The Web Design Company little electric “Hedgehog Van”
If you are reading this page then the chances are that you have either read about our little green “Hedgehog Van” in the newspapers, or you have seen it around town, either in London or in Southend on sea where our 2 branches of The Web Design Company are located.
So how did we end up with it? Well, we decided that our company should take the lead in going green. After much discussion we started to research available forms of transport for the company that are Eco friendly and non-polluting. That isn’t as easy to find as you might imagine. Eventually we discovered the Aixam Mega Van, which is a little electric van produced in France. They are fairly pricey and the build quality is exceptionally poor, but that didn’t matter. Because the whole point was to get a vehicle that we could use, that wouldn’t harm the environment or pollute the atmosphere.
So after we had made our decision the next step was to find one, we very nearly bought the only one in the world that is fitted with a self charging solar panel. It is a fantastic little thing, built by a very nice chap called lee. However it was quite a long way for us to go to get it, and it was also just out of our price range. Although we have started to discuss the possibility of having a solar panel charging system added to ours at a later date.
Eventually we found one just down the road in London. After negotiations and a test drive we bought the van. It really does take some getting used to, for a start the range is nothing like what the manufacturer claims, we have so far done around 30 miles in it in total and it has needed to be recharged 3 times already! I have spoken with the engineer at Aixam who says that the van needs a software update and that it will make a big difference to the usability of the van. He says that it will speed up the charging times, and improve the range that the van can be used before needing to be recharged again. So it is booked in for the service and software update at midday tomorrow.
It is very much like driving a little slim milk float, (although from what I remember from when I had a go at driving a milk float this is a little slower I think) the performance seems to depend very much based on a few basic things, are you going along a flat road, or are you going uphill? ( I’ve actually managed 32 miles an hour going downhill… ) Is the battery close to being fully charged or do you only have 2 or 3 bars of power left? If the van is running low on “juice” the it will warn you with a big red “ECO” warning light that comes on. This means you have to go slower or take your foot off the accelerator until the light goes out. It doesn’t seem to come on at all when the batteries are fully charged, but if you are getting low on power, it comes on when you are pulling away, or trying to build up your speed. This can be frustrating to say the least.
So if you are sitting behind us, and we are only going at 20 or 25 miles an hour, it is because we cant go any faster. You can always over take us if you need to, but please don’t get angry with our drivers, there really is nothing they can do to go any faster.
We are having the van printed up and sign written sometime this week, so if you see it around town send us your photos of the van, we would love to see them. The van will have a QR code on it, so that you will be able to scan the code and go directly to our website to request a quote or get in contact with us.
So what is the history of our little van then? Well it was originally built for a recycling contract for the London Olympics. It had little recycling ports in the sides and was parked at the finishing line. The athletes put their empty plastic water bottles in the van to be recycled. After we had stripped out the recycling ports this is how the van looked before we did it up again.
If you approve of our little hedgehog van and our going green, then please like this page and share it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and anywhere else you like…
This is a computer mock-up of how we anticipate it will look when it comes back from the sign-writers…
This photo was kindly emailed to us by a passer by who noticed the van while it was charging up in Southend on sea near the high street. If you have snapped it around town please do send us your photos and comments….