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Demand for electrified vehicles soaring, reports Select team

Demand for electrified vehicles is soaring - and here’s everything you need to know about driving one.

The team at Select Car Leasing Kettering, Northamptonshire, have more than 40 years’ experience in the industry, leasing cars to both personal and business customers.

Sales Manager Shaun Redhead says around 20-30 percent of all the vehicle enquiries they currently receive are now for electric or hybrid cars and vans - a huge increase on 12 months ago, when that figure was around just 2-3 percent.

He reveals: 

“We’ve seen a huge increase in electric vehicles in recent months.
“That goes for both personal lease customers and businesses operating larger fleets.
“Two years ago, you’d very rarely have a conversation with a client about an EV. There was a slight reluctance to engage with, or to try to understand, the technology.
“But that has all changed. Over the last 12-18 months - and with the huge increases in the cost of fuel - people are becoming a lot more conscious about what EVs can offer, both in terms of fuel savings but also from a climate change perspective.
“The conversation about cars in Kettering, and Northamptonshire in general, has completely changed.”

Shaun says cars like the Tesla Model 3 and the Mercedes-Benz EQA crossover are particularly popular among business lease customers, where range between charges is key, while the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 5 are hitting Northamptonshire’s roads driven by personal lease customers.

Select car leasing Ketterings Sales Manager Shaun Redhead and Assistant Sales Manager Hayley Bird, reveal what they wished they knew about electrified cars before they got behind the wheel of one:

EV power is turning-on petrolheads

Hayley explains: 

“Yes, EVs appeal because you can save money on fuel while also helping to protect the planet. But performance is also a big deal. You don’t get the sound of a petrol engine with an EV, but the brake horsepower on offer in an electric car is incredible when compared to a traditionally-fuelled vehicle in the same price bracket. Power, rapid acceleration and instant torque are huge factors here.”

Don’t dismiss plug-in hybrids

Shaun himself drives a plug-in hybrid - a Volvo XC40 Recharge which combines a traditional petrol engine with an electric motor - and says it’s a system that suits him, personally, when he spends so much time in rural areas with restricted access to public charging points.

He adds: 

“While there’s serious investment into the electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the UK, there are still locations where plugging-in is more problematic. And that’s where a plug-in hybrid, or ‘PHEV’, might actually be a much more sensible choice for some drivers than a fully-electric car. I’d urge you to explore all of your electrified options.”

Tech levels on EVs are impressive


“This is something that perhaps doesn’t get spoken about as much as it should - and it certainly took me by surprise - but the ‘pre-conditioning’ offered in EVs is seriously impressive. It’s much more than just a gimmick. To have the ability to automatically programme the car to a suitable temperature before you get in it - whether it’s freezing cold outside, or boiling hot - is an absolute bonus, particularly if you’re travelling with kids and pets. For me, and a lot of other drivers, it’s a huge EV selling point.”

Electrified cars are super-intelligent


“Let’s say I’m planning a trip to the coast, which is 70 miles away. My plug-in hybrid car has an electric range of around 24 miles. But the car understands how much range is in the battery, and how much it also needs to rely on petrol. And it doesn’t just stay all-electric for the first 24 miles then switch to petrol, it uses the fuel it has available wisely. And because of that, I do 70-80 miles to the gallon, paying around a tenner, instead of the £30 I might pay with a traditional petrol vehicle. The intelligence of the electrified cars, and the ability to manage power usage on longer journeys, is welcome indeed.”

Charging is simple


“We’re lucky to have a bank of chargers fitted at work, so it costs us nothing to get home at the end of the day. At home, myself and Hayley are also fortunate that we both live in new-build homes which are ‘charge point ready’. We really welcome the recent change to building regulations that says all new homes must have access to electric vehicle charging.”

The plug-in car grant has been no great loss

The Government recently announced the end of the £1,500 grant given to motorists to help them purchase a clean, green electric car.

But Shaun says the loss of the grant has had a negligible effect on EV enquiries. He said: 

“EVs are selling on their own merit and we haven’t seen any significant drop-off in sales after the loss of the plug-in car grant. The buzz has carried-on as normal and peoples’ decision-making process has not been affected.”

Want to know more about charging? Take a look at our guide on charging an electric car.

Challenger brands

(A Polestar 3, above)

Shaun says new manufacturers to market - such as Polestar and Genesis - need to be taken seriously.

He explains: 

“The traditional big-hitters, such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, are up against serious competition in the EV market from firms like Kia and Hyundai, as well as new challenger brands. Prestige manufacturers can’t just rely on their brand name any more. Just look at MG - a British-Chinese firm offering super-affordable EVs with a decent range and that have also won lots of industry awards. We’re looking at a much more level playing field when it comes to the EV market.”

Be led on the lead times

Hayley adds: 

“Some manufacturers are better than others when it comes to delivering their cars to customers on time - and that’s really important right now when the industry is suffering from a global parts shortage. Tesla, for example, tends to be prompt with their delivery. If you’re ordering a new lease car, take note of the potential lead times.”

** Select Car Leasing Kettering operates hand-in-hand with Grosvenor Leasing.

The two groups have been working as vehicle leasing partners since 2019, with Select providing the personal leasing platform for Grosvenor, a fleet management specialist.

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Wednesday, 03/08/2022