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UK van sales down 4.6% in October

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The light commercial vehicle (LCV) market declined marginally by -4.6%, in October, with 27,420 vans registered according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Despite this representing the second consecutive month of decline – albeit not as steep a fall as in September – the sector remains 2.3% up on the five-year pre-pandemic average for the month of October, with 2021 proving to be a strong year for LCV sales to date.1

Over the course of the month registrations of heavier vans, which weigh more than 2.5 tonnes and comprise the majority of the LCV market, fell by -8.9%. Pickups and vans weighing between 2.0-2.5 tonnes also declined by -16.9% and -16.6% respectively.

There was some good news, however, with registrations of 4x4s – a typically small market which has been buoyed by new models – and vans weighing less than 2.0 tonnes doubling, with increases of 114.7% and 100.5% respectively.

Year-to-date, registrations of LCVs have increased by 24.4%, to 294,656 units, compared to 2020 when Covid related issues were more widely felt.2 But despite the sector seeing a rebound in registrations in 2021, the market still remains -5.2% short of the pre-pandemic five-year average, equating to 16,026 less vans being sold, primarily due to the global shortage of semiconductors.3

As a result of the ongoing challenges facing the sector, SMMT has downgraded it’s outlook for the LCV market by over 20,000, to 340,000 units registered in 2021. While this remains higher than 2020, it represents a net decline against 2019 sales, with the market not expected to recover back above that level until 2023.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “While it’s disappointing to see the number of new vans registered during October decline, demand has remained strong over the course of the year. The commercial vehicle sector, however, is not immune to the challenges faced by the industry as a whole, most notably the semiconductor shortage. Manufacturers are working hard to fulfil orders to ensure fleets can continue to be renewed and the latest models, including zero emission products, hit UK roads.”


Infrastructure crucial to future of hydrogen-powered panel van fleets

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The rate of growth of the hydrogen refuelling infrastructure is likely to dictate which power option many fleets choose for panel vans over the next few years, says FleetCheck.

The fleet software specialist points out that, for some fleets, the EV panel vans now on sale require considerable operational compromise, which hydrogen could potentially solve.

Peter Golding, managing director at FleetCheck, said: “For fleets that carry low-medium weights in urban environments over short-medium distances, an electric panel van is a good solution, and there are a wide range of options becoming available on the market.

“However, if you currently move more than a tonne payload 200-300 miles in a day, up and down motorways, they are much less practical. In winter, completing that kind of working day could require not just an overnight charge but a couple of additional charges.

“That is why hydrogen is being talked about more and more by operators, and was a major source of conversation at the recent CV Show, with the hydrogen Vivaro on the Vauxhall stand due for arrival in 2023 a particular source of speculation. Because it can be refuelled with the speed and ease of a diesel vehicle, while providing similar range, it potentially solves those specific operational problems to which EVs are arguably not well suited.”

Golding added that there were two barriers to hydrogen adoption for panel van operators – cost and the current absence of hydrogen fuelling stations across most areas of the country.

“Something like the Vivaro will have to be manufactured in quite large numbers to make its purchase price and running costs viable. That could happen but will only occur if there is a usefully large refuelling infrastructure in place and there just isn’t at present.

“Of course, we will need widespread growth of hydrogen stations within a number of years because hydrogen will almost certainly be the motive power for bus and truck decarbonisation by 2040, but shorter-term provision is much more uncertain. Even the hydrogen buses now in operation are being depot-fuelled, I understand.

“In a very real sense, whether fleets ultimately end up using hydrogen or battery electric power for medium panels vans will very much be dictated by the speed of growth of the hydrogen infrastructure. There is little question that hydrogen itself is a better operational solution but only if you can actually get hold of fuel with relative ease.”

A further question, Golding added, would be whether van manufacturers would be able to call on sufficient resources to develop electric and hydrogen drive trains side-by-side.

“The switch to electrification is already creating a demand for massive investment in new technology for manufacturers. Whether they have an appetite to do the same for hydrogen in parallel must be very much open to question, despite its potential advantages.”

eVito – Mercedes-Benz from Midlands Truck & Van – Efficient electric drive, combined with proven vehicle strengths

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By Midlands Truck & Van

The eVito panel van is as advanced as modern mobility demands. And it is just as functional, safe and comfortable as you would expect from a Mercedes-Benz Vito. Its highly efficient electric motor with 85 kW (116 hp) and torque of 300 Nm as well as the other electrical components make use of the synergies of the group modular construction kit.

The eVito panel van takes alot on board. The eVito is a professional for demanding tasks and ideally suited to represent companies. Its specialty is volume of cargo: with a loading space capacity of 6.0 m3 and up to 1,015 kg, the electric drive does not restrict the cargo space volume in any way.

But mass is not everything: the eVito panel van can also be loaded very well due to its large load compartment openings and low loading sill. With the sliding door on the left & right, there are 3 accesses to the cargo hold, through which, for example, up to 3 europallets can be loaded. 

Our vans with electric drive can also convince you economically. Depending on the profile of use, the electric drive can already be at the level of vehicles with an internal combustion engine in terms of the total cost of ownership (TCO).

The intelligent operating strategy of vans with electric drive contributes to economy on the road. With 3 driving programs and 4 recuperation levels you can optimize the power consumption and thus the range of your electric powered van. Recuperation recovers energy when the vehicle is decelerating. For example, the battery charges on downhill, instead of losing the energy in the form of heat when braking. That’s how you can go far with Mercedes-Benz electric powered vans – on the road as well as in your company.

Introducing the Mercedes-Benz eSprinter with Midlands Truck & Van

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By Midlands Truck & Van

The eSprinter builds on many of the legendary Sprinter’s features and moves them forward into a more sustainable way of doing business.

Our research† has identified 3 things businesses are either actively looking for from a van – efficiency, and reliability – or wish to know more about – connectivity. When we’re talking about our electric vans, we use these 3 lenses to select the features we believe customers will be most interested in and communicate them clearly.

Efficient – Reliable & Connected

• DC charging: The eSprinter is available in two fast-charging power variants: – DC 20kW: 10 – 80% charge in 2 hours – DC 80kW: 10 – 80% charge in 30 minutes*

• Plan the quickest, most range-efficient journeys with Mercedes PRO connect

• Remote cooling and heating with Mercedes PRO connect Reliable

• 8-year or 160,000km battery warranty

• Anti-theft protection package • Active Brake ASSIST

• Free, 24/7, award-winning MobiloVan roadside assistance Connected

• Real-time battery status checks via Mercedes PRO connect

• Theft warning alerts, geo-fencing, and GPS tracking via Mercedes PRO connect.

The eSprinter’s integrated, intelligent real-time vehicle monitoring system allows drivers to keep on top of everything from maintenance to security and delivery scheduling. It enables you to manage your vans and drivers remotely via the app accessible from phone, tablet and laptop – helping you save on energy, unexpected repairs and maintenance.

Get live updates on the eSprinter’s battery charge levels – both when out and about and while it’s charging – as well as the remaining range, remotely via the Mercedes PRO connect app, accessible from phone, tablet and laptop.

With the Mercedes PRO connect app, theft warning alerts go straight to digital and mobile devices while geo-fencing means it’s easy to ensure your van doesn’t travel out of a defined perimeter – both powered by onboard GPS tracking, meaning you’re consta

Drivers can check the status of, and lock and unlock, each door of their eSprinter from anywhere in the world via the app, accessible from phone, tablet or laptop.