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18 December 2019

The housing corporation Servatius explains how e-leases supplement their mobility policy

"Construction in the city is sustainable, so we should also drive sustainably!"

Thousands of families, older people, students, and first-time buyers find a place to live through the housing corporation Servatius. Given that the residences are built or renovated in the most sustainable way, business should be conducted in a sustainable way, too. As the company changed lease contracts for cars that run on fossil fuels into lease contracts for electric cars, Zuid-Limburg Bereikbaar helped by providing information and a contribution to buy out old contracts. This ensures that the cars now match the image of the green housing corporation.

Beyond cold feet

In 2014, Servatius brought in its first electric cars. At the time, there were less than 4,000 electric cars in the Netherlands. Servatius brought in five Renault Zoë cars and provided instructions as well as allotted times for questions. ‘People definitely had their doubts,’ recalls Nick Abrahams, facilities project leader at Servatius. ‘Those doubts were gone as soon as people got behind the wheel. The only issue at the time was the 90-kilometre range, as some employees needed to return to the office to recharge their cars.’  

The e-car: a viable alternative

Electric cars are being developed at a rapid pace. For example, the 2014 Renault Zoë needed to be recharged every 90 kilometres, and current models need recharging every 250 kilometres. The three new Zoës only need charging three times a week. Nick expects the range of electric cars to increase even further in the coming period. ‘For long-distance journeys, we have hybrid cars with petrol engines. However, we agreed the lease contract for those cars for a two-year period because I expect that there will soon be an electrical alternative with sufficient range and which matches our image.’   

Both words and actions

Zuid-Limburg Bereikbaar is working to assist in the transition to driving electric vehicles. Emission-free driving is a good fit with the climate goals relating to sustainable mobility. Replacing cars that run on fossil fuels with electrical alternatives presents challenges and often raises many questions. That's why Zuid-Limburg Bereikbaar supports the transition towards driving electric vehicles. They do this by providing information and encouraging parties to participate while also offering a contribution scheme for affiliated employers. In 2019, Servatius benefited from this contribution when they exchanged another three cars that ran on fossil fuels for alternatives that run on electricity.

More hands make for lighter work

The electrical lease cars are used by employees who have off-site appointments. A number of employees also use electric vehicles for commuting. This means that if they need to deal with an emergency situation after working hours, their journey will still be sustainable. ‘The city of Maastricht is working on improving sustainability, and Servatius wants to contribute to that. We have already taken this project on board and are now assessing our entire mobility policy.  

Sustainable travels

Zuid-Limburg Bereikbaar is helping Servatius make its mobility policy more sustainable. Zuid-Limburg Bereikbaar does this by starting with a scan to determine how people currently travel and whether an alternative is possible. The scan also identifies which employees who currently commute by car can be offered viable alternatives to travel by bicycle or public transport. Lastly, the scan reveals whether the company's employment terms encourage the desired outcomes. After all, if the car is the cheapest way to commute, then we're not encouraging people to make the right decisions.’ 

Better for all

Servatius takes the climate into account in all of the housing corporation's activities. ‘We aim to incorporate sustainability in our business practices and in our housing stock. As such, we are rolling out sustainability projects that improve the energy label of older residences. This means that the comfort of the homes increases together with a modest increase in the rent. As a result of the energy costs dropping so significantly, the residents gain significantly more. Sustainable elements such as solar panels are standard in newly constructed buildings. By reducing the use of energy, we reduce CO2emissions.

Apps, e-cars, and more

Servatius also informs its tenants of what is available to them. For example, an energy market is hosted several times a year, and tenants can download a free app that helps them monitor their energy consumption. The app gives them tips on how to reduce their energy consumption. ‘Our tenants are also asking us to make sustainable adjustments,’ explains Nick. ‘The climate naturally also benefits from changes like these! Our vehicle fleet now matches that vision, thanks to the e-cars.’

If your company is affiliated with Zuid-Limburg Bereikbaar, then we can also help you in accelerating the conversion of these lease contracts. For more information, consult the link below. If you are currently not a partner but are interested in reviewing your mobility policy, then click here to discover the benefits of partnership.