Unless you’re an engineer or possess a naturally curious mind, you probably haven’t dedicated much brain capacity into the pervasive nature of hydraulic systems. They’re used everywhere, from aerospace to agriculture, and in everything, from the opening of a heavy door to a crane lifting pallets.
For a company that specialises in all things hydraulic hoses, that means requiring a large, multiskilled workforce and a nationwide footprint to facilitate a rapid response for installations, servicing and repairs across myriad industries.
Over the last 30 years, Pirtek has grown to become the UK’s biggest network of hydraulic hose specialists, with 500 employees, 86 service centres and more than 350 mobile units - think of these as service centres on wheels.
Helping ensure the company wheels keep turning is Adam Flint, an award-winning National Operations Manager, tasked with managing the decarbonisation of Pirtek’s nationwide vehicle fleet alongside the practical realities of maintaining the company’s exceptional customer service record. On average, 95% of all Pirtek callouts are attended within one hour and the company boasts a 97% first-time fix rate.
Rather than profligately tying up capital into depreciating assets, Adam has leased Pirtek UK’s company vehicles for the last four years and, historically, turned to hybrid vehicles as a way of quickly decarbonising the fleet without any radical behaviour change.
“Hybrids have been a great stepping stone technology for our company,” explains Adam. “Now, however, we’re seeing a rapid improvement in EV charging infrastructure from companies like GRIDSERVE, not to mention a variety of fully electric vehicles that can easily manage 200 miles on a single charge. It means we can now confidently make the switch to fully electric vehicles and reduce our company emissions further.”
Indeed, Adam is one of the first employees to make that switch, swapping his plug-in BMW 3 Series for the latest Polestar 2. This is one of seven fully electric vehicles that Pirtek UK has leased via GRIDSERVE within four months, in order to develop a business case to help facilitate a much broader shift. While electrifying the vehicle fleet is part of Pirtek’s operational commitments to carbon reduction, Adam must ensure the process is done in a manner that is sympathetic to all.
“The first seven electric cars we’ve leased through GRIDSERVE have gone to field-based employees who work in different departments including business development, operations and training,” explains Adam. “This is going to provide a great feedback sample from which to build on. From my own experience, the transition to fully electric has been very positive and seamless - any concept of range anxiety is long gone.” That’s reassuring news from somebody who has already driven 9,500 miles this year, particularly as the nationwide expansion of the GRIDSERVE Electric Highway continues at pace.
How does GRIDSERVE help companies like Pirtek switch to electric?
GRIDSERVE Car Leasing prides itself on taking a consultative approach, as it acknowledges that every business and its business needs will be different. After being let down by lengthening manufacturer lead times, Adam approached GRIDSERVE directly with some specific vehicle requirements regarding range, charging speeds, depot charging and delivery timelines. That’s where one of our dedicated account managers stepped in.
“We often find that businesses want to tread carefully into electric,” explains Jason Layne, Business Development Manager at GRIDSERVE. “Starting small, understanding your car parc data and identifying those employees that could potentially switch first is a great way to generate positive experiences and normalise the technology. Adam’s prudent approach is respectful to Pirtek UK and we’re happy to help him demonstrate the business value of electrifying the vehicle fleet. If your fleet objectives in 2023 are to reduce costs and reduce emissions, then EVs are the only way to go.”
Of course, while the on-paper lease price between a hybrid car and a fully electric vehicle may not be dramatically different, the additional cost savings to both company - via National Insurance (NI) contributions - and employees - via Benefit-In-Kind (BIK) company car tax - are significant, as are the softer metrics around employee satisfaction and brand perception.
“Of course, this isn’t just about transport,” continues Adam. “We need to know where the power to charge our electric cars is coming from and GRIDSERVE’s commitment to exclusively using sustainable energy throughout its chargers is a big incentive for us.”
Vehicle recommendations for Pirtek UK:
Pirtek UK wanted a broad mix of electric car models to demonstrate different attributes to different stakeholders, including technology, range, sustainability and premium badges. The excitement of new brand Polestar appealed as much for its crisply styled models as its commitment to sustainably sourced materials, used in everything from the battery composition to the cabin. Adopting Android infotainment software also means a huge potential for Over The Air (OTA) updates, so your screen will keep getting better over time.
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Tesla Model Y
The Model Y is the UK’s best-selling electric car and for good reason. The brand has a fanatical following and what it may lack in history, it makes up for with some of the best technology and battery performance of any model out there. If you need to cover a mile or 70 of motorway, the Long Range Model Y is one of the best choices.
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Of course, the biggest challenge is yet to come when Pirtek begins to convert its 350-strong van fleet to electric. These vehicles are effectively Pirtek service centres on wheels with racking and lots of electrical equipment, so payload and range will be high priorities. The Ford e-Transit is the nicest panel van we have ever driven and boasts a 1758kg payload, official 196-mile range and 115kW charging, meaning a 15-80% recharge in around 30 minutes. The van even lets you power your own tools.
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The EV revolution is here. Is your business ready?
When you want to decarbonise your business fleet, speak to GRIDSERVE Car Leasing and we’ll help build a tailored EV strategy around your needs. We provide a turnkey solution involving a personalised consultation, test drive programme, plus the supply and delivery of electric vehicles with home and depot-based EV charging solutions. We’ll also take care of your diagnostic and payment needs to improve efficiency.
Why work with GRIDSERVE?
1. Unrivalled electric vehicle leasing and company car experience
2. EV charging infrastructure specialists
3. Dedicated account manager and 24/7 UK customer care support
4. Pioneers of sustainable energy development