© Tim George/ UNP 0845 600 7737 Campfire PR 33464 Ian Carlisle, CEO : Paragon Automotive Ltd, Thurleigh

UK transport and logistics provider Paragon Automotive has launched a new division to help carmakers and fleet operators manage electric and hybrid vehicles through the de-fleet and refurbishment process.

To support shipment of electric vehicles to its facilities and back out again for remarketing, Paragon is putting a dedicated truck fleet in place and rolling out high-speed charging points across its sites in the UK.

“We continue to grow our small truck and covered transport division to move these types of vehicle in the most efficient and appropriate manner,” said Ian Carlisle (pictured), CEO of the logistics provider.

According to figures provided by Paragon, sales of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) have reached a record high in the UK, with almost 10,500 plug-in cars hitting UK roads during the first three months of this year. Sales are the best since the plug-in car grant was introduced in 2011. Paragon has also highlighted recent registration figures from the UK's Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showing that plug-in car sales this year are on track to exceed last year's record total, during which more plug-in cars were registered than in the previous five years combined.

Along with the dedicated fleet and recharging stations, the new operation will include maintenance of batteries during storage and logistics and warehouse technicians that have been specially trained to handle high-voltage electric vehicles. Carlisle said such measures would shorten the time it took to remarket the vehicles.

“Alternative fuel continues to evolve and is a key part of many OEMs’ product lines,” said Carlisle. “As technology moves from concept to the mainstream, and with generational technology improvement, it is fundamental that as a strategic supply chain partner, we keep pace to effectively manage these vehicles at all stages in their life-cycle; whether new, in-life or at the back end as they are reconditioned and remarketed.”

In a statement, Paragon said that although EV/hybrid vehicles still accounted for small volumes, they were playing an increasingly important part in a brand's focus. The company also said additional investment was planned to further enhance facilities across its defleet sites.

In separate news, Paragon has recently appointed Nikki Dunnett as account development director and Ian Stephenson as product development director. Dunnett, who brings 15 years of experience in the automotive sector to her role, previously worked at cap hpi developing sales strategy in the fleet, contract hire and leasing sectors; Stephenson also worked at cap hpi as head of sales. The two will work with OEMs to supply integrated supply chain solutions combining new, in-life and used vehicle services.

The logistics services provider has also recently appointed John Upson, previously with Castrol UK, as account development manager to support its ongoing work with Volvo and Hyundai.