EV Rally interview: Lex Autolease
Transport + Energy are the Official Digital Media Partner for this year’s EV Rally. In the lead up to the event, Editorial Director Alec Peachey is catching up with a number of the participating teams. This week, he speaks to Chris Chandler, Principal Consultant at Lex Autolease.
Q. Tell us about your team, who are they?
A. ”Team Lex Autolease will have five core drivers and guest co-drivers taking part. The core drivers are myself Chris Chandler, Principal Consultant at Lex and SME in electrification and sustainable transport, we then have Andy Barrell, Corporate Director, Andy Hill our Commercial Vehicle Specialist, Katy Wood from Lloyds Banking Group Legal, and Claire Bird from Lloyds Banking Group Sustainable Business. We will also be joined by Lloyds Banking Group Transport Managing Director Nick Williams and other drivers from industry, customers and colleagues. We wanted to provide the opportunity for as many people as possible to take part in the EV Rally including an internal competition open to all Lloyds Banking Group colleagues to win two of the places on our rally team.”
Q. What is motivating you to take part?
A. ”Sustainable transport and transitioning to zero emission vehicles is at the heart of Lloyds Banking Group. Last year we financed 1 in 10 of all electric vehicles registered in the UK. We have a critical role to play on the country’s journey to greener motoring and our focus on education will help everyone understand how the UK is transitioning to electric vehicles. Lex Autolease were the lead sponsors in last year’s GreenFleet EV Rally, which was a fantastic event that really showcased both electric vehicles and the UK’s public charging network. The great thing about the rally is its simplicity. We don’t have to quote vehicle ranges or technical specifications, we just simply and visibly demonstrate that cars, vans and this year even HGVs can travel long distances in both rural and built up areas using predominantly the public charging network. The level of social media coverage last year was phenomenal and this year we expect it to be bigger and better still.”
Q. What do you think will be the greatest challenges?
A. ”I think the large trucks will have the biggest challenge, primarily as fewer charge points will be able to accommodate vehicles of that size so they will need to be more selective where they charge. Last year we stayed in England, Scotland and Wales, this year we are traveling over to Northern Ireland and Ireland, these are unknown charging networks for us so it will be interesting to see how they measure up to the networks last year.”
Q. What differences do you anticipate in the charging infrastructure as you race across the regions?
A. ”This year, in addition to considering the availability of charge points, we will focus on factors such as cost variance, ease of use, and the information provided at the charge point. We aim to expand our considerations beyond the charging and to the overall experience and information available to the user.”
Q. What are you most looking forward to?
A. ”Definitely the collaboration and being surrounded by so many positive and innovative people and companies. The transition to electric vehicles is reliant on collaboration and working with new areas of industry to ensure the smoothest possible transition. Events like this bring together vehicle manufacturers, charge point and network builders, vehicle finance companies, energy companies, transport services companies etc, so we can collectively understand the remaining issues and develop solutions.”
Q. Why do you think it’s important to showcase fleets? Do you think this type of event can educate fleet managers on their choices for the future?
A. ”It can educate fleet managers and other stakeholders in both large and small organisations, but its online and on-road visibility also reaches drivers and the general public, both critical in the overall acceptance of electric vehicles. Seeing such a diverse group of electric vehicles carrying out this challenge helps to break down barriers and dispel myths surrounding this technology.”
About net zero
Q. Do you think that most barriers have now been overcome to allow for the widespread adoption of electric vehicles? What barriers, if any, remain?
A. ”We are certainly well on the way and the biggest challenges have been overcome, with greater vehicle choices, longer range capabilities and a growing charging infrastructure. We have changed the perception of the majority that EVs work, and the growth in new vehicle registrations demonstrate this. But we still have to keep the momentum going and ensure that the high uptake in the corporate arena continues and that the retail market begins to gather pace too. There are still some misconceptions that need addressing, and some applications of the transition that are harder to deliver against, such as high mileage car drivers without the ability to charge at home, and larger and specialist commercial vehicles.”
Q. What do you think the EV situation will look like in 2030?
A. ”I am very positive about the future, if you think mainstream manufacturers have only been producing electric cars for circa 12 years, the progress has been incredible, so the next seven should easily see us meet our electric car objectives. I think some of the larger commercial vehicles could pose a few more challenges but the progress to date has been exceptional, so I expect higher energy density batteries, the use of more common and easier to obtain battery materials, and a continuing advancement in sustainable energy generation.”
About Lex Autolease
Q. Tell us about your company’s latest innovations, vehicles and technology?
A. ”Lex Autolease have been amongst the leaders in the EV space leasing one of the first Nissan Leaf cars at the beginning of 2011, and last year 50% of all our vehicle deliveries to customers were electric (BEV and PHEV). Our own Lloyds Banking Group company car scheme has been transformed to focus on electric cars, and we work closely with vehicle manufacturers, trade bodies and industry to assist in the UK’s road to zero.”
Q. What do you see as your company’s greatest opportunity leading up to 2030?
A. ”As a business we have an ambition to be net zero by 2030 with our customers vehicle fleets, and see the whole transition to electric vehicles as a great opportunity. Our primary focus is to help all our customers to make an effective and efficient transition whilst minimising any impact on their core business activities, and in many cases providing business benefits.”
Q. What is your company’s greatest challenge leading up to 2030?
A. ”The challenge is always to stay ahead of the technology and latest methodologies to achieve our goals. One continuing issue is misinformation about electric vehicles and the climate crisis that we are facing into. Continuing to demystify electric vehicles and push for more rapid change will continue to be a challenge but one we continue to overcome with initiatives like the EV Rally – raising awareness of EVs potential, and our Sustainability Curve Policy Tool helping fleet operators to build their EV transition strategy and objectives.”
The EV Rally kicks off on 3 July in Cardiff. Participants will travel from Cardiff to Dublin, via London, Edinburgh and Belfast… all in 5 days! This has never been done, on a scale that will see around 50 all-electric motorcycles, cars, vans and trucks drive in excess of 1200 miles, carrying people, luggage and cargo.
Find out more at: https://ev-rally.co.uk
Images courtesy of Lex Autolease/Greenfleet.