Electric Renault Fluence ZE vehicle latest addition to greentomatocars' fleet
Electric Renault Fluence ZE vehicle latest addition to greentomatocars' fleet (Photo: greentomatocars) greentomatocars

An innovative private car hire company will be the first to offer a green alternative to fleet transport.

The London-based company, greentomatocars, will complement its existing fleet of more than 200 hybrid and bio-fuelled cars with two electric Renault Fluence ZE vehicles, offering commuters an environmentally-friendly way to travel.

The vehicle's aerodynamic design allows it to run as efficiently as possible, while its lighter mass uses less energy. Since it is electric, there is no combustion engine involved in running the vehicle, which makes it a smooth, peaceful experience to drive.

The introduction of the first zero-emissions vehicles comes as a boost to Britain's capital, as it struggles to meet air quality targets. London is currently ranked as one of the worst polluted cities in Europe, according to air quality campaigner Soot Free Cities.

Co-founder and managing director Jonny Goldstone said in 2011 the company became the first to offer environmentally-friendly alternatives to executive cars and people carriers by adding biodiesel-fuelled vehicles to its fleet.

This year it went one better by adding electric vehicles. Although the cars can only travel for a range of 115 miles at a time without recharging, Goldstone said the cars will be used strategically for specific shuttle runs and to transport people between events.

"Using the vehicles for these purposes, such as between a company's office and the nearest station at the start and end of the working day, maximises the reduction in emissions and ensures the vehicles stay well within their daily mileage limits."

Goldstone recognises electric cars have this limitation, but insists they "have to start somewhere" in making a positive contribution to the environment. If there were more electric charging points located around London, this hurdle could be overcome, he said.

"The battery technology is limited. And it will be interesting to see how much further the battery technology goes in the next five to 10 years. I'd very much like to think that, by 2020, all of our cars should be electric," he said.

Despite the challenges, Goldstone said the company is committed to having the "greenest possible fleet".

"To take on an electric vehicle is a massive commitment - you can't run them as you do a normal car and, as a revenue tool, they are less flexible than a standard car.

"We understand that there are some setbacks, but we want to show our leadership in embracing the latest technology."

Until more options become available, Goldstone said it was possible to consider other means of making clean transport more viable, such as looking at how people can change the way they travel.

Greentomatocars is working on partnering with other taxi providers to develop a mobile app that will allow commuters to share a taxi to their destination in an effort to reduce emissions and give the environmentally-conscious a more efficient way to travel.