Manchester Metropolitan University is charging ahead with the electrisation of its fleet of vehicles. Under the guidance and stewardship of self-confessed electric car nut (at West Way we prefer car connoisseur) Jason Smith, the University has introduced a car pool scheme consisting of 5 all electric Nissan LEAF’s, 1 Nissan LEAF being used by the site security team and 4 all electric Nissan e-NV200’s being used for mail, security and reprographics. However, he admits ‘this is just the beginning’ and ‘expansions are being considered for the next financial year [August 2018]’.
When asked about starting the scheme, Jason said it was very much a ‘chicken and egg situation’ regarding which order you start. ‘Do you put the charging infrastructure in place first, or do you buy the cars first?’ This decision was answered for them by OLEV (The Office for Low Emissions Vehicles) and funding from Transport for Greater Manchester. They helped fund the construction and implementation of 18 charging stations to be situated in a new multi-storey car park.
It was after driving the LEAF through work and experiencing the pleasure of being fully electric, not to mention the cost saving benefits, that Jason started looking at getting himself his own Nissan LEAF. ‘It was a no brainer for me, I live close to the campus and with the charging infrastructure in place, there were no drawbacks’. Jason bought his new LEAF in September 2014 and drove over 35,000 over the course of 3 years. When the new LEAF was introduced Jason decided to upgrade from his old LEAF to the All-New All-Electric All-Amazing Nissan LEAF. ‘It’s ideal for me, it’s our main family car, and does everything we need and want it do. It’s got plenty of space and driving is easy and understated, there is no delay you which you experience with combustion engines, it’s all seamless…I took my family to Chester Zoo the other day which is a 90-mile trip and still had 50% charge by the end of the day.’ http://www.westwaynissan.co.uk/new-cars/nissan-leaf-2018/
It was in January 2015 the car pool scheme commenced and it proved to be a great success. Take up was high and although there were a few ‘electrosceptics’, Jason Smith’s mantra of ‘drive it, just try it’ combined with a few events where people were given the opportunity to do just this, converted even the most diehard combustion engine enthusiasts. By July 2016 the scheme purchased another 3 Nissan LEAF’s taking their fleet to a size of 5, with a split of two 24kWh LEAF’s and three 30kWh LEAF’s. ‘Once people get over the stigma and start driving it, they fall in love with it, they are keener to maximise its range, we’ve never had anyone run out of electricity either!’
February 2015 saw the replacement of an old ‘gas-guzzling’ mail van, with the e-NV200, to be used to transport mail around the campus and to the satellite campus in Crewe. This van has ‘been a huge success’ and to date has clocked up more than 43,500 miles. With an average mileage of 1,100 each month and a cost working out to be around £30 a month, this van has ‘proven to be exceptionally cost effective and reliable it easily meets and exceeds our daily needs’. To make sure the van maximises it’s range the drivers have utilised public charging points, which are in general free for use. The University decided to purchase a rapid charger for their Crewe Campus, so the drivers could charge up while the van is parked up.
Between June 2015 and July 2016 Manchester Metropolitan University underwent rapid expansion of the electric fleet. First to join was the 24kWh e-NV200 for the reprographics team, before a second van was bought to be based at the Cheshire campus for the maintenance team. July 2016 saw the introduction of e-NV200 and a 30kWh Nissan LEAF for the campus security team. ‘These replacements were imperative to us achieving our target of 75% of our fleet being electric or low emission by 2021. So far, we are at 52%. If you’re replacing a vehicle I don’t see why you wouldn’t go electric purely because of the low fuel costs, and the fact that there is very little difference in price between an e-NV200 and a diesel engine van.’ http://www.westwaynissan.co.uk/new-vans/nissan-e-nv200
With plans to increase the fleet of pool cars to 7, introducing two New Nissan LEAF’s with 40kWh batteries will definitely improve the take up even further. Combined, the pool cars have driven over 50,000 miles and saved the University over £20,000 from grey mileage, and when combined, the entire fleet have travelled more than 150,000 miles with a fuel cost of about £4,500 in total.
Jason says ‘Prices are falling and with the support of OLEV, there really is no excuse to not be driving electric.’ http://www.westwaynissan.co.uk/new-cars/nissan-leaf/deals
Well said Jason, we couldn’t agree any more.