Taking advantage of the benefits, Cornish renewable energy expert Happy Energy is in the process of converting its entire fleet of company vehicles to hybrid and has just taken delivery of Cornwall’s first Mercedes C350e, a car which could take the business community by storm.
Adrian Wright, chief executive of Happy Energy commented on the switch to hybrid: “As a business involved in energy efficiency, we have always tried to buy low emission vehicles but initially electric car ranges and technology didn’t seem to be there for what we needed in a practical level. Having investigated this again recently I was surprised to see how far things have progressed and it seemed the perfect time for us to practice what we preach and we are switching the entire fleet of 8 cars over to electric or hybrid as they come up for renewal.”
Business Cornwall Magazine’s Morveth Ward tried out the luxury plug-in hybrid Mercedes to find out what it’s like.
Late last year I spent a week with a diesel C-Class so I knew largely what to expect and as a result my expectations were very high, knowing how good the C-Class is.
I found this eco-friendly version to be surprisingly modest; to look at it comes across well-dressed but unpretentious. This, together with strong eco and CSR ticking credentials, delivers a good upstanding image which will be well received by clients and the general public alike.
It’s also very unassuming to drive and certainly a bit of a dark horse because with the electric motor and fuel engine it produces a combined maximum output of 275bhp and 442lb ft, which means that if you so require, it will push along swiftly and because the electric motor gives all its power instantly it makes the power delivery unhesitant – it will hit 60mph in less than 6 seconds! Yet this isn’t what this car is about for me – what it does is allow the car to waft along silently and effortlessly – making it beautifully refined, much more so than you’d get from a diesel. The transition between electric and hybrid is also very smooth too. There are many different modes you can use, however my preference is to set the driver mode to ‘Economy’ and the operation mode to either ‘Hybrid’ or ‘E-Mode’ to take full advantage of the systems. There is a clever haptic throttle pedal, where to a certain point you just use electric and beyond the point the petrol engine kicks in.
The Mercedes was provided for one of the new directors at Happy Energy who is based near Southampton and splits his time between there and Cornwall.
With this in mind they were looking for something that would be comfortable but also deliver on the environmental front and after looking at a number of options decided on the C350e. The beauty of a plug-in hybrid like this is that for short local journeys you can rely on just electric yet if you require a longer engine you needn’t worry about range with the petrol engine as a back-up.
Happy Energy sales director, Shaun Williams, who uses the C350e says that it is a beautiful car to drive: “It’s a fantastic car and I’m delighted with it. The transition between hybrid, electric and petrol is seamless and so far I am getting around 128 miles per gallon from the car which is fantastic. It’s a fantastically comfortable car to drive and its green performance and credentials are fantastic.”
It’s clear why Happy Energy opted for the C350e as while there are many other hybrids out there this quite uniquely allows you to indulge in luxury in a fair and uncompromising way which importantly reflects well on a business’s image.