EM: How did you gain experience in EV?
NH: Pretty straightforward – at Harper’s our management all drive Electric Vehicles. This let us tick a box as early adopters from an environmental stance, whilst importantly gaining experience first hand as users. Understanding our products has always given staff at Harpers an edge. Most of our team have come off the tools in one form or other, so our technical advice is right up there with the best.
EM: The EV charger market is pretty crowded right now – what sets Harper’s apart?
NH: Product knowledge. Selling a charge point is a part number to many, just another commodity and there are already many types with different flavours to choose from. The trick is understanding and advising what’s best for the client. If you get this right, you maximise your EV energy savings versus fossil fuel. Your time, available charging period / tariff and capacity of delivery are important factors in maximising the convenience and the economy of driving electric vehicles. Having the right charging options available at a premises will make for a happy customer. Because we have such a wide range of power ratings available within Gewiss, and with our product knowledge, we can tailor the best EV solution for a wide range of applications.
EM: You’ve settled on Gewiss as your EV product offering. What’s the reason for this?
NH: Quite a few reasons. Gewiss has a wide range of affordable EV products and have a legacy of getting it right. The company recently celebrated 50 years in the manufacture of electrical equipment for industrial and commercial applications. The Gewiss brand is well known within the trade and there are many stockists of their products throughout the country. This means their client base are familiar with the name, making it an easier decision when choosing what is a relatively new concept of home or business charging points.
Gewiss have an extensive range commencing at their entry level I-Con product, a 7kW single phase unit. through to 22kW three-phase wall or pole-mounted version – tethered or pluggable. This I-Con product represents one of the best for value and quality on the market and particularly the commercial 22kW three-phase outlet type.
Moving up to the I-Con Premium, Gewiss introduce smart features with ethernet connection and OCPP compliance for revenue collection at a very competitive price. This versatile device can operate as Auto-start, RFID, or as a Smart Timer for off-peak charging. The I-Con Premium can be offered with a very competitive software package installed by their UK partners. This allows for the handling, management and automatic allocation of revenue when the customer is paying per kWh of energy to recharge their vehicle.
At the top of the product range, Gewiss have the I-On wall and pillar charging outlets which cover all options i.e. 4G/Ethernet, RFID, Auto-start and Pay-per-kWh charging. These I-On variants are rugged, versatile, auto-start, upgradeable from from non-fee to fee-based charging, represents the best value versus quality product on the market and is the lowest cost 22kW, 3Ph solution out there, tethered or untethered.
Importantly, the smart-enabled models all allow basic operation to begin with, but then can be re-configured to pay-per kWh at any time in the future. And, of course, Harpers can organise that part of it for you, even retrospectively after purchase.
EM: Just generally on Electric Vehicles, it’s widely accepted that they won’t reach cost-parity with the equivalent internal combustion engine vehicle until 2026. Is it a good time to make the change, or is it too early?
NH: Although we made the jump partly for eco reasons and to gain first-hand product experience, there are also some convincing economic arguments. Yes, the car’s ticket price is significantly higher, but 1% benefit-in-kind for electric versus 18% (and rising) for the equivalent diesel, gives our staff a considerable reduction in benefit in kind taxation.
This is effectively a win-win for company and employee. For anyone considering it, the argument is a no-brainer. Coupled to the serene driving experience, there are many additional electronic features incorporated now that add to the concept of going electric, such as the cabin environment and information systems. There is no doubt company EVs will lead the way. However for the private EV owner on off-peak tariff, the fuel bill will be approximately a quarter of that of an internal combustion engine vehicle. So it still represents a great option for private owners. And of course, you can’t put a price tag on a planet!
For more information on EV chargers and the Gewiss range, drop in to the EJ Harpers store or call: +44(0)28 9079 2155.