New Leaf for London eco-chauffeur eConnect
A new zero-emissions eco-chauffeur company has opened for business in London. eConnect cars is using a fleet of Nissan Leaf Tekna battery-electric cars from its base in Canary Wharf.
The company is starting small – indeed, it is partnering with other private hire car companies to ensure availability if all its small fleet of Nissan Leaf EVs is in use, said managing director Alistair Clarke (pictured with one of the company’s Leafs).
“We currently have a small fleet as we look to track supply and demand in this early stage of our development,” Clarke said. “As more contracts are secured, we will look to increase the size of the fleet. Once the model has been proven in London, we will expand the company into other megacities.”
The Tekna is the top-of-the-range Leaf version, with leather seating and heated rear seats. The Tekna also features digital auto air conditioning which uses 70% less energy than standard air conditioning and LED lighting. Clarke said the car was chosen as it offered greater rear legroom than either the Renault Zoe or the Tesla Model S, and because it has the ability to use fast recharging points to minimise downtime.
The vehicles used by eConnect Cars will be reviewed when new EV models are launched. All cars leased, with plans to grow based on demand, and the cars are charged either using Source London points or a dual charge post at the eConnect Cars headquarters in Canary Wharf.
Currently eConnect Cars is taking telephone bookings, but it will shortly launch web and app-based bookings. It can provide intelligent reporting for companies seeking to deliver against corporate responsibility targets but due to variations in the carbon intensity of electricity provided by the Source London network, it does not yet have full lifecycle carbon emissions data for its vehicles - something that the company is looking to address.
The company uses the Nissan Plus Telematics system which provides information on vehicle charging and driving styles, assisting in the ongoing training of eConnect’s chauffeurs, all of whom are self-employed and rent the vehicles from the company. eConnect has teamed up with Drive Sense to ensure that all of its chauffeurs are trained to maximise their energy efficiency.