Power your vehicles with solar – it really is EV PV
Looking to make their business as sustainable as possible has always been important to Naked Solar. When it was time to expand the company fleet of vehicles to cope with increased demand, going electric was a no brainer.
Naked started their EV journey in 2018 with a 2nd hand Nissan Leaf. With a range of around 100 miles it suited our Solar Surveyors for most of their days without needing to charge up in the wild. Overnight charging on cheap rate electric means the fuel costs have been reduced to 1/6 of the car it replaced.
The success of the Leaf lead to Naked increasing the EV fleet size for the business. Naked now have 2 x EV vans for the electricians, a Nissan ENV200 and a Renault Kangoo plus a Tesla Model 3 for the surveyors and as a pool car. The vans both have ranges of around 140 miles, which suits our electricians days and avoids needing to charge during work time while the Model 3’s real life – motorway range is 280 miles. All the EVs have proved very cheap on fuel and other running costs have been minimised too.
What are the benefits?
Reduced CO2e: Of course one attraction for Naked Solar is the reduced impact on the environment from using EVs.
Running on Sunshine: The EV chargers at the office divert any excess solar energy that would’ve gone back to the grid in to the EVs, further reducing fuel costs. The chargers we use have timers set to ensure we charge up during the cheap rate night time hours and during the day any vehicles plugged in will also serve as a storage device for the excess electric generated by our Solar array, meaning carbon free fuel. Read more about charging your car from solar here: EV PV
Focused Employees: That aside, we’ve found a lot of other benefits, not just that driving EVs is much more pleasant thanks to the reduced noise, no vibrations and no need to change gear. We no longer need to pay employees to queue at pumps, wasting time filling the vans up and generating annoying fuel receipts. At the end of the day simply park at the office, plug in the vehicles and the fuel is taken care of with one electric bill for the entire premises.
Fuss free motoring: Maintenance has been vastly reduced as there’s no oil, filters, spark plugs etc to wear out. Wear and tear on brakes and tyres is also reduced in to insignificance as EVs slow down by gathering energy to recharge the battery, meaning ‘one foot’ driving is possible for the vast majority of the time.
The future of motoring: The Tesla Model 3 really does deserve an extra mention. OK, it’s green, ridiculously quick and wonderful to drive but there’s more, a lot more. Tesla really go out of their way to think about your entire motoring experience, anything the car can do it does. When you unplug the car, the car shuts the charging flap, when you get in there’s no need to start the car, take the handbrake off, all you do is move the lever to forwards or backwards and drive. When you stop, you just get out, the car will put the handbrake on and lock itself once you’ve walked away. The key is your phone, as long as you’re within Bluetooth range the car will unlock. All of those annoying beeps that so many cars have, shouting at you if you want the radio on while the door is open, if you want to leave the keys in while you go to the boot or if you want to drive a few feet without putting your seat belt on… Tesla does none of these (there is a gentle reminder if someone doesn’t have their seat belt on but it doesn’t bang on about it forever).
It’s also a relief not to have to interpret a range of badges that are meant to let you know what’s wrong with the car and that you should immediately know what to do next or know how important the message is that the car is trying to tell you. The large monitor, which is also the control panel for everything, even opening the glovebox, shows you a warning sign and provides an explanation in plane English.
The Self-Drive function that is gradually improving via software updates is a god send, taking the chore out of long journeys and traffic jams by doing the hard work for you. All you have to do is rest your hand on the wheel and the car does the rest. Future updates will also take away the need to do anything and will be able to drive you all the way to your destination.
While the Youtube, Netflix and Arcade Games may seem like a gimmick, we’ve found that they can be quite useful. Great for keeping kids entertained whilst waiting for their parents in the car and if you do need to pull over and charge, you can play a game or watch something while you wait. And Careoke certainly helps long, or even short journeys whizz by with a bit of road trip wailing.
There’s no where to charge? Firstly, any 3 pin plug can be used, although charging times would be quite long. Naked ran the Leaf for about a month on a 3 pin plug until we installed a proper charger at the office. Then there’s Zap Map. Just look at the picture to see how many public chargers there are in Cornwall alone. Some are destination chargers at pubs, restaurants and hotels so you can normally charge up over a coffee or overnight.
20% of new car sales are electric and the Governments current target of no new ICE sales after 2035 is expected to be bought forward to 2030, the writing is on the wall, and it’s saying motoring is going to get better.