ROBERT Sharpe is a businessman on a mission – to dispel myths and misconceptions about electric cars.
Among the barriers discouraging people from considering buying into electric vehicles are thoughts that they are slow and can only travel short distances before they require a recharge.
Not so, said Robert, who is able to plug in his car overnight at home and do a 75-mile round trip the next day.
“Recently, the Nemesis Project set a new UK road going land speed record for an electric car of over 150mph. There is definitely a growing interest in electric vehicles,” said Robert, who drives a Nissan Leaf, which can easily hit 70mph on Basingstoke’s ring road.
The only difference between his Nissan Leaf and a petrol driven car is the lack of reviving engine noise and vibration – it seemingly glides to 70mph effortlessly.
Robert runs Evergreen Consulting, which he set up from his Basingstoke home, after he left Motorola three years ago, where he was a technical manager.
“It was an opportunity to set up my own business and to help people make the most of electric vehicles.”
There is no denying Robert’s passion for electric cars – but it wasn’t always that way.
“When I started to go green, I was driving a red sports car that did 25mpg,” he recalled.
He then got a Toyota Prius, which is a hybrid electric mid-size hatchback.
“I was having so much fun with the Prius, trying to get as many miles per gallon, as I could that I got hooked. And I thought, ‘why didn’t I do this before?’.”
Robert, who for some time chauffeured green champion and borough mayor Councillor Martin Biermann, firmly believes electric cars are a convenient, low cost and sustainable form of transport.
“Most major manufacturers, including some of the biggest luxury brands, are now marketing electric-powered models in their range, and you can see that electric vehicles are increasingly becoming a viable, carbon free, proposition for modern motoring.
“Purely in economic terms, electric vehicles make sense mainly due to the massive fuel savings and minimum servicing costs.
“With an actual equivalent fuel cost of up to 350mpg, companies using electric vehicles can save thousands of pounds per year.”
Robert concedes that the initial price of an electric car may seem high, but that this is being reduced by a Government grant aimed at encouraging people to switch to electric vehicles. But there are alternatives to buying a car outright.
“Leasing provides an excellent proposition as the savings in fuel costs reduce the monthly lease charges,” said Robert.
“As fuel costs spiral upwards and better technology and production brings prices down, the economic case for electric vehicles is only going to get better and better.”
Evergreen Consulting offers advice, support and training programmes to business and individuals on how to make the transition to electric vehicles – and Robert hopes that more people will plug in to his expertise.