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Written by Simon Asquith

What's New in The World of Vans in September 2021?

September saw some interesting speculation about the future of autonomous vehicle technology, as well as some stylish new upgrades to a few popular van models. There was also good news for anyone looking to sell an LCV via auction.

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


Driverless Delivery Vans Within Two Years?

A UK autonomous vehicle technology company has said that driverless delivery vans could be operating on UK roads within the next couple of years, if their application for a trial is successful.

StreetDrone have been developing the technology, and even recently signed a deal with Wilco which gives the high street retailer a £3 million stake in the Oxford-based firm. StreetDrone are hoping to build on their success and trial driverless delivery vans within a couple of years, though the project will need to be sanctioned by Oxford City Council. The current legislation does not allow driverless vehicles on public streets, though there are discussions happening with the relevant authorities to allow a trial of the vehicles.

The StreetDrone founders, Mike Potts and former McLaren engineer Mark Preston believe we are probably still a good ten years away from driverless delivery vans, even if the proposed trial is successful. 

The StreetDrone innovators were also clear that they are not focusing on developing driverless vehicles for motorways and busy town centres. “Instead,” said Preston, “We’re looking at suburban environments and new build housing estates where this sort of ‘last mile’ delivery can bring real value.”


New Nissan Van Designs Revealed

Nissan unveiled a few new van designs in September, most notably their Townstar panel van which now features a choice of petrol or electric powertrains. The Primastar and Interstar Nissan vans have also been given upgrades, now revealed as restyled and rebadged versions of the NV300 and NV400 models previously available.

The new electric version of the Townstar is Nissan’s successor to the e-NV200, and will now come equipped with a 44kWh battery which should provide a maximum range of 177 miles. The new van features several other improvements to its battery technology and motor, which has been switched out for a more powerful 120bhp version.

The Primastar and Interstar have both received a number of styling and technology upgrades.


LCV Values Remain Strong at British Car Auctions

British Car Auctions announced toward the end of September that the sale values of LCVs remained ‘exceptionally strong’ during the previous August. The sale value averaged at £9,874 over that month, which is one of the highest monthly averages on record.

The Chief Operating Officer of UK Remarketing at British Car Auctions, Stuart Pearson, said: “Professional buyer interest at BCA continues to be exceptionally strong for LCVs and we continue to enhance our LCV cataloguing, our grading process and our online buyer services to support the largest registered buyer base for light commercial vehicles in the UK.”

The numbers are especially good news as Pearson noted that August has traditionally been one of the quieter months for LCV sales.

Written by Simon Asquith

What's New in The World of Vans in August 2021

There was lots of good news for commercial van drivers and fleet operators during August, as a new course for eLCV transitioning was announced. There was also a boon for young van drivers, and the announcement of exciting new vans coming soon to the UK.

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


First Dedicated eLCV Fleet Transition Course Launched by AFP

The first ever eLCV course to guide businesses through the transition to an all electric fleet has been announced by the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP). The first course will commence via video conference on September 9th and will last between five and six hours.

The course has been devised by former Vanarama executive and electric van expert Paul Kirby. He will conduct the course along with Peter Eldridge from the AFP. The eLCV training includes five modules covering the eLCV ecosystem, electric vehicles, evaluation and future state, as well as the total cost of ownership and operations of fleet transition.

The AFP already has a successful one-day electric car course, with the more in-depth eLCV course set to be presented in a similar format. Paul Hollick of the AFP said: “The electric car course has been one of the key achievements of the AFP to date, helping many fleet professionals to begin planning their electrification transition. Its new eLCV equivalent aims to do the same for light commercial vehicle operators and we are sure will be similarly successful, especially thanks to the involvement of Paul Kirby, who is one the country’s best-informed voices in this field.”

The course costs £225 for AFP and ICFM members, rising to £295 for non-members. 


Young Van Drivers See Insurance Premium Drop

Van drivers in the youngest age category, the under-25s, have seen insurance premiums drop by 16.9% over the last year. However, their average annual policies are still expensive at just under £2,800. 

Data insights company Consumer Intelligence have provided the information, also revealing that the over-50s saw a rise of 2% in their premiums, and the 25-49 age group seeing an even bigger rise of 2.3%.

The Product Manager at Consumer Intelligence. Harriet Devonald, said of the news: “Premiums have dropped significantly for the under-25s, despite a lack of any great telematics presence for younger van drivers. Whilst this is a good news story, this age bracket continues to pay the most, in fact over 3.5 times that of the average policy for 24-49-year-olds.”


Stellantis Bring New e-Vans to the UK

Stellantis announced in August that they are bringing their e-vans to the UK in September. These include the new Citroën ë-Relay, as well as the Peugeot e-Boxter and Fiat e-Ducato, which are now doing the rounds in UK showrooms.

The new Citroën ë-Relay is causing particular excitement as it joins the Citroën ë-Dispatch in the eLCV line-up by Stellantis. The ë-Relay is one of the most spacious 100% electric vans, while the most compact van in the Citroën range – the ë-Berlingo – will also be arriving in the UK by the end of the year.

Written by Simon Asquith

What Was New in The World of Vans in July?

July was not a great month for commercial van news as supply shortages continued to affect new van production and the price of used vans continued to rise. However, there was some good news from Renault with an expansion to their conversion options. Here’s what’s been happening in the world of vans over the last month.

Conductor Chip Shortage Still Affecting Van Production

Van production declined significantly last month as the worldwide semiconductor shortage continued playing havoc with the plans of manufacturers. Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveals that 34,363 vans were registered during June, which is a drop of 14% from the figure prior to the pandemic in 2019.

Delays in the supply of important parts - most notably the semiconductor chip which controls features such as power steering, reversing cameras and emergency braking systems - has impacted production volumes. The shortages are not quite at the level they were in 2020, but they continue to affect the production schedules of manufacturers all over the world.

The Chief Executive of SMMT, Mike Hawes, remained positive about the situation, saying: “Semiconductor supply issues have extended lead times, but business confidence is growing and fleets are embarking on decarbonisation programmes. Full market transition, however, still depends on the creation of nationwide charging infrastructure to support society and maintain commercial vehicle momentum.”

The numbers might not be back to their pre-pandemic best, but they are still massively up on the disastrous period that was 2020.

Shortages Behind Used Van Price Rise

One of the knock-on effects of the semiconductor shortage is the price increase for used vans. It has been a trend since the pandemic struck, and continues to curve upward as the delay in parts supply affects production of new vans.

Vehicle data analysts Cap HPI said at the beginning of July that the average cost of a three-year-old medium-sized van with 60,000 miles on the clock is 58% higher now than the selling price for the same type of vehicle at the beginning of 2020. Such a van would have cost around £7,550 back then, but is now going for around £11,900.

A spokesperson for Cap HPI also stated that the data indicates that the used van prices are likely to remain strong for some time thanks to the continued parts shortage.

Renault Introduces New Master E-Tech Conversion Options

Renault used July to announce an expansion to their Master E-Tech Chassis Cab range. They already had the Luton Low Loader conversion option, but it will now be joined by conversion options for the Tipper, Dropside and Luton Box vans.

The conversion options are possible thanks to the 1,620kg payload capacity of the Master E-Tech Chassis Cab. This makes the Dropside van best suited for bulkier equipment thanks to its 40cm high aluminium side panels, while the Tipper is better suited to transporting construction and landscaping materials. The Luton Box Van boasts a load area of 20 cubic metres so would be ideal for the likes of transporting furniture.

If you need a van and want the best prices available, 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 June 2021?

This last month saw the launch of an exciting new van model using zero-emissions technology, and great news for dealers as the new van registration numbers for May were published. There is also some concern regarding van supply, so read on to see what’s been happening in the world of vans during June.

New Zero-Emission Hydrogen Vivaro Launched by Vauxhall

Vauxhall has unveiled a new version of their Vivaro light commercial van, which will be a zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell model with a range up to 249 miles.

The new Vivaro-e Hydrogen will be able to refuel in just three minutes and features the same storage space capacity as both the diesel or battery electric Vivaro models. The zero-emission hydrogen Vivaro will have even more payload capacity than the battery electric version, with a maximum of 1,100kg. 

The managing director of Vauxhall, Paul Willcox, said of the new van’s technology: “Vauxhall is already leading the way with an all-electric van range, and now we are set to add hydrogen to the line-up as an efficient energy system of the future. Vauxhall-Opel has more than 20 years of experience in developing hydrogen fuel technology which offers zero emissions-in-use, a long driving range and ultra-fast refuelling.”

The Vivaro-e Hydrogen will have a 45kW fuel cell that has been designed to generate enough power for continuous driving on motorways. It will also have a 10.5kWh lithium-ion battery positioned under the front seats to provide extra acceleration and start-up power when it is needed.

New Van Sales Record in May

June saw the publishing of the van sales figures for May by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), and the numbers are good news for dealers. Over 29,300 new vans were registered throughout the month, which is a record-breaking rise of 4.7% on the five-year pre-pandemic average.

It brings the total of new vans registered so far during 2021 to over 157,000. All vehicle segments saw an increase in sales, though the majority came through huge increases in sales of larger 2.5 to 3.5 tonne vans, which totalled over 19,600 on their own.

The SMMT Chief Executive, Mike Hawes, said, “May’s figures are welcome news, suggesting Britain’s additional reliance on commercial vehicles is a long-term shift rather than a lockdown stopgap.” 

Hawes was also keen to stress the importance of  van users and operators making the switch to zero-emission capable technologies.

BVRLA Survey Reveals Van Supply Concerns

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) has published a survey highlighting concerns about van supply among businesses in the vehicle rental and leasing sector. 

The UK trade body’s survey discovered over 90% of respondents thought that the current supply of ICE vans was hindering their ability to meet the needs of their customers. In addition, 84% of respondents believed the supply of vans is getting worse.

The Chief Executive of the BVRLA, Gerry Keaney, said: “Although we have seen an increase in the number of makes and models [of battery electric vans] coming to market, there is a particular dearth of vans capable of long ranges or towing.” 

Keaney added: “A special focus on vans is needed if this sector is to achieve parity with the more developed electric car market and the BVRLA will be making recommendations to the Government.”

If you need a van and want the best prices available, 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? 

May saw the introduction of a new tyre rating system as well as several exciting new vans, including three models being added to a special range of van specifications. Here’s what happened in the world of vans during May.

New Griffin Models Announced by Vauxhall

Vauxhall has announced new models for their Griffin Edition LCV range. The new additions include the Combo, Vivaro and Movano models.

The Griffin extras include new metallic paint, cruise control, rear parking sensors and 16-inch alloy wheels for the Combo. Also added will be Vauxhall’s own Multimedia system and FlexCargo bulk load-through flap which enhances the van’s load space capacity. Only the standard wheelbase and L1H1 body style is available for the Griffin Combo, and it will also come exclusively with a 1.5 litre Turbo D diesel engine.

The Griffin Edition of the Vivaro also has cruise control and rear parking sensors but with 17-inch alloy wheels. Other features include body-coloured bumpers, automatic windscreen wipers and a high-beam assist, plus it will be equipped with Vauxhall’s Multimedia system and FlexCargo loading flap. There are two body lengths to choose from, with both using a 1.5-litre 120PS Turbo D diesel engine.

The Movano Griffin Edition is the largest of the three and also comes with cruise control, rear parking sensors and automatic windscreen wipers. The driver’s seat has lumbar support and an armrest, as well as access to the Bluetooth digital radio. There are two lengths of the Griffin Movano with both powered by a 2.3-litre 135PS Turbo D diesel engine.

Peugeot e-Boxer Now Available in the UK

More good news for UK van fans as Peugeot announced their e-Boxer is on sale in the UK from May. The specs and price range of the e-Boxer are expected to make it a direct rival to the Fiat e-Ducato and the eSprinter by Mercedes.

There are two battery options for the e-Boxer, with the first being a 37kWh model that provides a maximum range of 73 miles. The second option has a bit more oomph at 70kWh which extends the maximum range to 139 miles, though it does also add a few thousand to the asking price which already starts at £49,335.

New Tyre Label System Launched

May saw the introduction of a new digital tyre labelling system designed to help vehicle owners understand the differences between the highest and lowest rated tyres. Customers buying new vehicles such as vans will be provided with the digital tyre information by the retailer.

The information on them will essentially remain the same, though with some changes to the format and an additional ‘alpine’ rating which will rate the tyre’s suitability for use in snowy conditions. The changes also include a slightly amended rating system, moving from seven classifications to five. They will still rate the tyre’s fuel efficiency, wet braking performance and level of road noise they produce.

Stuart Jackson of the TyreSafe charity spoke about the importance of tyre knowledge when making a vehicle purchase, saying: “There is concern that owners typically only consider cost and don’t appreciate there may be tyres that are more suitable and offer better value but perhaps at a higher price. It’s in the interest of vehicle owners to make themselves aware of the information contained on the new tyre label to cut costs in fuel, as well as improve their safety.”

If you need a van and want the best prices available, 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 April 2021?

April saw the UK van market traverse some rocky roads, but there is light at the end of the tunnel as new van registrations show some signs of life after Covid. There were also some new Vauxhall van editions to get excited for, so let’s look at what’s been happening in the world of vans over the past month.

New Van Registration Numbers Show Promise

The latest figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) revealed there were 56,122 new vans registered in March. This number is still down on the pre-pandemic average by nearly 11%, where monthly registrations averaged a little over 63,000 units.

However, it is a huge 85.5% increase on the numbers from March 2020, so the situation is looking positive overall. Revised expectations suggest around 360,000 LCVs should be registered by the end of this year.

The Chief Executive of the SMMT, Mike Hawes, recognised the impact that the pandemic has had on the van market, but was hopeful for the future. He said: “Although a marked improvement on last year’s March numbers, these figures illustrate the impact Covid has had on the sector and how far away the van market is from the growth it was enjoying before the pandemic hit.

“However, as the country emerges from lockdown, vaccinations continue to roll out, and non-essential businesses reopen, the added confidence will hopefully help shift the gears from recovery to growth for the van market.”

New Griffin Editions Unveiled by Vauxhall

Vauxhall have launched new Griffin Edition trim designs and specifications for their Combo, Vivaro and Movano van ranges.

The new specifications include FlexCargo capability, 16-inch alloy wheels, metallic paint and rear parking sensors for the Griffin Edition of the Combo. The Combo’s interior additions also include cruise control.

The Vivaro Griffin Edition also has FlexCargo capability but has been equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels. Other Griffin additions to the Vivaro include body coloured bumpers, rear parking sensors, high-beam assist and automatic windscreen wipers.

The Griffin Edition of the Movano van features the same rear parking sensors, cruise control and automatic windscreen wipers, plus there is now a digital radio with Bluetooth and a USB connection. The interior of the Movano also includes extra comfortable seats featuring lumbar support and armrests.

All three Griffin Editions are equipped with Vauxhall’s Multimedia system that comes with an eight-inch touchscreen.

LCV Prices to Rise After Factory Shutdown

The knock-on effect of the closure of Ford’s Transit van manufacturing plant in Turkey is starting to be felt as LCV prices are set to rise. UK vehicle auctioneer Aston Barclay believe the closure means demand for vans will outpace the supply and force the prices of used vans up to record levels.

The National LCV Manager of Aston Barclay, Geoff Flood, confirmed: “The Ford factory shutdown news is a blow for the new and used market as it will prevent a supply of much needed used vans hitting the auctions.”

Mr Flood added: “Some vans have gone under the hammer for two to three times reserve and this trend will continue until such time as we see factories re-open and used supplies improving.”

Ford’s plant is due to remain closed until June 13th.

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.