Shimir and Jigna Premji’s north London-based mobile business has been working flat out since the lifting of Covid restrictions.
The couple are now using their battery-powered eSprinter to transport all they need to cook and serve a wide range of cuisines at everything from baby showers and birthday parties, to weddings and religious functions.
As Managing Director Shimir explained: “The new van represents a substantial investment so with an eye to the future we wanted to ensure we were spending our money in the most efficient and sustainable way possible.”
He continued: “We take great pride in the delicious food that Jigna and her colleagues prepare, but that’s not the whole story. By setting up our gazebo on site and cooking on a barbecue, pizza oven or tandoor, we enhance the event experience by adding an extra dimension for guests.”
A trained chef, Jigna launched the business on a very small scale 10 years ago, but thanks to a combination of word of mouth and social media engagement it is now really taking off. This explains why, having previously rented vans, the couple resolved to invest in their own vehicle.
The eSprinter is the subject of a Mercedes-Benz Finance contract hire agreement and was supplied by Rossetts Commercials, which represents the three-pointed star in Surrey, Sussex and north Hampshire.
Powered by a 114 hp electric motor that drives the front wheels, it will travel 95 miles (combined WLTP with 80 km/h speed limiter) on a single charge. This is ample for Shimir and Jigna, as the majority of their bookings are from customers located in and around the capital.
The couple rely on public charging points to keep the vehicle’s four parallel batteries topped-up – using an 80kW DC fast-charging cable, the 55 kWh high-voltage pack can be restored from 10% to 80% of maximum capacity in just 30 minutes. The vehicle’s range is also extended by recuperative energy recovered during deceleration.
“There are so many charging points in London now that we rarely have any difficulty in finding one nearby,” reported Shimir. “Plus, of course, the infrastructure is being extended all the time, as more and more motorists make the transition to electric vehicles.”
The eSprinter’s batteries are securely mounted beneath the body, so do not impinge on cargo carrying space. As a result, the L2 (medium length), H2 (high roof) eSprinter’s 11m3 load volume is identical to that of its diesel-engined, front-wheel drive stablemate, and half a cubic metre larger than its rear-wheel drive equivalent.
“At Jigna’s Finest Catering we’re building a fantastic reputation for the quality of our food, which includes Indian, Chinese, Italian and Thai menus, as well as popular favourites such as pizzas and burgers, and we’re now seeing a lot of repeat business,” said Shimir.
“The eSprinter is a great asset for our growing company, and has already attracted positive feedback from customers. The spacious cargo area is more than big enough to carry everything we need, and it looks fantastic in the black and yellow livery that mirrors the uniforms we wear when working – even the wheel trims are black.”
He explained: “We have children and as we live and work in London were keen to help improve air quality by choosing a vehicle that produces zero harmful tailpipe emissions. It’s gratifying to know that we’re doing our bit for the environment.
“The eSprinter is also proving highly cost-effective to run, not least because it’s exempt from the £15 daily Congestion Charge. It’s every bit as safe and well put together as you would expect of a Mercedes-Benz and unlike most of the diesel-engined vans we’ve rented in the past, it’s also a real pleasure to drive.”
Jigna’s Finest Catering’s order was managed by Rossetts Commercials Van Sales Executive Mike Payne. “The service was brilliant,” added Shimir. “Mike arranged the finance, sorted the livery, and made the entire acquisition process as simple as possible – I couldn’t have asked for more.”