Electric vehicles have accelerated into the forefront of the sustainable energy space but, despite their soaring popularity, there is a lingering scepticism about their ability to deliver over long distances.

The evidence to the contrary, however, is quite compelling.

Before attending the annual SEAI Energy Show, which was held at the RDS in March, Paul Fitzgerald shared those misgivings, but a little bit of luck helped him see the light (pardon the pun).

Hosted by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, The Energy Show is attended by Europe and Ireland’s premier providers of energy-efficient/renewable energy services and products to the B2B sector.

Europcar at the SEAI Energy Show

With electric vehicles now accounting for a growing portion of our commercial fleet, the Europcar team were among the many businesses to set up shop at the event.

It is all well and good claiming that EVs are a reliable, cost-effective mode of business travel, but sometimes more is required to relieve people of their misgivings. And so, Europcar ran a competition for a free week-long rental of a Hyundai Kona.

Paul Fitzgerald was the fortunate winner and, much to his pleasant surprise, he soon realised that the Kona, and electric vehicles in general, are much more than an eco-friendly novelty.

Lucky

“I was lucky enough to be pulled out of the hat for what turned out to be a remarkable experience,” he said.

“Europcar were very professional, working with me to find dates that worked, then delivering the car and taking the time to provide much-welcomed instruction.

“I saw environmental responsibility as the main advantage of EV’s but did have reservations as to their performance and range. The Kona quickly changed my understanding of EV’s. The car was very comfortable, very easy to drive and was very well kitted out with all modern features.”

The Kona is an award-winning subcompact crossover SUV, ideal for navigating almost any environment, with sufficient room for passengers and cargo.

It is one of three EV models Europcar Business Fleet Services offer as part of our Alternative 2 Leasing service – the Nissan LEAF  and Renault Zoe are also available from our 22 nationwide locations.

Kona Electric Vehicle

The Hyundai Kona

Paul Fitzgerald gave the Kona a thorough examination over the seven days, and the 2019 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year was not found wanting.

Eco Mode

Europcar’s Joe Quirke with Paul Fitzgerald

“Range was not a concern with a displayed range of 400km at full charge and from my recent experience it is possible to exceed this with careful driving and making best use of the regeneration feature,” he explained.

“While it is possible to charge the car at home via three-pin plug, having a faster home charger would be a game changer, reducing the need to use charge facilities except for the longest journeys.

“The Kona has three driving modes (Eco, Comfort & Sport) and has significant power in all modes. I drove most of the time in Eco mode, in which the car easily outperformed my 1.7-litre diesel. With the exception of the boot space being smaller than what I’m used to, it is difficult to find negatives with the Kona.”

Paul believes anyone considering making the switch to an electric vehicle should first trial one, though he was not the only member of the Fitzgerald clan to be swayed by the Kona.

“Having the use of an EV for a week is an excellent way of trying before buying and I would highly recommend it. The only drawback was how disappointed my eight-year-old son was when we had to give the car back. All in all, though, this was a very enjoyable experience.”