An airside electric vehicle option

posted on 10th March 2021
An airside electric vehicle option

Over recent months, JLC Group has offered several products and solutions to a wide range of existing and new customers, in order to support them throughout the ongoing pandemic – and it continues to develop its Saturn electric vehicle offerings

Based in Britain, JLC describes itself as a multi-disciplined engineering firm that designs, installs and maintains specialist systems for varied markets. It offers a range of personal protection screens, an occupancy control system, body temperature monitoring equipment, touch-free switches and hand sanitisers, and as such has been able to help organisations, their staff, customers and visitors protect themselves from Covid-19.

JLC not only supplies this range of services and products, it also offers reliable, affordable, fully electric vehicles to support commercial – including on-airport – operations. The company acts as the exclusive distributor of the Saturn ECO vehicles, Saturn EV Ltd having been established by JLC managing director Tony Hayes.

The range of Saturn electric vehicles (EVs) take in both lithium-powered cars and two types of van – a box van and a flatbed vehicle.

The fully electric ECO vans are highly practical and affordable (with running costs of less than 2.5 pence per mile), as well as being environmentally friendly. The City Van in particular is – says JLC’s operations director, Nathalie Hayes – ideal for commercial environments such as airports: in fact, it is perfect for any applications where short journeys are made or goods transported.

The ECO cars have a compact design, allowing them to navigate in and around confined areas. “They’re small, stylish and affordable,” says Nathalie Hayes, “and can be used in various commercial environments; much like the vans, they can be used for city living or business use.”

JLC’s ECO cars and vans can be fitted with GPS tracking that includes real-time monitoring, allowing operators to track and oversee vehicles either through an app or a web browser. If data is to be reviewed, users can play back all activity. The system also offers alerts if the vehicle exceeds a set speed limit.

The tracking system is already installed on – and in use with – JLC’s own fleet of engineering vehicles.
The vehicles are imported from China and, Nathalie Hayes confirms, production could quickly be ramped up to a few hundred a week if the demand is there.

Ongoing improvements
JLC-branded Saturn EVs used by JLC engineers can already be seen at UK gateways, particularly at London Gatwick. While the pandemic has undoubtedly hit potential spend on new vehicles on the part of airport authorities – talks with Gatwick about acquiring ECO vehicles have been put on hold for the moment as a result, for example – Nathalie Hayes is confident that when the aviation industry does recover, the benefits of the vehicles will make them an attractive option for airside operators.

The worldwide move towards more environmentally friendly transport will be a critical driver of this, she believes, as will the intrinsic benefits of the vehicle such as their affordability and flexibility.

And, despite the industry slowdown, development of the ECO vehicles continues. Small changes are constantly being made – for example, a towbar has been added to the van. Other options are also in the offing, with JLC currently looking at introducing a larger 1-tonne payload van to the portfolio (currently, both the box van and the flatbed have a capacity of half a tonne).