from their post, but the front door of the unit comes off and the post is rendered ‘out of service’.
  • The helpline takes 40 minutes to answer.

It’s not just BP though. Other inadequate services and providers are available.

*To meet the ULEZ emissions standard, your vehicle must meet the required Euro emissions standard for your vehicle and emission type. For newer vehicles, the Euro emission standard may be listed in section D.2 of your V5C.

The ULEZ standards are:

  • Euro 3 for motorcycles, mopeds, motorised tricycles and quadricycles (L category)
  • Euro 4 (NOx) for petrol cars, vans, minibuses and other specialist vehicles
  • Euro 6 (NOx and PM) for diesel cars, vans and minibuses and other specialist vehicles

Lorries, vans and specialist heavy vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, and buses, minibuses and coaches weighing over 5 tonnes do not need to pay the ULEZ charge. They will need to pay the LEZ charge if they do not meet the LEZ emissions standard.”

Future thinking. Future proofing. It’s what we do.

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