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Does your Small Business need a Fleet?

Small businesses need things like ingenuity, hard work, and drive. Sometimes, they also need drive in a literal sense. Cars, utes and other vehicles are the lifeblood of a lot of small businesses, from plumbing and electrical contractors to private IT and customer service consultants. And if you don’t have access to those vehicles, you may be doing your business a disservice – either in the short or long term.

When we talk about a fleet for small businesses, we mean a set of cars which you and your employees can use to get around and get things done. Of course, not every business needs a fleet, so ask yourself the following questions first:

  • Do I do a lot of driving as part of my business?
  • Do I need specific things from my vehicle, other than just getting me from A to B?
  • Am I thinking of hiring more people to help me do my job in the future?

If you’ve answered yes to those three questions, you should consider the benefits of a fleet. Motor dealers offer significant discounts on fleet car purchases (it’s like buying in bulk at your supermarket) and you’ll also get a fair number of other perks including tax deductions for repairs and fuel. Having a fleet also acts as an incentive for new employees, since they won’t have to use their own car to do their job. And it means you can standardise what model your employees use, which not only helps the professional image but also cuts back on management and maintenance costs.

If you do need a fleet, what next? First, decide what model you want to go with. That’ll depend on everything from what your business does to where you and your employees live. A business doing consulting in the Melbourne CBD would probably not want a fleet of SUVs, for example. Things to keep in mind include fuel efficiency, size, and capacity.

Next is financing the fleet. That entails a pretty significant expense, so you may want to consider taking a loan on some or all of the vehicles. You can use the interest on this loan to claim back on your business tax return, so it’s not as risky as taking a loan on your personal vehicle. If you want car loans, WA and NSW are going to be pretty much the same, although interstate businesses may be able to “shop around” for slightly more competitive deals.

Finally, make sure your fleet has a solid insurance policy and maintenance options to back it up. Chances are you’ll need them at some point or another, and you don’t want your fleet going offline due to a lack of paperwork. That way, business as usual can stay on the road.

Sarah Paige is a car enthusiast and a self-proclaimed expert in the motoring field. If you’re in the market for vehicles for your small business, consider shopping around for car loans. WA has plenty of experts to help finance your new vehicle.

 

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Can Odd-Looking ‘Diwheel’ Be Electric Vehicle of the Future?

As the electric automobile industry tries to get manufacturers and consumers alike to think out of the box while global warming necessitates a drastic move toward cleaner transportation technology, could it be that all the revolutionary electric vehicles appearing on today’s automobile market are not really out of the box at all but just inside a slightly larger box?

When it really comes down to it, every transportation device on today’s streets, even the strangest prototype from the most cutting-edge electric start-up, is fashioned in the likeness of either a typical car frame or a typical motorbike frame. That is as true for the Smart ForTwo as it is for a van, a semi, or even an electric scooter. Each of these models is just a glorified version of either a motorbike or a car.

Whether this is a good thing or not, those two basic frames have so dominated the transportation market that they have become the automatic ground zero for practically all attempts to create cleaner, greener vehicles. Even the most revolutionary personal transportation prototypes and the most fuel-efficient, battery-powered EVs all seem to begin from one of these two given starting points, the car or the motorbike.

With this mind, undergraduates from the University of Adelaide have attempted to develop something so completely out of the box that it relies almost not at all on either of these two typical basic automobile building blocks. They have come up with a transportation machine they call the Electric Diwheel With Active Rotation Damping – EDWARD, for short. EDWARD is unlike anything you may have ever seen and is definitely no car or motorbike.

Two huge, parallel wheels make up the majority of EDWARD’s girth. Inside the hollow cylinder framed by these wheels sits the tiny passenger cabin, dwarfed by the mammoth circles that circumference it. This device is controlled by a joystick and has a top speed of about 40 miles per hour. It also boasts regenerative braking technology and a lead acid battery, identical to those found in regular cars, with a lifespan of about an hour of intensive driving. EDWARD makes use of lightweight materials for its construction and, as a result, weighs practically nothing.

Although EDWARD is certainly not the first diwheel, it is definitely the first to be powered by something other than human effort or an IC engine. EDWARD also features an active damping system that solves one of the diwheel’s major problems ever since its inception: stopping. Because of the disparity in the size of the wheels compared to the size of the passenger cabin, diwheels have been known for their jarring stops. The cabin would tend to swing forward heavily every time the brakes were applied. EDWARD solves this dilemma with a slosh control system that stabilizes the cabin and its occupants during harsh acceleration and braking.

While you probably shouldn’t hold your breath for mass production of these vehicles, what this invention really illustrates is that there is more than one way to skin a cat – in this case the cat of fossil fuels. Electric engines and lithium-ion batteries no longer have a monopoly on reducing our carbon footprint and reliance on filthy energy. There are other options.

Filling out a quote at Kanetix.ca will let you see which insurance companies in Ontario provide the most affordable rates of insurance for your particular vehicle. Doing a comparison of quotes at Kanetix can help you find cheap insurance and save you hundreds of dollars on insurance.

 

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