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Clarks Vehicle Conversions have been working closely with Ford Motor Company for several years. Most recently our combined teams have been working collaboratively to develop quality and reliable Electric Vehicle (EV) equivalents of our industry leading Welfare Vans and Crew Carriers.
Following an increase of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) to the market, it can be difficult to understand if the EV option is best for your fleet. That is why when we partnered with Ford on this project, we wanted to ensure any concerns were resolved, so you could rest assured that our EV offerings would be the most viable solutions possible on the market.
“Working with Clarks is always a pleasure and the professionalism, insight and expertise they bring to a project is unmatchable. We are very proud of the end product Clarks have produced and look forward to partnering with them again on the next”
Ford of Europe Commercial Vehicle Operations & Conversion Manager
Firstly we started with the most important part - our clients. The feedback received showed that their main concerns when considering a fleet of EVs came down to battery life and power consumption with “How do the facilities impact the mileage? Being the most common question we heard… and rightly so.
We were determined to answer this question (and others) definitively, so we embarked on a journey of real-world testing in real-world scenarios as this would be the most accurate way to get the data we required and give our customers the answers they deserved.
Throughout our testing, we not only answered those questions but we found that there were even more opportunities and benefits available when introducing EV vehicles into the fleet.
In order to give your EV fleet the appropriate power, our 7 Seat Welfare and 9 Seat Crew Carrier are built on the same Ford eTransit 4250 base vehicle and are N2 Type Approved.
NB. Going forward In this case study we will look at the power impact of the Welfare Vehicle only as this contains the most auxiliary equipment of the 2 conversions.
In traditional Welfare Vehicles, a diesel heater provides the rear of the van with warmth. However this would require the vehicle to idle for a prolonged period of time while stationary. This not only increases fuel costs but also dramatically increases your carbon footprint.
However, in our EV Welfare and Crew Carrier, we heat the passenger directly rather than the vehicle. Our In-vehicle tested heated (travelling) seats provide warmth to passengers and can be controlled in the rear of the vehicle or via the driver’s control panel, meaning only the occupied seats heat up – ultimately saving power i.e. battery and therefore range. In addition to this, and unlike a standard Welfare Vehicle, the van panels are insulated to help retain heat on those cold days but also keep it cool in the summer, making sure the van is as comfortable as possible.
To continue the low carbon footprint ethos of these conversions, we have also partnered with Legend Fleet Solutions who provide environmentally friendly and truly sustainable interior lining & bulkhead solutions. Working with the team to ensure we have the best solutions in place has been extremely rewarding.
“When Clarks described what they were planning, we were very impressed and excited by the lengths they were going to in order to provide a vehicle build that was environmentally sound! It married perfectly with our mantra of strong-yet-light materials for vehicles, and the fact they had already researched our product in advance showed how dedicated they were”
Head of Legend Fleet Solutions UK & Europe Business Development
Not only does an EV fleet offer benefits related to carbon footprint reduction and running costs (read our Benefits of an EV Fleet blog) there are also technology benefits that make life easier too:
One of the main draws of a modern EV is the technology, connectivity and functionality it offers from any location that has internet access via a smart device. This was something that we were very keen to develop upon and offer to our clients and the end user without the need for a separate “Clarks” app.
Our highly experienced electrical team utilised the existing Ford Pass App to work with the Clarks Vehicle Conversion auxiliary equipment and allow the app user to control the welfare functions of the vehicle. The app can also allow fleet managers to monitor the fleet from one central location if required.
As well as on the app, the onboard driver control system provides up to date information about the running power levels, as well as being able to control lights, alerts, and driver controls, all of which can be monitored with the touch of a button.
The EV uses the vehicle’s power (traction battery) to run a 12v system within the vehicle, ensuring phone, laptop & tablet charging is also taken care of. This eliminates the need for an auxiliary battery, helping with weight, reliability, and costly replacements. It also eliminates the requirement for an extra power source such as solar panels.
Throughout our testing, we also confirmed that a remote/scheduled “pre-conditioning” of the auxiliary equipment and heating in the vehicle (via the app) whilst charging, prevents a large amount of power being used at the start of the working day.
It also helps the vehicle maintain its charge and prolong the life of the vehicle cells.
In order to demonstrate the power consumption of auxiliary equipment and how their power usage would impact your mileage, we have compiled a daily total usage scenario below.
From our real-world testing we have calculated that the above equipment usage draws 3.16kW of power directly from the vehicle batteries which has a total power of 68kW. This is equivalent to the reduction of just 4.43 miles in range throughout the day.
Reading through the real-world testing, you can see for yourself that the welfare conversion facilities hardly impact the mileage/range of the vehicle with a reduction of just 4.43 miles. Proving that an EV Vehicle is absolutely a viable option for your fleet.
The welfare conversion facilities hardly impact the mileage/range of the vehicle with a reduction of just 4.43 miles
Whilst working with Ford One Stop Shop, and the recent development of the EV vehicle conversions, our partnership has grown. We are pleased to have been given the opportunity to work with Ford on such a revolutionary EV conversion concept which offers state of the art technology and delivers a reliable solution to the EV market.
For more information on how to get the most out of your EV see our EV Hints, Tips & FAQ blog.