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03 December 2014

New business helps drive use of electrical vehicles in the North West

Press Release 3rd December 2014

A new business which installs electrical vehicle charging systems has been set up with investment from The North West Fund for Micro Loans.

Franklin Energy Limited was established in November 2013 to develop an electric vehicle
charging infrastructure throughout the North West to commercial and domestic customers.

The business was set up by founder Rob Byrne, formerly a project manager and graduated from the University of Liverpool with a degree in engineering.  He was recently joined by technical director Dan Leaper a Cambridge University graduate.

Electric vehicles offer significant economic and environmental benefits over the combustion engine, and cost on average 2p per mile to run, resulting in 80% cheaper running costs. 

The shift to ultra-low emission vehicles is being supported by the government which has
pledged over £300m of funding towards the upfront costs of eligible vehicles to consumers and businesses and £30m to match fund 8 recharging infrastructure pilot projects.

Franklin Energy directors invested alongside the funding from The North West Fund for Micro Loans, which is financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Investment Bank. The investment was made by Merseyside Special Investment Fund (MSIF) which jointly manages the Micro Loan Fund with Business Finance Solutions.

Mr Byrne said:  "The government predicts that by 2017, 1 in 10 vehicles sold will be plug in models which is around 200,000.  There is a severe lack of charging infrastructure in the North West which we can rectify. 

"We have already won a contract with property developer Countryside into 89 new build
properties in Rainhill and are also working on a project with Mersey Travel to develop a rapid charging network throughout the 6 boroughs of Merseyside for electric taxis.   It will enable drivers of electric taxis to recharge their vehicles in just 20 minutes and reduce their costs as a £5 charge would equate to around 190 miles, a fraction of the cost of petrol.  Electric taxis are silent and emit no emissions, helping to reduce both noise and air pollution in the city as well as achieving sustainability targets.

"Our vision is to build a network of rapid EV charging centres throughout the North West which will become modern day petrol stations charging vehicles through renewable energy sources, instead of oil. 

We are working with local authorities, private sector and the public and are accredited by the office for low emission vehicles, allowing us to install free home charging points for the public providing certain conditions are met.

"MSIF have been very supportive over the last six months, and their investment will help
us grow and take on new contracts and staff."

Sue Chambers, investment manager at MSIF, which jointly manages The North West Fund for Micro Loans, said: "There has been a huge drive to decarbonise UK transport and the government has made funding provisions and incentives to encourage the use of electrical vehicles.

"Rob has years of experience in the engineering sector and has established a strong support team to enable the business to complete installation projects. We believe this is a fast growing marketplace and we are very pleased to be supporting the business."



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