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Manchester start-up develops ‘industry first’ for electric vehicles following Growth Hub support

Greater Manchester start-up Zoom, has launched the UK’s first car insurance aimed exclusively at electric vehicle (EV) owners, following support from GC Business Growth Hub.

This latest service, launched in partnership with Think Insurance, offers specific coverage for electric vehicles, is delivered by a specialist team and provides benefits specifically geared towards the EV driver.

Zoom’s insurance offer has been designed to add value to people and organisations choosing ultra-low emission vehicles and complements the start-up’s unique bundle of public charging, smart home charging, parking and green energy discounts specifically for electric drivers.

Zoom intends to capitalise on the growth in the EV market by providing key services to individuals and businesses that make transitioning to an EV easier and more cost effective.

The first raft of benefits includes preferential rates on smart home charging units and green energy tariffs, free access to one of Europe’s largest charging networks and reduced rates on parking nationwide. Zoom is also planning to launch a car sharing app in the near future and is currently running pilots with councils and businesses.

The company approached GC Business Growth Hub, part of The Growth Company and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, looking for support to raise its profile.

Zoom Founder and CEO Greg Fairbotham said: “The ongoing support we have had from the Hub has been incredibly useful. It has reinforced the confidence we have that the product we are launching is truly unique.

“During our journey into electric mobility, we identified through speaking to people that insurance was behind the curve when it came to EVs, so we set about improving the customer experience and incentivising people to choose better vehicles through including real green benefits.”

As a new business in the green sector, Zoom was signed up to the Hub’s Low Carbon Network, a database of 400 sector-specific products and services, which connects members with new business opportunities.

After working closely with the Hub’s green tech advisors, Zoom was offered the opportunity to exhibit at Greater Manchester’s 2019 Green Summit, which was hosted by Mayor Andy Burnham and attended by around 2,000 people.

Katherine Burden, Low Carbon Sector Development Lead for GC Business Growth Hub, said: “The key aim of the Network is to enable companies to be better connected to new business opportunities and better informed about what is happening in their sector – from new tender opportunities to changes in government policy. It also helps build on our knowledge of the low carbon supply chain, thereby strengthening our support for local low carbon business.

“Zoom was a perfect fit for the Green Summit earlier this year and it’s fantastic to see the company has used the experience as a platform to progress it’s business model and ambitions.”

Over the last six years there has been a surge in demand for electric vehicles in the UK. New registrations of plug-in cars increased from 3,500 in 2013 to more than 214,000 by May 2019.

The Hub has also been helping Zoom to develop its car sharing platform, which it is currently piloting.

Greg said: “Our ambition is to provide market leading EV services and be the leading car sharing platform in the UK that is specifically designed for plug-in vehicles. We want to help people and organisations do more with their idle EVs by being part of our Zoom community.

“A key part of our mission, through the above, is to help reduce carbon emissions and play a leading role in helping Greater Manchester, our home city, achieve its Clean Air Plan. We also want to go beyond this though, which is why ten per cent of Zoom’s profits are dedicated to projects that remove plastics from our oceans, another one of the key issues we all face in the world today”.

Businesses looking to access specialist support can visit www.businessgrowthhub.com for more information about the organisation’s extensive range of services. This and other GC Business Growth Hub projects are part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the GM Business Growth Hub project designed to help ambitious SME businesses achieve growth and increase employment in Greater Manchester. The Hub is also supported by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Greater Manchester local authorities.

Abi Bentley-Cottam
Article by Abi Bentley-Cottam
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