Sarah Medlam, owner of The Dog Day Care Centre in Midlothian, is passionate about electric vehicles.
She describes her business, which employs five staff, as ‘a nursery for dogs’ with indoor and outdoor spaces for pets to relax, and a team to take them for long walks in the countryside.
An early EV adopter, Sarah bought her first electric van in 2014, as part of her service involves taking her furry clients to and from their homes. And as her business expanded, so did her EV fleet; she now owns four electric vans, and her personal car is an EV too.
“My initial motivation for buying an electric van was thinking about the planet, but it also had to be affordable and reliable,” she explained. “We use our vans five days a week to pick up and drop off the dogs, so it’s very important to have consistency – and they have been fantastic in terms of reliability. Less can go wrong in an EV, as there is no oil and fewer moving parts. They are much cheaper to run too, even with the recent rise in electricity prices.
“My staff charge their vans while they are here at work, and take them home at night, so they don’t have to worry about trying to find a charger.”
Although Sarah already has the charging infrastructure she needs for her business, she’s campaigning to make things better for others.
Sarah first became aware of FOR:EV on social media. “That’s where all the EV evangelists are,” she explained. “There’s a very engaged audience on social, talking about EVs. And FOR:EV’s business model, which doesn’t involve any outlay for single-site businesses like mine, really stuck in my head.
“I was at a Chamber of Commerce meeting recently, where the subject of EV charging came up. Everyone was talking about the prohibitive cost of installing charge points. I remembered FOR:EV, so I got in touch with them to pass on the contact details of all the organisations I had talked to at the meeting, because I thought their service could be perfect for them.
“I really do want to make things better for EV drivers in the area where I work. Currently, across most of Scotland it would be challenging for someone to buy an EV if they lived in a flat or even didn’t have a driveway.
“I live in East Lothian, which is really leading the way when it comes to public EV charging. The council has a dedicated person looking after EV charging infrastructure, and they have numerous high-quality chargers in almost every village, that do the job quickly and reliably.”
Sarah believes better public infrastructure would encourage more people to make the switch to EVs, and that organisations could learn from East Lothian’s approach.
“I have been an EV driver for nine years. Two of my EV vans, because they are a bit older, have a very small range of 50-80 miles, which is fine for what I need them for – but if you’re a tradesperson, you are going to need to top up your charge during the course of your working day. And for that, you need more public chargers.
“I understand that budgets are tight just now – that’s why I have started trying to spread the word about FOR:EV.
“They will come in and literally take the up-front cost away from you.”