SWIFT is the pioneer company in Belgium when it comes to the incorporation of electric vehicles. In 2015 the company located in La Hulpe supplemented its fleet with 21 electric BMW i3s, representing the largest number of zero-emission vehicles brought into service that had been seen in the country.
Today SWIFT wants to go even further and is setting itself the target of making 20 to 25% of its fleet electric by the end of 2021, i.e. some 200 cars. To pull off this ambitious gamble Fleet & Mobility Manager Caroline Ceustermans has opted to form an alliance with Athlon, which becomes the company’s preferential and exclusive partner for its electric project – a project that got under way on Monday 6 May with the launch of a Mobility Week in the company and Athlon’s first delivery of electric cars to SWIFT.
“We issued a call for tenders among various suppliers, placing the emphasis on the electric solutions they could provide us with”, explains Caroline Ceustermans. “Athlon came out on top in the tender evaluation, since it offered long-term, but also short-term rental of electric vehicles. This second offer made the difference in our view, since some of our drivers have already been driving an electric vehicle for four years. Whilst awaiting delivery of their new electric car, we felt it was important for them to be able to have the use of short-term rental cars equipped with this engine type so as not to lose the hang of electric driving, but above all so as to maintain their low carbon footprint during the waiting period between handover of their previous electric vehicle and delivery of their new one.”
“Athlon is the only hire company on the market to offer short-term rental of electric vehicles”, adds Hervé Honnoré, Athlon’s Strategic Business Development Manager. “This service means that SWIFT’s drivers who have already ordered an electric vehicle will be able to use an electric model from today and right the way through to when their new car is delivered, irrespective of whether that interim period is a day, a month, six months, or whatever. What’s more, we’ll be organising training sessions twice a year aimed at SWIFT’s drivers of electric cars with a view to giving them advice about how to adapt their driving behaviour”.
At the moment 14 all-electric or hybrid vehicles have already been ordered from Athlon by SWIFT staff members under a 36-month operational leasing plan, but Caroline Ceustermans is convinced that this figure will rise: “Many of our employees are interested in this technology, but are still hesitant and have doubts and questions about ‘going electric’”.
Internal Mobility Week
They may have found answers to those questions during the Mobility Week organised by Caroline Ceustermans for her staff from 6 to 9 May. During this week employees were invited to give electric cars a test drive, but also to try out alternative mobility solutions such as the electric bike or scooter. An Athlon account executive was on hand on the 6th and 9th of May to meet the staff and answer their questions about electric vehicles.