Picture 1 - Carlos, Nigel & Nicholas

The men in charge: (l-r) Carlos Rodrigues, MD of Renault Trucks UK and Ireland; Nigel Baxter, MD of Vertellus; Nicholas Beatty, founder director at Zenobē

A ground-breaking commercial vehicle contract hire company has been launched, offering HGV operators a three-month trial of its electric vehicles.

Vertellus, which is owned by Renault Trucks dealers (60%) and Renault Trucks (40%), has a portfolio of more than 3,500 trucks and vans. Through its EV Discovery Programme - a partnership between Vertellus, Renault Trucks and charging specialist Zenobē - it aims to give customers a ‘pain-free’ alternative to a more costly and complex switch to a zero-carbon fleet.

Operators will hire the EVs from a nationwide network of more than 60 approved partner dealers and test the technology in their own day-to-day environment.

Vertellus will also provide customers with a personalised consultancy service, as well as driver training, fleet monitoring, PCN administration, replacement vehicles, tyre management and telematics.

Initially introducing 30 electric vehicles from 16 to 18 tonnes with box, curtainsider and fridge bodies, these ready-to-operate vehicles are delivered to customers with a temporary charging solution, which can be installed on-site at the vehicle base.

The offer is a three-month programme based on usage, with customers contracting a minimum of 3,000kWh per month, the equivalent to circa 40,000km per annum.

Pricing for box and curtainsider vehicles is £1.50/kWh and for refrigerator vehicles it is £1.90/kWh, with this cost including all expected standard full contract hire services.

For customers with more demanding usage requirements, Vertellus can upgrade the charging infrastructure to a DC 120kW fast-charging system that includes a 160kWh battery storage, designed to allow the double-shifting of vehicles.

Nigel Baxter, MD of Vertellus, said: “We understand that when it comes to switching to an EV contract hire fleet there is so much more for the business to think about than with a diesel vehicle, which is why we have designed the Discovery Programme to remove the complexity and hassle out of your energy transition, so operators can accelerate the process of reducing the carbon footprint of their fleets.”

Added Carlos Rodrigues, MD of Renault Trucks UK and Ireland: “In partnership with Vertellus and Zenobē we are providing customers with a ready-to-use solution. Vertellus delivers the first real BEV Equipment as a Service (EaaS), backed by more than 60 network locations and an infrastructure of highly qualified technicians."

Nicholas Beatty, founder director at Zenobē, said: “The commercial vehicle industry faces several unique challenges and, from our work supporting the electrification of around 50 fleets globally, we understand operator concerns around fleet running costs and demand exceeding local power constraints - and that these factors can deter operators from making the switch.

“However, with the correct power procurement strategy, combined with the use of Zenobē’s smart charging software, these barriers can be overcome. Through our partnership with Vertellus and the EV Discovery Programme we are committed to finding long-term solutions that are truly beneficial for the customer and the environment.”

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