NORFOLK COMPANY ENJOYS GROWING NATIONAL REPUTATION FOR PROVIDING ELECTRIC UTILITY VEHICLES TO AGRICULTURAL SECTOR
A Norfolk company which pioneered electric utility vehicles in the event management sector has begun to build a national reputation for providing the vehicles to the agricultural industry.
Electric Wheels, based in Little Cressingham, was the first company in the UK to offer all-terrain electric utility motorbikes and utility buggies for long- and short-term hire to the event management, estate management and recreation sectors.
With the Covid-19 crisis wiping out the events market for the foreseeable future, the company is now finding new markets in farming – supplying vehicles as far afield as Cornwall and Barrow-in-Furness.
The company was launched early last year by Chris Hurdle, who runs a successful event management business. He started the business with a hire fleet of 25 electric 2x2 work bikes, and has since expanded the offering to include zero-emission buggies and a 14-seater E-Bus.
Although the initial focus was on the events management sector, the vehicles are enjoying a growing reputation in the agricultural industry, with farmers, agronomists and even agricultural drone-surveyors taking advantage of their robust functionality and their zero-emissions environmental credentials.
“Up until now, the options for low and zero emissions utility vehicles in the agricultural sector have been very limited,” said Mr Hurdle. “As the events sector has taken a big hit as a result of the coronavirus crisis, we started to seek out new markets – and have found we are knocking at an open door in the farming industry.
“It is clear that farmers and those supporting agriculture are ready to take a more environmentally-friendly approach to utility vehicles, as traditional diesel-powered work vehicles start to fall out of favour. Electric vehicles are practically silent, have zero emissions, and are more versatile than their diesel-powered counterparts.”
The electric work bikes and buggies are available for long- and short-term hire, as well as for purchase. Full details on the whole range of electric utility vehicles available from Electric Wheels can be found at www.electricwheelshire.co.uk.
Case Study: Keith Mount Liming
Bury St Edmunds-based agronomists Keith Mount Liming is one of the agricultural businesses which are switching from traditional quad bikes to the electric work bikes, for use during in-field soil sampling.
“Traditionally we have used quad bikes for field work, but at certain times of the year they are not always suitable, either because they don’t fit in the tramlines, or else because their weight would damage the crops,” said Andrew Mount, managing director of Keith Mount Liming. “We can ride the electric bikes down the tractor wheelings, giving us great access without harming the crops themselves.
“Electric Wheels have adapted the bikes and fitted carriers for our testing equipment and test tubes, which means we don’t even need to get off the bike to conduct the tests.
“In situations where quad bikes are unsuitable, our only option up until now has been to conduct the testing on foot, which limits how much ground we can cover in a day.
“The bikes are incredibly quiet, so you can talk while riding along, and because they will go for more than two days on a single charge, you are not constantly filling up the fuel tank, as you would a quad bike. Our customers really like the fact that we are using such an environmentally-friendly vehicle.
“We have used petrol-powered two-wheeled motorbikes in the past, but they are heavy and difficult to keep running. We have been pleasantly surprised just how robust, comfortable and versatile the electric bikes are.”