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Written by Simon Asquith

What's New In The World Of Vans?

December’s events made it clear that fleet operators in the UK have little time to lose when replacing their diesel and petrol vans, while one operator was happy to add a significant amount of new non-electric vans to their fleet anyway. There was also the announcement of the winners of the International Van of the Year.

Here’s what’s been happening in the world of vans over the last month.

New Diesel Van Ban Brought Forward 

The mission to electrify van fleets has grown a little more intense as the date of the ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol light commercial vehicles was confirmed as being brought forward to 2030. 

The original proposal came in November, but now all fleet operators have been made aware that they only have ten years remaining to swap out their diesel and petrol vans for electric. The ban is part of the phase-out of fossil fuel vehicles which involves over 20 countries and cities around the world.

The ban date being brought forward has the potential to cause problems for some fleet operators, as the decade remaining could constitute just two replacement cycles.

It has been known for some time that hybrid vans will be banned from 2035, though exactly what defines ‘hybrid’ has yet to be fully clarified by the Government. At the moment,  the Government says a hybrid van should be able to travel a significant distance with no carbon coming out of the tailpipe, though they do not clarify exactly what constitutes a significant distance.

Mercedes Sprinters Join Iceland Foods Home Delivery Fleet 

One operator who doesn’t seem too concerned about the ban at this moment is Iceland Foods. They have recently increased their home delivery fleet by adding 250 new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter refrigerated vans.

The vehicles have been specially converted by Iceland Foods’ supply partner VMS Fleet Management to have an increased capacity for customer orders. Along with the Alex Original Twin Evap fridge unit, the new Sprinters also now include a triple compartment rear box which provides ambient, chill and frozen settings for different food and delivery requirements.

The Head of Delivered Sales at Iceland Foods, Kevin Tully, cited the significant increase in demand for Iceland’s online deliveries as the reason behind the acquisition of the new vans. In just one year, Tully says, Iceland’s online delivery volume has increased by over 400%.

The new Mercedes-Benz Sprinters were being delivered to Iceland sites across the UK during December and began operations just before Christmas. 

International Van of the Year Award Winner

The winner of the International Van of the Year title for 2021 has been announced, with the Peugeot e-Expert, Citroën e-Dispatch and Vauxhall Vivaro-e claiming the title. All three were jointly developed by Groupe PSA.

The three electric vans received 131 points and the majority of first preference votes from the judging panel consisting of 24 members. 

The International Van of the Year judging panel chairman, Jarlath Sweeney congratulated Groupe PSA on their ‘stringent research, development and investment on producing an excellent range of electric powered vans, that exceed expectations and without compromise.’

The Mercedes-Benz eSprinter took second place with 55 points, with the latest Vito came third with 36 points. Ford came fourth in the judging thanks to its new Transit Active and Trail models.

If you need a van and want the best prices available with flexible pricing options, call UK Vans Direct on 01709 717200 or email info@ukvansdirect.co.uk.

Written by Simon Asquith

Ford Reveal Fully-Electric E-Transit Van

Ford revealed their new fully-electric E-Transit van which is to be available in 25 configurations. The maximum range available will be an impressive 217 miles.

Due to be available in Europe in early 2022, the configurations will revolve around a van, double-cab-in-van and chassis cab body styles. Each will be available in multiple length and roof height combinations, with the gross vehicle mass range topping out at 4.25 tonnes. The payload for the van version should reach 1,616kg, with a max payload of 1,967kg for the chassis cab model.

Cargo space should be as much as 15.1 cubic metres thanks to the battery being located beneath the body of the van. The Ford E-Transit’s electric motor will have a peak output of 269PS and 430Nm of torque and will come with the option of both AC charging and DC fast-charging. The on-board charger will be 11.3kW which should enable a full charge within 8.2 hours. The 115kW DC fast-charger will boost the battery from 15% to 80% in a little over half an hour.

The new Ford E-Transit will also boast an array of new technology options such as the standard FordPass Connect modem and the optional Pro Power Onboard mobile power source for powering various equipment.

Renault Announce Next Gen Kangoo Small Van

Anyone in the market for a small van will be pleased by the news from Renault that a new generation of their Kangoo van is on the way. It will have new exterior and interior designs and a host of new infotainment and driver assistance technologies.

The new Renault range will be joined by a fully electric Kangoo ZE version, which Renault is particularly excited about as their original Kangoo ZE has been the best selling electric commercial vehicle in Europe since 2011. Both Kangoo versions will be available in two lengths with load volumes ranging between 3.3 and 3.9 cubic metres for the standard size vans. The load volumes of the longer vans will range between 4.2 and 4.9 cubic metres. 

Other new features include the Easy Link multimedia system and a permanent rear view digital interior mirror.

Mercedes-Benz Revise eVito Pricing

The pricing and trim structure of the eVito electric van has been revised by Mercedes-Benz. They have confirmed that the van will be available in two lengths and two trim levels. Some new features have also been added, similar to those recently added to the diesel version of the Vito.

The prices will now start at £40,895 for the eVito Progressive panel van, with the eVito Plus package panel van starting at £42,015.

If you need a van and want the best prices available with flexible pricing options, call UK Vans Direct on 01709 717200 or email info@ukvansdirect.co.uk.

Written by Simon Asquith

Here’s what’s been happening in the world of vans over the last month.

Ford Release Teaser Trailer for Pure-Electric E-Transit

Ford published a trailer on its social media channels teasing its new all-electric E-Transit panel van. The E-Transit is due to be fully unveiled in November before going on sale in 2021.

No technical specifications for the E-Transit have been released, but the automobile giant will be hoping to compete in the pure-electric panel van market against the popular Peugeot e-Expert as well as other main players such as the Citroen e-Dispatch, Vauxhall Vivaro-e, Fiat e-Ducato and Mercedes eVito. To compete with such esteemed rivals, we can expect the Ford E-Transit to have a range in the region of 200 miles along with a similar load capacity as the traditional Transit model.

The van glimpsed in Ford’s teaser resembles their standard short-wheelbase Transit, implying a modification to that model to incorporate an electric power-train rather than a completely new van design. 

Further speculation suggests the new Ford E-Transit will have an electric motor driving the front wheels powered by a lithium-ion battery pack probably installed beneath the van’s floor. The specifications and features will be confirmed on November 12.

UK Van Registrations Increased

October also saw the publishing of the van sales figures for September, which revealed sales of new light commercial vehicles growing by over a quarter from the same time last year. 

The figures were compiled by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and showed a total of 52,096 vans, pick-ups and 4x4s were registered during September. The year-on-year increase represents an additional 10,880 vans sold, though September of 2019 was a particularly weak month due to regulatory changes affecting the market. The number of new van registrations is still down by 3.3% compared to the same month of 2018. 

Most types of van saw significant increases, though small vans weighing 2.0 tonnes or less decreased by 2.5%, which represents a total of 74 less vans registered than in the same month last year. Sales of medium vans weighing between 2.0 and 2.5 tonnes grew 11.6%, while larger vans weighing between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes rose by nearly 50% in September 2018. 

Volkswagen Reveal Caddy Van Prices

Prices for the new fifth-generation version of the Caddy van have been announced by Volkswagen. Excluding VAT, the entry-level Caddy will start at £17,800.

There will be three trim levels available of the Volkswagen Caddy, with the mid-range models featuring electronically-controlled air con, body-coloured bumpers, rear parking sensors, a leather steering wheel and power-adjustable lumbar support for the driver’s seat. These models will start at £19,275 each.

The higher-end models will start at £22,075 and include power folding door mirrors, sat-nav, front parking sensors, LED taillights, alloy wheels and an anti-theft alarm system. The four-wheel-drive Maxi variant will cost significantly more at £26,850.

If you need a van and want the best prices available with flexible pricing options, call UK Vans Direct on 01709 717200 or email info@ukvansdirect.co.uk.

Written by Simon Asquith

Elon Musk Says Smaller Cybertruck a Possibility

The Tesla Cybertruck unveiled last year was specifically designed for the American market and it was believed that it would never make it to Europe. Tesla says the angular, stainless-steel-bodied utility vehicle with bulletproof glass has a maximum towing capacity in excess of six tonnes but is too big for anywhere other than the United States.

Interestingly though, during a question and answer session during September, Elon Musk said his firm is considering building a smaller version that would better suit smaller European roads.

Musk said the Cybertruck was designed to meet the American requirements because it would have been impossible to build it according to global specs. However, he added: “We’ll probably make an international version of the Cybertruck that will be kind of smaller, kind of like a tight Wolverine package.” 

The full size Cybertruck goes on sale at the end of 2021 and will be priced at $39,900 (currently around £30,800). Musk said that pre-orders have already passed the half million mark.

Five-Tonne Ford Transit Revealed

There is a new Ford Transit flagship model weighing five tonnes which has been declared the ‘toughest Transit ever’. The new van can carry a payload of 2,383kg and support a gross vehicle weight of 5,000kg, and will still be suitable for conversions.

The extra weight capacity is possible thanks to Ford adding wider wheels and tyres as well as uprated rear brakes, stronger hub assemblies and heavy-duty ancillaries. The van’s upper body has also been reinforced.

Incredibly, this new Ford Transit has been beefed-up to the extent where buyers will have to take an additional driving test before they can legally drive it on UK roads. It will become available to buy in November this year.

If you need a van and want the best prices available with flexible pricing options, call UK Vans Direct on 01709 717200 or email info@ukvansdirect.co.uk.

Written by Simon Asquith

What's New in The World of Vans?

There was plenty of good news for the van industry and van drivers themselves during August, as well as an exciting new electric van launch that hopes to rival the very best on the market.

Here’s what’s been happening in the world of vans over the last month.

UK Van Sales Continue Recovery

After four months of decline, it was announced at the beginning of August that the van market had grown for the first time since January 2020. New registrations increased by 7.1% compared to the same period in 2019.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) made the announcement and also revealed the top ten selling vans during the recent market increase. The Ford Transit Custom was the most popular, with 3,405 units sold during July. This is hardly a surprise as it has been the UK’s best selling van ever since it was launched. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter came in second with 2,581 sales, and the standard Ford Transit was third with 1,785 sold.

The French-owned but British-built Vauxhall Vivaro was the fifth best selling van with 1,381 sales.

Lockdown Lowers Van Insurance Premiums

The latest quarterly figures from data analytics company Consumer Intelligence were also published in August. They revealed that insurance premiums for van drivers dropped 2.3% on average during the past three months.

The number of vans on the road massively decreased during the lockdown with so many businesses closing due to the pandemic. Fewer vans on the roads means fewer insurance claims and insurance companies are passing those savings on to their customers.

The insurance premium drop isn’t likely to last very long though. The Pricing Manager at Consumer Intelligence, John Blevins, said: “As motorists take back to the roads now lockdown has eased, with perhaps even more vehicles on the road than before with people avoiding public transport, claims numbers are likely to rise and so, too, will premiums.

“As businesses start to reopen and van traffic increases, we will watch with interest how this market moves forward. As always, claims frequencies and severity will drive premium movements.”

The average UK van insurance premium at the moment currently stands at £1,065.

Fiat Launch New All Electric e-Ducato

Fiat launched their first zero-emissions commercial vehicle in the form of the new all-electric e-Ducato van. The company hopes it will rival the likes of the Vauxhall Vivaro-e, the Citroen e-Dispatch and the Mercedes e-Vito.

The e-Ducato features an electric motor on the front axle which produces 121bhp and 280Nm of torque which enables the van to carry a payload weighing up to 1,950kg. The top speed of the Fiat e-Ducato has been capped at 62mph to maximise the vehicle’s range, which reaches 192 miles off a full charge of the 79kWh battery pack. The 47kWh battery option has a range of 99 miles and can be fully charged in two hours and 25 minutes when plugged into a 50kW DC fast-charger. The larger 79kWh battery reaches full charge in around four hours from the same fast-charger. The e-Ducato also features four drive modes, including ‘Normal’ for a balance of performance and efficiency, and ‘Eco’ which helps maximise the range.

Incorporating the Government’s £8,000 plug-in van grant, the Fiat e-Ducato price range starts at £47,675, excluding VAT.

If you need a van and want the best prices available with flexible pricing options, call UK Vans Direct on 01709 717200 or email info@ukvansdirect.co.uk.

Written by Simon Asquith

Here’s what’s been happening in the world of vans over the last month.

New 2.0-Litre Engine for the Mercedes Benz Vito

The Mercedes Benz Vito van is getting a new 2.0-litre diesel engine which will bring it up to date with the latest Euro 6D emission standards. The previous engine was a 2.1-litre and had been the Vito’s engine since 2008.

The current Vito is the third generation that was launched in 2014, and was originally available with a 1.6-litre Renault engine for the front wheel drive and a 2.1-litre Daimler engine for the rear wheel drive. This year they upgraded the front wheel drive engine and its improvements have enabled them to switch out the 2.1-litre rear wheel drive engine for the 2.0. This switch will lower the Vito’s emissions which Mercedes were required to achieve by September this year.

The new engine was initially developed in 2016 for the E-Class vans, and it has also been incorporated into the Mercedes Benz Sprinter panel van range.

New Ford Transit Connect Active

The Ford Transit Connect Active is the latest model from Ford’s Active range. It joins the new Transit Custom and Transit Active which were launched in June. The Connect Active is a small van with enhanced off-road capabilities and several cosmetic upgrades.

The new van will include roof rails as standard so large equipment can be transported, including bikes and canoes. The van also looks more rugged thanks to front and rear skid plates, and it now sports five-spoke, 17-inch alloy wheels with contrasting polished metal with dark detailing that are exclusive to the Active range. To further distinguish it from the other Connect vans, the Connect Active now has the signature Active mesh grille fitted to the front.

The sides of the van as well as the mirror caps, wheel arches and rear bumper have been enhanced with additional cladding which helps minimise paintwork scuffs when driving off road or when loading equipment. Two new colours have been added to the range for the Connect Active, Sedona Orange and Solar Silver, as well as a full-width Active decal and Active badges on the front wings.

There are two versions of the 1.5-litre diesel engine to choose from, with either 100PS or 120PS. The transmission options also include an eight-speed automatic as well as the standard six-speed manual.

Waitrose and John Lewis Boost for Electric Vans

Waitrose and John Lewis announced in July that they are planning on increasing the amount of electric vans in their fleets that deliver goods via their online businesses. Both firms have previously declared ambitions to stop using fossil fuels for their fleets by 2030.

If you need a van and want the best prices available with flexible pricing options, call UK Vans Direct on 01709 717200 or email info@ukvansdirect.co.uk.