Three months ago, we began the trial of two electric vehicles in the hope to move all our cars to a fully electric fleet over the coming years.
Two of our Optometrists have been driving the new Volkswagen ID.3 1st Edition's to see if they are suitable for the company.
We speak to Optometrist Emily* and our Director of Professional Services, Nick Wingate, who has been in the driving seats, testing them out.
*some names have been changed for anonymity.
Hi guys, thank you for helping us out by driving the electric vehicles. What are they like to drive?
N: The ID3 is lovely to drive, very comfortable and quiet. It's very spacious, and the driving position is excellent too.
E: I find it much easier to drive with the driver aids it has like the reversing camera and proximity sensors at the front and back.
What are your favourite features of the car?
E: I love using the app to defrost my car and warm it up before I get in. The heated seats and steering wheel are great to warm my back and hands. The satnav is also easy to use - it is more intuitive than my previous vehicle. The headlights are brighter, and the audio system is much better too.
N: I like the simplicity of driving it - there are two gears, forward and backwards. I also really like the regeneration mode, where you can use the energy recovery system to slow the car without using the brakes. I have driven from my house to the office, a whole 90 miles without touching the brake pedal using the regenerative mode and cruise control.
Does the ID.3 make life easier for you in any way?
N: In lots of ways! It's just easy to live with, easy to drive and has excellent features. I love charging up overnight, so I'm ready to go the next day- no need to go to a petrol station ever again.
E: Yes, it's nice not to worry about making a stop at the petrol station, and I also find it convenient to charge the car at home.
How does the car fit around your lifestyle when you are not using it for work?
E: It's excellent, there are Isofix in the car, so I can have two car seats in the back to have my children in the car with me.
How long does it take to charge the car?
N: A full charge takes around eight hours, but I've never run it down to nothing; I usually have about 10% battery left, and my longest journey has been 115 miles.
E: It takes me approximately two and a half hours to charge to 80% om a 7kw charger and have never run out. I charge it every night after my workday.
Would you say that the ID.3 is suitable for your work purposes?
E: Definitely! The kit fits neatly in the boot; it's automatic, easy to drive and a great tax saving.
N: I agree. I believe it would be suitable for colleagues who have a V40 currently and the larger ID4 for those with a V60. Looking at most of our colleagues' mileage, they would complete a clinic day on one charge, so there would be an excellent saving for the staff on tax and the business on fuel costs. A minimal number of colleagues wouldn't find it suitable, but then a hybrid vehicle could be an option for them instead.
Based on reports, the trial, and our employee's needs, we aim to get all our vehicles moved over to electric vehicles over the coming years. Where an electric car might not be appropriate, we will consider a hybrid.
The need for the right vehicle is paramount as it is essential for the job, and without it, we wouldn't be able to offer the invaluable service we do to our patients. As the company continues to grow in 2021, we want to ensure that we make the best decision forward, not only for our employees but also for our patients' needs.