Taking a Leaf out of economical driving
Published by Liz Reeson for Two Rivers Housing in Housing and also in Environment, Health
Handing over the keys to put the Nissan Leaf through its paces
Two Rivers Housing is taking a Leaf out of the ‘book’ of environmental responsibility and trialling the latest in electric cars.
The housing association’s office was built with electric car charging points for the benefit of staff and visitors. Now it has borrowed a Nissan Leaf from Five Acres Garage and staff are test driving it for six weeks to see if it would be a more economical and ecological solution for some of their business journeys.
Two Rivers has more than 25 vans and trucks which are mainly used by its repairs and maintenance teams. Many other staff also use their own cars for work trips and then reclaim their travel expenses. It is hoped that the electric car will prove a hit and will be introduced permanently to cut travel costs and reduce vehicle emissions.
Various initiatives have already been introduced to reduce the number of miles travelled by Two Rivers staff. These include providing task information to the repairs team electronically to PDAs to minimise the number of office visits, and encouraging other staff to work from home or an alternative base, and to schedule their visits to make best use of their journeys.
The low-cost housing association also uses local suppliers wherever possible to further cut the distances travelled in the course of delivering its business.
“We are committed to doing what we can to reduce the impact of our activities on the environment,” explained Gerry McFall, Head of New Business at Two Rivers Housing. “Our office incorporates a host of features to make us more efficient and to save resources and money where we can, and the electric charging points were an obvious addition.
“An electric car makes sense to us when we’re making short, local journeys so we’re looking forward to test driving the Nissan Leaf and, hopefully, introducing another environmentally-friendly dimension to our business.”
Kevin Alexander, Head of Contract Services, was one of the first to get behind the wheel. “We were apprehensive when the Leaf was first delivered, but it’s packed with features and drives like a regular car,” he said. “We’re looking forward to putting it through its paces and have planned for a number of our colleagues to trial the car over the next few weeks. Our concerns about its range and the time taken to charge it seem to have been dispelled, and so far we have been very impressed”.
Shaun Howells, Dealer Principle of Five Acres Garage said: “We are delighted to be associated with Two Rivers Housing and to provide a Nissan Leaf 100% electric car on an extended road test. We are so confident in this product that we believe Two Rivers will find it to be extremely economical, a joy to drive and environmentally-friendly.”