FleetVan B E S T P R A C T I C E F O R B R I TA I N ’ S L I G H T VA N O P E R AT O R S
December 2012 fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan £5 where sold
IS THIS VAN THE GREEN SOLUTION?
Electric-diesel Emerald combines low CO2 emissions with low running costs Case study: Lafarge
Transport manager Nick Elliott looks to deliver ‘zero harm’
Insight: Vehicle security
Top tips to protect vans from the risk of theft or vandalism
Supplier spotlight: GE
Leasing giant’s plans to finance a growing number of LCVs
Contact us Fleet News, Media House, Lynch Wood, Peterborough PE2 6EA. Email email@example.com
Editorial Editor-in-chief Stephen Briers 01733 468024 firstname.lastname@example.org Deputy editor Simon Harris 01733 468308 email@example.com Associate editor Trevor Gehlcken Contributors Mark Cartwright, John Charles, Chris Lowndes (photographs) Production Head of publishing Luke Neal Production editors Andrew Ryan Alan Salt Designer Charlotte Boon Advertising Commercial director Sarah Crown 01733 468320 B2B commercial manager Sheryl Graham 01733 468256 Account managers Lucy Herbert 01733 468800 Heidi Rogers 01733 468269 Lisa Turner 01733 468345 Marcus Woods 01733 468269 Business development manager Stuart Wakeling 01733 468342 Head of project management Leanne Patterson 01733 468332 Project managers Angela Price 01733 468338 Kerry Unwin 01733 468327 Telesales/recruitment firstname.lastname@example.org 01733 468275/01733 468328 Events Event director Chris Lester Event manager Sandra Evitt 01733 468123 Event organiser Kate Howard 01733 468146 Publishing Managing director Tim Lucas 01733 468340 General manager Ian Richardson 01733 468555 Group marketing manager Bev Mason 01733 468295 Office manager Vicky Meadows 01733 468319 Group managing director Rob Munro-Hall Printing: Headley Brothers Ltd, Kent © 2012 Bauer Consumer Media Ltd ISSN 0953-8526. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher. You can purchase words or pictures for your own publications. Phone 01733 465982 or email email@example.com. Fleet News will not accept responsibility for unsolicited material. Editor cannot accept responsibility for statements by advertisers and contributors whose views do not represent those of the publisher. Member of the Audit Bureau of Circulation Copyright: Bauer Consumer Media Ltd
CONTENTS 4 I Best practice: Dealer networks Quick diagnoses and to deal with knowledgeable staff top van operators’ wishlists.
6 I News: FTA training
Operators take first step toward van excellence.
9 I Fleet Van Awards winners
Ford celebrates hat-trick as we reveal this year’s roll of honour.
13 I Risk: Security
Top tips to make life tougher for van thieves.
14 I Environment: Alternative fuels
How to pick the vehicle technology best suited to different fleet demands.
19 I Remarketing
Uncertainty remains over residual values of alternatively-fuelled vans.
22 I Fleet case study: Lafarge
Safety initiatives put company on the road to ‘zero harm’.
24 I Fleet case study: GE Capital Company is serious about increasing its LCV leasing business, says Simon Cook.
26 I Cover feature First drive: Emerald
UK companies are behind a new diesel-electric van offering low CO2 and low fuel consumption
29 I Driven
Fiat Ducato, Renault Trafic long-termer.
NEXT ISSUE – February 2013 Vehicle Whole Type Approval How regulatory changes will impact van fleets
Risk and safety – tyres
Why they need to rise up the fleet agenda
Running costs analysis
A new monthly feature. In the first article we look at city vans: which are cheapest to run?
fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan December 2012 3
B e n c h m a r k i n g b y t h e F TA D e a l e r n et w o r k s
End-of-year report: dealers should try harder Van operators want quick diagnoses and to deal with knowledgeable staff By Mark Cartwright, head of LCVs, Freight Transport Association pend any time talking to van operators and the topic of their relationship with manufacturers and dealers will come up in conversation fairly quickly. We’ve heard both horror stories and those of fantastic support, all of which made the FTA start to think about what van operators really want and expect from dealer networks.
and the requirements of a transport fleet, with specialists and aftersales teams, and this new style van operators being less interested in some of training course was a great success,” says of the creature comforts in return for a quick Alastair Hemmings, national fleet manager at Volkturnaround. swagen Commercial Vehicles. As Vince Dignam, transport manager at City of “We were very pleased to work closely with the London Corporation, puts it: “On the occasions we FTA to develop specialist training that not only have to wait for a vehicle, such as an MOT, I believe ensures our staff have the latest information and refreshments and a working/waiting area are key necessary knowledge, but they also have an for the drivers.” industry recognised qualification.” The single most important issue, however, was the demand to be dealing with knowledgeable What should a dealer be able to provide? What do van operators typically use dealers for? staff. Respondents to our survey were looking for As you’d probably expect, the requirement to Not surprisingly, for many operators the constant an awareness of the operating and legislative maximise vehicle utilisation is key. Operators factor in their dealings revolved around the role of environment vans worked in and not just specific expect vehicle faults to be quickly diagnosed with dealers in the supply of vehicles whether as a product knowledge. a realistic prognosis. They direct purchase or, more often, via the various “It’s vital that dealerships expect appointments for repairs lease and funding providers, or dealing with have staff who understand not to be made within reasonable warranty issues. just the technical specifications timescales and for the dealer to At the other end of the scale, many operators of their vans, but also the rules communicate regularly and looked elsewhere for repairs and servicing – a and regulations around their clearly with the operator. trend the FTA has identified among heavy fleets use,” says John Blakeley, “Generally, dealers do well,” too. This is particularly prevalent in the larger national transport manager at says Dignam. fleets; it may be a sign of there being more Clancy Group. “Many vans are “The biggest issues I have specialist fleet and asset management. used by SMEs who quite had is communication. Dealers possibly don’t always undershould be updating customers. What do operators feel is important at the stand their responsibilities. I have had a lot of occasions dealerships? “Dealers are at the front-line John Blakeley, Clancy Group where I, or members of my We asked fleet managers to score on a scale of in helping smaller companies team, have spent time chasing 1-100 how important they felt it was that their operate safely and efficiently.” repairs which cause operational issues to our dealers provided comfortable waiting areas, courThere does seem to be encouraging signs of business. The customer shouldn’t have to waste tesy vehicles, a collect and return service and had manufacturers taking steps to address this issue. time chasing.” knowledgeable customer-facing staff in both Van Excellence has been providing training to some Respondents to our survey were, in general sales and aftersales. manufacturers’ dealer and fleet sales teams this terms, expecting dealers to diagnose and provide The results make interesting reading. It year using FTA’s Certificate of Excellence in Van a prognosis of vehicle faults within a couple of perhaps illustrates the difference between the Operation training as the basis. hours and, where the van was unusable, for it to way a car dealership interacts with its customers “FTA work with us to train our van sales be booked in within a day or so. The increasing use of hi-cube maximum wheelbase vans is not without its challenges for How quickly should dealers be able to provide a diagnosis and dealer workshops. There are also significant an estimate of the time to repair without a prior appointment? issues around their ability to cope with fullyloaded vans presented for service and, particularly, with faults/breakdown. This is especially important given that we’d estimate more than 70% of vans are used as mobile workstations and are, therefore, always at least partially loaded. Using the same scoring methods as before, respondents felt strongly that dealers must be able to accommodate large and/or loaded vans and to have the right on-site expertise to deal with the various systems and technologies involved with servicing and repairing their vehicles. They also expected dealers to hold the right stocks of components and consumables to support the quick turnaround of their fleet. Having said that, there was an understanding that, on occasions, it might be expedient to use the facilities and expertise of a neighbouring truck specialist provided there was no impact on quality or timings.
“Dealers are at the frontline in helping smaller companies”
4 December 2012 fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan
What do you use main dealers for and how regularly?
EDITOR’S COLUMN Stephen Briers, editor, Fleet Van
afety remains high up the agenda for van fleets, as evidenced by both a recent roundtable we hosted and the entries to the 2012 Fleet Van Awards. The twin drivers are duty of care and cost. Companies have a legal and moral duty to keep their staff safe when they are driving for work, while fewer accidents mean lower insurance premiums and fewer excess pay-outs. Given that many van fleets have huge excesses, they are effectively self-insured, so the savings from fewer crashes go direct to the bottom line.
Is it important dealers...
“Savings from fewer crashes go direct to the bottom line”
How important is it that the dealership...
So what can we conclude? There are clearly many instances of excellent service and support from dealers for operators. There are also clearly areas for improvement. We asked Angus Lindsay, head of assets and fleet at The Landscape Group, how he would rate its dealers: “Reasonable, but would do well to listen and understand the specific needs of the customer rather than dictate on what they think
we need. Every industry is different and they are not experts on all they supply.” A sentiment summed up by a fleet manager who asked not to be named: “Those that have aligned themselves to the truck industry perform better. You cannot treat large van fleets in the same way that you treat the retail public.” Overall it would seem dealers scored a 7/10: should try harder.
A central theme runs across the discussions on safety: tackle driver behaviour and everything else will fall into place. While some companies also place value on safety technology, whether electronic stability control, assisted braking systems or reversing sensors, others are looking much deeper into the root causes of accidents asking: ‘why do they take place?’. This requires extensive data analysis to establish trends which can then be used to tailor training, coaching and incentives policies to drive behavioural change. Many of our Fleet Van Awards winners this year are already well down the route to safety excellence. Turn to page 9 to find out who they are.
fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan December 2012 5
N e w s F TA tr ainin g
Operators take first step towards van excellence Freight Transport Association’s course is now open to all van fleets
By Stephen Briers thought I’d left all this behind more than 20 years ago. In front of me is an exam paper for the Freight Transport Association’s Certificate of Excellence in Van Operations. I’ve just spent the past three hours learning about legislation, maintenance, defect report, driver compliance and a host of other van fleet management topics and now is the moment of truth: how much can I remember? Fortunately, it’s an A-B-C-D multiple choice paper. As the trainer quipped: “You already have a 25% chance of getting it right.” The FTA launched the certificate five months ago as a way to promote and introduce people to its Van Excellence programme. This was only its second ‘public’ course, having previously been undertaken with manufacturers and large fleet members.
“There will be elements that will have you scratching your head”
Five steps to maintaining roadworthiness n Train drivers to carry out walk round checks n Monitor walk round checks n Defect reporting n Undertake rectification n Audit the process/record keeping
Defect reporting is a key part of the course
Six fleets participated and all were using it as the first stepping stone to the Van Excellence code of practice. The format of the halfday course is a trainer – ours was the animated, enthusiastic FTA senior trainer Derek Rose – and a 36-page partcompleted workbook in which to make the additional notes. Interaction was encouraged and a lot of time was spent discussing individual fleet operations and issues faced, which was an unexpected benefit enjoyed by all delegates. The morning begins with an overview of the certificate’s aims – raise van fleet operating standards, improve the sector’s image, highlight practical solutions – and its objectives: improve driver safety, manage an efficient maintenance system, ensure legal compliance, appreciate powers of enforcement agencies. During the morning we learned the definition of terms, from a car-derived van to the meaning of kerbside weight (vehicle plus fuel, tools, oil – i.e. ready to go but excluding drive and load weight) and GTW (gross train weight – the vehicle plus anything being towed). Did you know, for example, that a category B licence entitles someone to drive a car, carderived van and goods vehicle up to 3.5 tonnes, plus tow a trailer up to and including 750kg. These licences were issued after 1997. Anyone with a licence granted before that date has a B+E which entitles them to drive vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes and with a small trailer up to 750kg and a 3.5-tonne vehicle with a trailer more than 750kg. The distinction is crucial and needs to be checked when you first employ a new member of staff. Did you also know that a PG9 is an immediate prohibition meaning the vehicle cannot move until it’s had a full test, but a PG9b is an exemption to prohibition which means the vehicle can move because, for example, it is in an unsafe location? The PG10 is the removal of the prohibitions that is issued by the VOSA inspector after the test
6 December 2012 fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan
post-rectification. Your answer to both questions may well be yes, but I guarantee that there will be elements of this course which have you scratching your head, or at least acting as a reminder of your compliancy requirements. It did for everyone attending on this particular day. And did I pass? Yes – and I have the certificate and Van Excellence gold pin badge to prove it. n The Certificate of Excellence in Van Operations costs £149 per individual, or £550 per company for up to 16 delegates. Contact the FTA at www.fta.co.uk or phone 01892 526171 for details.
This course is well worth the money. For professional fleets it offers a reminder of the safety regulations they should be complying with and the procedures they should be following. Others will learn something new. At the very least you will benefit from networking time with like-minded van fleet operators; an opportunity to discuss issues and challenges your fleet is facing and to hear from others about how they tackle such concerns. Highly recommended.
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*BUSINESS USERS ONLY. Contract Hire is available subject to status and conditions on eligible vehicles registered between 01/10/2012 and 31/12/2012. Guarantees and Indemnities may be required. Example based on 12+35 proﬁle, 10,000 miles per annum on a non-maintained contract. Further charges may be made subject to mileage and condition. Excess mileage will be charged at 6.4 pence per mile (excluding VAT). RAC cover, vehicle excise duty and 3 year/100,000 mile warranty included. Contract Hire Finance provided by Nissan Business Finance, a trading style of Arval UK Limited, Windmill Hill, Swindon SN5 6PE. Model shown is NV200 SE 1.5 dCi priced £13,970 exc. VAT and optional metallic paint at £350. Models subject to availability. Prices correct at the time of going to print. Nissan Motor (GB) Limited, The Rivers Ofﬁce Park, Denham Way, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire WD3 9YS.
Fleet Van Awards
Ford celebrates hat-trick Ranger leads the way in 2012 awards. Here we name all the winners and highly-commended companies
For the fleet categories: Sewells research director John Maslen and FTA head of vans and light commercial vehicles Mark Cartwright. For the supplier categories: John Maslen, Environment Agency head of fleet Dale Eynon and Sainsbury’s Online delivery operations manager Phil Cane. For the van categories: Fleet Van associate editor Trevor Gehlcken, Fleet News deputy editor Simon Harris, George Alexander from Glass’s, Alastair Houston from Northgate, Ken Brown from CAP and Mark Lovett from LeasePlan.
ell done to all of our Fleet Van 2012 awards winners and highly commended companies. The awards luncheon took place on December 5 at Altitude 360 in London and pictures from the day plus a full review of all the awards winners will be published in our February issue of Fleet Van. Below is the roll of honour with the winners chosen by our expert panel of judges. Joining Fleet Van editor Stephen Briers on the panel were:
FLEET VAN AWARDS ROLL OF HONOUR Fleet categories
Driver management initiative Winner n Rhodar Highly commended n Iron Mountain
Safety initiative of the year Winner n FMG for Ingenium Dynamics Highly commended n GreenRoad for its Driver Improvement Loop
City van of the year Winner n Fiat Fiorino Highly commended n Citroën Nemo n Peugeot Bipper
Commercial vehicle of the year Winner n Ford Ranger
Innovation in fleet safety Winner n Balfour Beatty Small public sector fleet Winner n Wakefield and District Housing Highly commended n Gateshead Council Large public sector fleet Winner n South Central Ambulance Service Small private sector fleet Winner n Rhodar Large private sector fleet Winner n DPD Highly commended n Enterprise
Van rental company of the year Winner n SHB Highly commended n Europcar Van fleet management company of the year Winner n Hitachi Capital Highly commended n LeasePlan Supplier of the year Winner n Kwik-Fit
Small van of the year Winner n Volkswagen Caddy Highly commended n Fiat Doblo Cargo n Nissan NV200 Medium panel van of the year Winner n Volkswagen Transporter Large panel van of the year Winner n Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Highly commended n Volkswagen Crafter Pick-up truck of the year Winner n Ford Ranger Highly commended n Isuzu D-Max
Fleet van manufacturer of the year Winner n Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Highly commended n Ford Fleet safety champion of the year (public) Winner n NHS Blood & Transplant Fleet safety champion of the year (private) Winner n Enterprise Highly commended n DPD n MITIE Group
Green van manufacturer Winner n Ford
Please go to www.fleetnews.co.uk/vans/awards-2012/ for the full list of Fleet Van Awards finalists fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan December 2012 9
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R ii ss k k S Se e cc u u rr ii tt yy R
It’s time time to to make make life life It’s tougher for for van van thieves thieves tougher Security top top tips tips Security
Theft and and malicious malicious damage damage is is a a growing growing problem problem Theft
By Trevor Gehlcken By Trevor Gehlcken f you run a fleet of vans, there are two f you run a fleet of vans, there are two inescapable facts of life you have to accept. inescapable facts of life you have to accept. Firstly that your vehicles and their contents Firstly that your vehicles and their contents are at risk of theft and, secondly, there is are at risk of theft and, secondly, there is little an owner can do to stop a really little an owner can do to stop a really determined thief. determined thief. On the plus side, however, is the fact that On the plus side, however, is the fact that most thieves are opportunists – they’ll go for most thieves are opportunists – they’ll go for the easy option. So there are plenty of things the easy option. So there are plenty of things fleet operators can do to protect their valuable fleet operators can do to protect their valuable assets in the hope that thieves will target assets in the hope that thieves will target someone else. someone else. It’s not only vans which are sitting targets. It’s not only vans which are sitting targets. Increasingly in big cities, thieves are targeting Increasingly in big cities, thieves are targeting drivers too. And as an employer it is your duty drivers too. And as an employer it is your duty to try and ensure that your staff don’t fall victim to try and ensure that your staff don’t fall victim to such attacks. to such attacks. Aditionally, vandalism compounds the probAditionally, vandalism compounds the problems they face. lems they face. Insurance specialist Royal and Sun Alliance Insurance specialist Royal and Sun Alliance
reckons 13% of all business vehicle claims are reckons 13% of all business vehicle claims are caused by crime such as theft and malicious caused by crime such as theft and malicious damage, with the average claim around £3,000. damage, with the average claim around £3,000. A spokesman said: “The impact on the A spokesman said: “The impact on the nation’s small businesses doesn’t just stop at nation’s small businesses doesn’t just stop at damage to the vehicle. Owners also lose valudamage to the vehicle. Owners also lose valuable business when vans are off the road and able business when vans are off the road and in repair, sole traders are unlikely to be able to in repair, sole traders are unlikely to be able to work, and micro business owners with small work, and micro business owners with small fleets will find productivity is severely affected. fleets will find productivity is severely affected. “Not only is this type of crime an added “Not only is this type of crime an added stress, but there are further repercussions. stress, but there are further repercussions. Many tradesmen generate new business via Many tradesmen generate new business via word-of-mouth or recommendation. With word-of-mouth or recommendation. With productivity decreased or halted, deadlines productivity decreased or halted, deadlines cannot be met and subsequent jobs may be cannot be met and subsequent jobs may be postponed. It may even result in firms having postponed. It may even result in firms having to turn down work. to turn down work. “This doesn’t bode well in terms of future “This doesn’t bode well in terms of future cash flow, and it may damage a company’s cash flow, and it may damage a company’s good reputation.” good reputation.”
n Drivers should never leave van doors ■ Drivers should never leave van doors unlocked or windows open. unlocked or windows open. n Don’t leave items in view when vans ■ Don’t leave items in view when vans are unattended. Even when drivers are in are unattended. Even when drivers are in the van, they should keep expensive the van, they should keep expensive items out of view. items out of view. n Removable sat-navs should not be left ■ Removable sat-navs should not be left in vehicles. in vehicles. n Take care where parking. If drivers ■ Take care where parking. If drivers have a garage at their home they should have a garage at their home they should use it. Away from home, use secure car use it. Away from home, use secure car parks. Avoid leaving vans in back streets parks. Avoid leaving vans in back streets – choose a well-lit, busy area. – choose a well-lit, busy area. n Drivers should remove all keys from ■ Drivers should remove all keys from vehicles. Never leave keys in the ignition, vehicles. Never leave keys in the ignition, including at a petrol station. including at a petrol station. n Consider fitting even basic physical ■ Consider fitting even basic physical security measures. A steering wheel or security measures. A steering wheel or handbrake lock will deter thieves. Better handbrake lock will deter thieves. Better still, consider an immobilisation system, still, consider an immobilisation system, an alarm, or both. an alarm, or both. n Many vehicles are taken after the keys ■ Many vehicles are taken after the keys have been stolen. Drivers should avoid have been stolen. Drivers should avoid leaving jackets or coats unattended. leaving jackets or coats unattended. Avoid leaving keys where they could Avoid leaving keys where they could easily be seen. easily be seen. n Fleet managers should aim to operate ■ Fleet managers should aim to operate vehicles that have solid rear doors. vehicles that have solid rear doors. n Companies should opt for LCVs with ■ Companies should opt for LCVs with factory-fitted solid bulkheads. It stops factory-fitted solid bulkheads. It stops would-be thieves from breaking into the would-be thieves from breaking into the front of the van and gaining access to the front of the van and gaining access to the rear and vice-versa. rear and vice-versa. n Display stickers on vans that say: ‘No ■ Display stickers on vans that say: ‘No equipment is stored in this vehicle.’ equipment is stored in this vehicle.’ n Operate vans with deadlocks. ■ Operate vans with deadlocks. n If carrying valuable loads in a pick-up, ■ If carrying valuable loads in a pick-up, ensure they are fitted with a solid and ensure they are fitted with a solid and lockable cover. lockable cover.
fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan December 2012 13 fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan December 2012 13
IS PLUGGING IN THE RIGHT CHOICE? How to pick the vehicle technology best suited to different fleet demands
By Trevor Gehlcken n 20 years' time, Fleet Van confidently predicts that light commercial vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells will be a common sight on UK roads, producing smooth, quiet power and emitting nothing but water vapour. This prediction is no wild stab in the dark. Mercedes-Benz already has a handful of fuel-cell Sprinters on test at its R&D headquarters in Stuttgart and some of the buses operating in Hamburg run on fuel cells. Admittedly, we are nowhere near grasping this Holy Grail yet – a Mercedes-Benz spokesman said recently that if a fleet operator wanted to buy one of these ecofriendly models, it would cost in the region of £1 million. But the technology is here and prices will eventually come down to levels where fleets will find it cost-effective. In the meantime, what does the cost-conscious yet environmentally-aware van fleet operator choose? While diesel power is still the choice of the vast majority of operators, there is an everincreasing range of alternatives – and it would be wise to examine these options.
Robert Evans, chief executive officer at Cenex, the centre of excellence for low carbon and fuel cell technologies, told Fleet Van: “With the new and emerging generation of low-carbon vehicles, fleet decision-makers have an alternative to petrol and diesel vehicles that can suit a wide range of applications. “However, given the range and recharging requirements of electric vehicles, duty cycle based wholelife cost modelling is essential for their successful economic and operational integration into day-to-day operations. “Although the trend of using a range of vehicle technologies is increasing, it is recognised that different technologies will deliver different performances across a range of vehicle types and duty cycles. This is why the one-size-fits-all solution no longer applies and greater care needs to be taken in matching the right vehicle to an application. “A significant number of fleet vehicles operate within well-defined parameters. By analysing the duty cycles of fleet vehicles and the activity of each vehicle over a period of time, it is possible to cluster vehicles together and define a selection of
“There is an everincreasing range of alternative fuels”
16 December 2012 fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan
duty cycles for a typical fleet. Combining wholelife costs and a duty cycle approach therefore enables a fleet manager to determine whether a certain technology application meets the financial and operational performance required for the fleet.” Standard wholelife cost modelling already indicates that there is a difference in the distribution of costs, with some difficult to quantify without a trial. However, a duty cycle based wholelife costing approach will take into account the large number of variables beyond simply the purchase price, including costs that will alter over time such as taxes, subsidies, fuel and electricity use. Previous trials have proved the value of the real-world vehicle experience. Evans said: “Due to the issues associated with introducing new low carbon vehicles and supporting infrastructure into fleet operations, we have developed a Fleet Carbon Reduction Tool (FCRT). This allows for the accurate estimation of the carbon reduction performance of different transport fuels and technology options in realworld fleet applications. It is a computer simulation and is designed to be flexible in operation.” (www.cenex.co.uk for details) So let’s look at the various alternative fuels on offer. Here we give some advice on whether or not they are suitable for different fleet operations.
Environment Alternative fuels
Liquefied petroleum gas was the van fleet buzzword in the early noughties until the Government cut subsidies. However, Citroën still offers a factory-fit LPG conversion for Berlingo. Some fleets could still save money with a conversion at around £1,600 per van. LPG conversions only really work on petrol engines which rules out many vehicles. Another downside is the fuel comes from refined petrol so there is no saving on carbon footprint, although tailpipe CO2 emissions tend to be a little lower than petrol. Paul Oxford, business development manager at supplier Autogas, said: “Fleet operators could save a small fortune on their fuel bills for the long-term by converting to LPG." LPG is the cheapest of the three main fuel types at just an average 76.4 pence per litre, less than two-thirds the cost of unleaded.
Unlike LPG, compressed natural gas really is environmentally friendly. Next time you drive past a rubbish tip, look out for the pipes that stick out of the top. Our household garbage produces CNG on its own. CNG can also come from the household gas supply, although critics say that this isn’t as clean as the rubbish tip variety. Filling a van from the household supply also takes a matter of hours, whereas a rubbish tip supply installed at your depot takes just minutes. The downside of CNG is that you can’t actually buy it at filling stations. This may not be an major problem for big fleets as firms such as Gasrec will install a tank for a reasonable price. There are two major runners in the CNG race at present – Mercedes-Benz and Iveco. While the Sprinter is offered as a CNG/ petrol hybrid, the Iveco Daily is CNG only.
Citroën is the only manufacturer to offer an off-the-shelf LPG model – the Berlingo
The Iveco Daily CNG uses fuel recycled from rubbish tips
While hybrid cars such as the Toyota Prius have been making a success in the green arena for many years now, using a mixture of petrol and electric power, there has yet to be a full hybrid van launched. However, things are about to change with the coming of the new range-extender Emerald t-001 in 2014, which is road tested for the first time in this issue of Fleet Van (see p26). Designed and built in Britain, this new van is powered by an lectric motor but also has a small diesel engine which will charge the battery up when it gets low, thus eliminating the range problems suffered by electric vans. It's the same principle as the Vauxhall Ampera. At around £32,000 and offering 232 miles per gallon on official test cycles, this could well be the way forward for UK fleets.
There are two big drawbacks to electric vans – cost and range. Fleets undertaking trips of more than 100 miles a day will immediately discount electric power. But those running less than that could find electric vans suitable, especially if they return to a central hub for overnight charging. As for price, most small vans cost around £40,000 (the Government offers an £8,000 grant) as opposed to £13,000 for a diesel equivalent, unless you opt for the Renault Kangoo ZE which costs between £16,900 to £18,680, with an extra £85 per month for battery lease. With a separate battery lease, the most expensive component could be replaced if found to be faulty. In many cases, the electricity is produced though burning fossil fuels which means CO2 emissions are transferred from tailpipe to power station.
Could the British created Emerald t-001 be the way forward?
The Renault Kangoo ZE has a low front-end price but batteries are hired monthly
fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan December 2012 17
2012 – a steady year but buyer confidence has been fragile Although average used LCV values dropped slightly in November, falling £186 to £4,261 (equivalent to a 4.2% fall), 2012 has been a relatively steady year for the remarketing sector
he past 12 months have been a testing time for market watchers, as values in 2012 have not always followed the traditional patterns we have seen in previous years. However, average prices remain at a much higher level than they were a year ago, despite both mileage and age rising by around 8% in that time, according to Duncan Ward, BCA’s business development manager – commercial vehicles. Ward said: “The overall market peaked in January this year, as rising prices across the board and record sales results meant that average LCV values improved by nearly 5% month-on-month as sold volumes nearly doubled compared to December. “However, the following three months saw falling values as all three sectors of fleet/ lease, dealer part-exchange and nearly-new experienced some price pressure thanks to a combination of softer demand and changing model mix as supply issues continued. Despite this year-on-year values were generally ahead by around 3% to 5% during this period, even with average age and mileage rising by around four months and over 6,000 miles respectively.
April bounceback “There was a small bounceback in April, but May saw the second significant spike in values for 2012 with a marginal increase in fleet & lease prices, but part-exchange values reaching record levels. There was a growing expectation from some vendors
Expectation is that the market will continue to experience a relative shortage of units under five years old in the short- to medium-term that dealers would continue to pay ever higher prices for older, higher mileage vans because stock was short in supply. “However, buyer confidence in the wholesale market was quite fragile and June brought a much needed reality check to the used commercial sector. Average used LCV values fell to their lowest point since August 2011, and generally the summer months were quiet. “The market bounced back in September, a seasonally driven trend as trade buying activity rises to meet the needs of small Source: BCA
Average used LCV values 2011-2012 £5,000
businesses that often look to change their vehicles in the autumn months. October was another strong month for LCV sales and average values improved compared to September and year-on-year. Real and ‘virtual’ footfall increased significantly and the on-going shortage of retail quality stock kept values very firm indeed.
Shortage of units “Our expectation – shared by Professor Peter Cooke at the Centre for Automotive Management, Buckingham University – is that the market will continue to experience a relative shortage of units under five years old in the short- to medium-term. As a result of the lower new van sales since 2008 and the trend for larger businesses to hold on to vans for longer, it will continue to be difficult to source good quality used LCV stock and this means values are likely to remain reasonably firm as a result. “These supply side issues are compensating for the rather fragile levels of trade buyer confidence, which mirrors the wider economic conditions that the typical used van buyer – small businesses and sole traders – are operating under.”
Europe’s No.1 vehicle remarketing company log on to www.british-car-auctions.co.uk or call 0844 875 3480
Remarketing Alternative fuels
Uncertainty remains over alternatively-fuelled vans Small numbers of LCVs going to auction give little indication of market trends
By Trevor Gehlcken ost van fleet operators understand the importance of basing their buying decisions on wholelife costs (after first creating a short-list based on fit for purpose). The equation is fairly simple – it’s a three-way juggling affair between how much the van costs in the first place, how much it costs to run during its working life and how much it is worth at selling time. Simple maybe in the case of diesel-powered vans where there is lots of data available to the fleet operator who wants to know more. But when it comes to alternatively-fuelled vans, the equation is more complex. The fact is that there simply aren’t sufficient numbers of these vans going through auction to make any clear predictions. When they do appear, it seems that the UK’s hard-nosed used buyers are suspicious in the extreme – and who can blame them when their livelihoods depend on being able to buy vehicles, patch them up a little and sell them again for a quick profit? In the case of LPG, which proved popular around 10 years ago until Government incentives for using it were removed, experts at BCA said used values lagged behind those of diesel. Duncan Ward, BCA’s general manager commercial vehicles, commented: “We see a small volume of LPG vans reaching the remarketing sector. A number of aftermarket conversion specialists supply the marketplace, as the majority of commercial vehicle manufacturers now focus on hybrid electric and low CO2 alternatives. “The key issue for all alternatively-fuelled LCVs is acceptability in the small business sector that typically purchases used vans, because they will drive the demand in the used market. The general rule of thumb is where corporate fleets go, small businesses follow, and the majority of fleets have been almost exclusively diesel for many years. “This means LPG and petrol commercial vehicles are rarely seen in the wholesale market – just 11 petrol and five LPG were listed out of nearly 1,600 commercial vehicles consigned for sale at BCA in mid-November. This has a direct effect on the values achieved in the wholesale market, which shows steady values for diesel, while petrol and LPG values are lagging well behind.” Regarding electric vans, buyers are remaining cautious too. Ward said: “There is undoubtedly a lot of interest in electric power to combat the rising cost of traditional fuels, with fleets, leasing companies and end users looking for economical and environmentally-friendly alternatives in the commercial vehicle sector.
A Smith Edison Transit electric van sold for £2,500 over CAP last year
“However, anecdotal reports suggest users still 0.5% of all vans sold by Manheim. LPG is the most have concerns over the front end costs of electric predominant, with around 100 sold in the halls vehicles and there are questions often raised over over the past 18 months. The average age of LPG battery life and range anxiety, all of which apply vans sold to the end of October is 100 months, or equally to used buyers in the wholesale market. just over eight years, while average mileage “Examples that do reach the hovers around the 91,000 mark. used market have to be competiHe said: “Demands differ tively valued and be complete with between buyers of new and used a full service history if they are to vans. Take first-generation electric be remarketed successfully.” vans as an example. New demand A few used electric vehicles are was all too often driven by public now beginning to trickle through perception, competitor activity and the auction halls, and James environmental credentials. Davies, head of commercial vehi“In the majority of cases they cles at Manheim, said: “Examples were significantly more expensive of the kind of electric vehicles to operate on a wholelife cost basis going through include a 2007 compared to standard combustion Duncan Ward, Modec box van with 41,578 miles engine vehicles. Due to van funding BCA on the clock which sold this time solutions, the business case for last year for over £10,000. electric vans often struggled to “In February last year, a 2007 Edison Transit stack up externally. T350M panel van with 6,000 miles on the clock “Consequently major van operators in food, logissold for £2,500 over CAP. When compared to the tics and infrastructure sectors preferred to fund value of an equivalent diesel-engined Ford Transit, them internally; many from marketing budgets, the Smith Edison achieved 129% of the diesel almost speculatively it could be said. model’s book price.” “Electric vans were branded to But, said Davies, alternatively-fuelled vans showcase the operator’s environremain a rarity at auction, accounting for less than mental credentials and operated in a
“Questions are often raised over battery life and range”
fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan December 2012 19
Re em m aa rr k ke e tt ii n ng g A A ll tt ee rr n n aa tt ii vv ee ff u u ee ll ss R small radius radius of of their their urban urban base base small right under under their their customers’ customers’ noses.” noses.” right While LPG LPG technology technology relies relies on on While the combustion combustion engine engine and and theretherethe fore gains gains the the confidence confidence of of the the used used buyer, buyer, itit fore should not not be be forgotten forgotten that that electric electric vehicles vehicles have have should been on the roads for more than 100 years. been on the roads for more than 100 years. However, said said Davies: Davies: “The “The value value of of any any asset asset However, is driven by supply and demand. Condition and is driven by supply and demand. Condition and usage are are effectively effectively complications complications that that combine combine usage to influence influence values values significantly. significantly. The The term term ‘fit ‘fit for for to purpose’ is is entirely entirely different different between between first first and and purpose’ second life life users, users, especially especially if, if, at at decision decision time, time, aa second more traditional traditional technology technology is is available available in in greater greater more numbers and and therefore therefore offering offering better better value. value. numbers “Some traders traders will will happily happily stock stock something something aa “Some little different different but but itit may may take take months months and and aa lot lot of of little hard work work to to secure secure aa retail retail margin. margin. As As with with all all hard vehicles, itit pays pays to to understand understand the the costs costs of of vehicles, replacement components, components, such such as as battery battery cells, cells, replacement should the the originals originals fail.” fail.” should All is is not not doom doom and and gloom gloom on on the the eco-fuel eco-fuel front front Values of of petrol petrol and and LPG LPG vans vans are are far far more more erratic erratic than than those those of of diesel diesel LCVs LCVs All Values at disposal disposal time, time, according according to to Alex Alex Wright, Wright, at managing director director of of Shoreham Shoreham Vehicle Vehicle Auctions. Auctions. managing Hesaid saidsome somemakes makeswere weremore moreaccepted acceptedthan than Whenititcomes comesto toelectric electricvehicles, vehicles,Wright Wrightis isnot not keep keep on on the the road. road. The The uncertainty uncertainty meant meant prices prices He When others and and as as they they prove prove themselves themselves in in the the new new so sure. sure. He He said: said: “Buyers “Buyers of of electric electric vehicles vehicles need need were were lower lower than than you you would would have have expected expected for for this this others so marketand andnames namesof ofmakes makesand andmodels modelsbecome become tobe beable ableto toaccess accessshort-term short-termleasing leasingof ofbatteries batteries type type of of vehicle.” vehicle.” market to more widely widely known, known, that that will will be be because the the capital capital costs costs are are far far too too JonMitchell, Mitchell,UK UKsales salesdirector directorat atonline onlineauction auction more Jon because reflected at at auction. auction. high for for companies companies to to invest invest in in firm firm Autorola, Autorola, takes takes aa more more positive positive approach approach to to reflected high Wright said: “The Toyota Prius them. In addition, we need a standthe sales of electric vans. Wright said: “The Toyota Prius them. In addition, we need a stand- the sales of electric vans. hybrid car car has has been been around around for for ardisation of of the the batteries batteries and and He said: said: “Whenever “Whenever there there is is something something out out of of hybrid He ardisation more than 10 years, yet the acceptconnection points within the the ordinary, the market is inevitably wary. As long more than 10 years, yet the accept- Price reached for a Modec connection points within the the ordinary, the market is inevitably wary. As long reached for a Modec industry in the same way we have as we don’t see large volumes coming to auction, ance of of the the vehicle vehicle at at auction auction and and Price ance industry in the same way we have as we don’t see large volumes coming to auction, truck EV EV at at auction auction truck among traders has been gradual. standards for for the the simple simple electric electric we we think think the the market market will will easily easily absorb absorb alternaalternaamong traders has been gradual. standards We sold sold aa batch batch of of sixsix- to to sevensevenplugs. This This will will strengthen strengthen trust trust and and tively-fuelled tively-fuelled vehicles. vehicles. We plugs. year-old Toyota Toyota Prius Prius cars cars recently recently which which made made understanding in in the the products. products. “With aa good good two two years years to to go go before before we we see see year-old “With understanding good money money (for (for example example aa standard standard seven-yearseven-year“For example, example, we we recently recently sold sold aa batch batch of of 10 10 them them in in any any great great number, number, confidence confidence could could well well good “For old typically typically made made £5,500 £5,500 and and aa standard standard fourfourModec truck truck EVs, EVs, which which cost cost £65,000 £65,000 new, new, for for have have grown grown in in electric electric vehicles, vehicles, but but ifif we we have have old Modec year-old version version £8,000) £8,000) because because their their hybrid hybrid £1,500 each each from from aa public public utility. utility. However, However, once once significant significant numbers numbers at at once, once, the the market market could could be be year-old £1,500 technology has has proved proved itself.” itself.” we take take into into account account that that they they were were sold sold as as nonnon- halted halted in in an an instant. instant. Even Even as as many many as as 10 10 in in one one technology we runners –– without without batteries batteries which which cost cost £30,000 £30,000 to to batch batch could could have have aa detrimental detrimental effect effect –– itit needs needs to to runners replace and and have have aa shelf-life shelf-life of of five five years years –– and and be be slowly slowly and and softly. softly. replace had also also sustained sustained damage damage to to the the drive drive train, train, you you “Having said said all all that, that, diesels diesels were were aa ‘no ‘no go’ go’ for for “Having had can understand understand why why the the bidding bidding was was so so low. low. tradersfor foryears yearsand andnow nowthey theydon’t don’twant wantanything anything traders can “Usedbuyers buyersare areonly onlyinterested interestedin inwhether whetherthe the but but diesels diesels so so alternative-fuelled alternative-fuelled vehicles vehicles have have “Used vehicle has has aa second second life life and and what what itit will will cost cost to to the the potential potential to to repeat repeat history.” history.” vehicle
Average LCV LCV used used values values 2011-2012 2011-2012 Average
“Alternative-fuelled “Alternative-fuelled vans have have the the potential potential vans to repeat repeat history” history” to Jon Mitchell, Mitchell, Autorola Autorola Jon
20 December December 2012 2012 fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan 20
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Choosing roofbars shouldnâ€™t take time from the important things in life
0191 2964 295
Company-wide driver safety initiatives put company on the road to ‘zero harm’
A SAFETY MESSAGE SET IN CONCRETE
By John Charles he word accident is not in the vocabulary of Lafarge, a major player in the UK construction sector. Instead it opts for the word incident as it works toward a culture of ‘zero harm’. In 2007, Lafarge CEO Bruno Lafont declared: “When it comes to safety, I believe the only acceptable number is zero.” On the road, in the office or on site, Lafarge, the world’s largest cement producer and respectively the second and fourth largest producer of aggregates and concrete to the construction industry, aims to reach zero fatalities and virtually eliminate lost-time incidents by 2020. A lost-time incident refers to an incident where an employee is unable to return to work the following day. Last year two lost-time incidents were recorded across the UK business and in 2012 two were recorded in the first two months of the year with none recorded in the second quarter. Three months with no lost-time incidents recorded is rewarded with an extra day’s holiday for all employees. With health and safety a core facet of Lafarge’s DNA, a comprehensive driver training programme has been introduced for its 300 van drivers, almost exclusively employed within the Lafarge Aggregates & Concrete UK business. But for Nick Elliott, national transport manager at Lafarge Aggregates & Concrete UK, the programme is not about teaching employees to drive, but about supporting an ongoing safety-driven business-wide cultural change. New vans used to be delivered on site to drivers with no formal handover
22 December 2012 fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan
procedure. Today, drivers have to make their current vehicle available for inspection at the company’s Leicestershire headquarters, prior to receiving the keys to their new van. The official handover also includes a briefing on special features in the new van and an explanation of how the company expects the vehicle to be treated. Elliott says: “We want to help drivers understand their responsibilities and show them that, as a business, we care about them and the vans they drive. The process has been running for almost 12 months and it is very successful. For some employees it means a round trip of 200 miles or more, but it is part of cultural change. For many people, their company car is their pride and joy, but that is not necessarily true among people who drive vans.” For more than eight years Lafarge has insisted on a reverse park only policy in company car parks so that employees can see clearly when they exit the space into a live lane. It has, Elliott said, become so much part of the company culture that if an employee forward parks a colleague will pick them up on the manoeuvre. The company’s additional day off linked to lost-time incidents is described as a “great incentive and fantastic reward”. Lafarge’s emphasis is very much on employees taking responsibility for their own actions with regards to health and safety, although planned measures likes its formal driver training programme have been introduced. Another initiative is the mobile telephone-related It’s Your Call. Rather than banning mobile phone use, Lafarge is urging its employees to
Fleet case study Lafarge
“The programme has received an excellent reception from drivers Nick Elliott, Lafarge Aggregates and Concrete UK Meanwhile, the company, in partnership with Balfour Beatty Plant & Fleet Services, has introduced a specialist driver training programme for light commercial 4x4 off-road users. Lafarge and Balfour Beatty, the international construction and engineering company, have strong trading links and the latter has developed and launched its own bespoke multi-award winning Driver Risk Management Programme for commercial vehicle drivers. Backed by the Lafarge board, the initiative supplements the GE-supported training, involves van drivers completing a detailed online assessment – the Driver Risk Index – that determines an individual’s risk profile.
Company: Lafarge Aggregates and Concretes National transport manager: Nick Elliott LCV fleet size: 270 LCV brands on fleets: Vauxhall Combo and Corsa, Ford Transit and Ranger, Toyota Hilux, Citroën Berlingo XTR Funding method: Contract hire Operating cycle: four years/120,000 miles
carefully consider whether they make or answer a call while driving. “The initiative makes it clear what the company’s view is,” Elliott says. “We believe it is a move towards a voluntarily policed policy where no one uses a mobile telephone while driving. “We work in a dangerous environment and it needs to be managed with the right attitude. Safety is as much a cultural skill as a practical one.” Lafarge has a leased fleet of 270 light commercial vehicles with a fouryear/120,000-mile replacement policy. In the sub two-tonne sector it operates Vauxhall Combo and Corsa models, while above that weight vehicles are typically Ford Transits in a multitude of guises to fit different job needs. There are also 45 4x4s, which are particularly required for use in quarries and include Ford Rangers, Toyota Hilux and an off-road version of the Citroën Berlingo XTR. Switch to GE Capital In 2010, Lafarge switched leasing suppliers for its car and van fleet and opted for GE Capital. The move led to the implementation of a company car driver risk programme, which contributed to Lafarge (UK) Services winning this year Fleet News Awards’ Fleet of Year (501-1,000 vehicles) category. Initially almost half of Lafarge’s drivers completed the programme – included as part of the leasing arrangements with GE – which features a questionnaire, online training and, if required, one-to-one on-the-road training. Lafarge is putting its remaining 160 van drivers through the initiative.
Tailored training programme The risk rating determines the level of driver training required – typically e-learning or one-to-one on- and off-road. Crucially, the one-to-one training involves specialist off-road training. Elliott says: “Driving a 4x4 off-road and in quarries is vastly different to driving a car on the road. So we have developed a tailored version of the training programme so employees drive the vehicle under the guidance of Balfour Beatty trainers in work-related conditions. “The GE programme continues to run successfully for company car and van drivers. “While we have initially focused on providing one-to-one training for employees who drive 4x4s, we will be involving all other drivers, including ‘grey fleet’ employees, who don’t have a company allocated vehicle and those who drive to and from work but typically don’t drive on business. It is all about driving cultural change through the organisation.” Underpinning Lafarge’s van driver training programme is an established valid driver licence checking procedure and a campaign of frequent communication, as highlighted by the It’s Your Call mobile phone campaign. Further support comes through Lafarge’s Visible Felt Leadership programme. Established for more than six years, it involves managers visiting sites, talking to employees and helping them to perform tasks more efficiently, effectively and safely. Elliott, who is charged with completing 48 Visible Felt Leadership hours a year, says: “It is a tool to improve employees’ understanding and way of working and is very effective.” ‘The initiative is the brainchild of Driving Standard Agency approved driving instructor Michael Pattinson, senior health safety quality and environmental manager at Lafarge, who has trained a team of managers to deliver the programme. Elliott says: “We are going out with van drivers and observing their skills and dispensing advice; encouraging them to think about their actions and manoeuvres and drive smoothly and safely. The programme is gathering momentum and has received an excellent reception from drivers.” Last year Lafarge vans were involved in 63 incidents. In the first half of this year, the figure is about 20 incidents. None of the incidents resulted in injuries to employees. “We needed to introduce driver training because I believed our next serious incident involving a fatality or serious injury would be in a van. Unless we introduced driver training and further changed the culture from ‘it’s only a van’ I believed that we could have a major problem,” Elliott says, adding: “Training for van drivers is the latest initiative, but the cultural shift is massive and has already contributed to a reducing number of incidents.” In 12 months he hopes “the mindset of our drivers is in a different place to where it is now and that they care even more about the impact that they have when they are on the road and their personal well-being. “I also expect to see a reduction in incident frequency and cost and a reduction in vehicle service, maintenance and repair bills and improved fuel consumption as a consequence of a smoother driving style.”
fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan December 2012 23
VANS TAKE CENTRAL ROLE FOR GE CAPITAL Range of measures shows company is serious about LCVs, says Simon Cook
By Simon Harris ooking through some of the largest van fleets in the UK, fewer choose to procure vehicles through contract hire than purchase them outright. Analysis from the Fleet200 reveals that even many of those with company car schemes funded through contract hire often prefer to buy LCVs. According to Simon Cook, leader of GE Capital Fleet Services vans division, one of the reasons for this is that few leasing companies have a strong reputation for commercial vehicles, or for understanding the specific needs of van operators. He tells Fleet Van: “There is a big difference between cars and vans, not least a requirement from customers of an understanding of any issues surrounding ancillary equipment. Vans are always tools for the job. It’s an area that is much misunderstood.” Cook is a former general manager of TLS (GE Capital’s van rental division which was wound down in 2009), and has more than 25 years’ experience in the commercial vehicle arena. He says: “More than 18 months ago, our fleet business sought to understand and provide a bespoke van offering for customers. Many of our fleet customers operate vans alongside company cars. “I have both van experience and GE knowledge. We set up a dedicated van
GE Capital Fleet Services has had two Ford Transit electric vehicles for more than a year
24 December 2012 fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan
team in the fleet department and now have what we call a centre of excellence for vans. “The team deals with specific enquiries, consult with, order, progress, deliver and account manage everything van. “We intend to grow LCV fleet alongside our car fleet, and vans will not merely be a ‘bolt-on’ part of our fleet.” Cook says GE Capital currently provides customers with more than 2,000 vans, suggesting this is a substantial size for a leasing company in the UK. It’s part of a global fleet of more than 200,000 vans. Van Excellence programme accreditation GE Capital was the first leasing company to be awarded accreditation to the Freight Transport Association’s Van Excellence programme. The initiative is industry led and aims to improve standards of van operator compliance and highlight operators who demonstrate excellence and represent the interests of the van industry. To achieve the Van Excellence certificate, organisations must prove their ability through an audit by the FTA. This was something targeted by Cook and his team at an early stage to ensure its services and activities were given independent approval by a highprofile commercial vehicle industry body. “We were given Van Excellence accreditation at the Commercial Vehicle Show in 2011,” says Cook. “We used to be seen as a business that did vans and now we are seen as having expertise and a centre of excellence.” The first target early in 2011, along with achieving FTA Van Excellence accreditation, was to build an expert team. Cook refers to it as a centre for excellence. “We manage the elements of running a van business, maintenance, residual values and internal systems to have
Industry spotlight GE Capital Fleet Ser vices
Simon Cook: ‘We want to be the people customers go to for EVs’
a network that is capable of providing a total package and the expertise needed,” he says. He adds that the elements of the service that make it stand out include the level of support for customers where GE Capital is able to accommodate particular requirements or conversions. “We have strong relationships with premium converter companies,” Cook says. “One of the areas where we needed to improve our offering was the supply of relief vehicles, and we have succeeded in doing this.” Cook says that the company now has a great deal of credibility as a van specialist.
outlet and a full charge can be completed in about eight hours. “Since we’ve introduced the demonstrators, they have been booked out almost permanently,” says Cook. “We loan them for several weeks at a time so customers can get a really good feel for how they would work on their fleets. “The van is an ideal size and we’ve had very positive feedback about them. It’s a shame that there won’t be another similar vehicle [an electric version of the Nissan NV200] on the market for a year.” GE Capital had previously signed a Europe-wide deal with PSA to buy 1,000 electric cars, so while the company accepts that electric vehicles serve a niche in the market, it also believes they are here to stay Strong background in commercial vehicles “We want to be the people customers go to for EVs,” Cook says the commercial vehicles division has a broad says Cook. focus, from 50-vehicle fleets that need a combination of “We have achieved a lot of credibility with van fleets and high quality with competitive pricing, to major blue chip if they decide they need to operate electric vehicles then companies that are looking for a complete, consultative, they won’t need to go anywhere else.” outsourced service. Cook says GE Capital is targeting growth in its vans diviKey members of the team have a strong background in sion over the next few years, but this will be a challenge commercial vehicles and this expertise is also enhanced by given the slow economic recovery from recession and Simon Cook, GE Capital GE Key Solutions’s fleet consultancy group in identifying and when many companies have been lengthening vehicle Fleet Services recommending the optimum LCV fleet policy: where fitness replacement cycles and allowing vehicles to age before for purpose, long-term savings and efficiencies are top of the agenda. defleeting them. Cook says examples and case studies of the Key Solutions group enabling Similarly, with many companies still finding trading conditions difficult, fleet operators to achieve significant savings have been well documented. many decide to use a combination of contract hire and short-term rental for And while it has been gaining a reputation for commercial vehicle expervans, Cook says, trying to avoid “keeping all their eggs in one basket”. tise, it has also been trying to establish itself as one of the key providers of But there are some positive signs for the future, with some buoyant electric vehicles on contract hire. residual values in the van market. “We’ve had two Ford Transit Connect electric vans available as demonCook hopes that a stronger return on defleeted vehicles might encourage strators for more than a year now,” says Cook. some van operators who had been running their vehicles for longer to come “Unfortunately, because of financial problems with the company that back to the market for replacement, while at the same time some larger provided the electric technology for Ford, it is no longer available.” corporate clients are forging ahead with new vehicles. The Transit Connect Electric has a top speed of 75mph and a range of up He is hoping these elements will help promote a stronger economic to 80 miles. recovery, allowing the company to increase its van fleet as it continues to Its lithium-ion battery pack is charged with a standard 240v power strive for excellence.
“Vans will not merely be a ‘bolt-on’ part of our fleet”
fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan December 2012 25
First drive Emerald
A green solution for van fleets – made in Britain UK companies are behind a cost-effective alternative to the diesel engine Need to know n Plug-in van always uses electric power n Diesel engine eliminates range anxiety n Payload of 1,400kg
By Trevor Gehlcken he road to a more environmentally-friendly form of commercial vehicle transportation is littered with side turnings and dead ends. In the past 10 years we have seen LPG, CNG, biofuels, electric power and bolt-on hybrids appear. But none has so far proved a credible and cost-effective alternative to the diesel engine. Now, at last, a viable solution is on the horizon – and the great news is that this new vehicle has been designed and built by Britons in Britain. The Emerald t-001, which is due to go into full production in 2014, is unique in the world of LCVs. It runs on an electric motor, which is supplemented by a small diesel engine when the power gets low, thus solving the age-old range problem that dogs fullelectric vans. But the difference between this and other hybrids is that the diesel motor doesn’t power the wheels – it is purely there to maintain battery charge to power the motor. It kicks in when battery power gets down to 25%.
“We have been offered incentives over seven years” Andy Tempest, Emerald Automotive
Specification Power (bhp/rpm): 100.5/n/a Torque (lb-ft/rpm): 442/0 Load volume (cu m): 5.2 Payload (kg): 1,400 Fuel economy (mpg): 232 CO2 emissions (g/km): 31.4 Price (estimated): £32,000
The computer on the dash controls all the vans functions
The sad news is that the vehicle is likely to end up being built in America, to be ‘flatpacked’ and sent to assembly plants in various European countries. So far in tests, the van has returned 232mpg and more than 400 miles on a six-gallon tank of fuel, while emitting just 31.4g/km of CO2. However, the fuel consumption is likely to be much higher than the test cycle figure over a full tank given six gallons and 400 miles equates to 67mpg, including its plug-in charge. Payload is 1,400kg and load volume is 5.2 cubic metres. It is expected to gain a five-star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests. The Emerald is the culmination of three years’ work by two companies, Revolve and IE-LEV, and has been partly funded by the Government’s Technology Strategy Board. Revolve built an aluminium chassis for the van and made all the panels from plastic rather than metal. It then sourced front and rear suspension, differential, brakes, steering and cooling and heating systems from the Ford Transit, together with a 1.4-litre diesel engine from the smaller Fiestavan. Other parts come from British companies Multimatic, Axeon, Eve-Electric, Ricardo, Penso, RDVS and Umeco. In an interview with Fleet Van, Emerald Automotive chief executive officer Andy Tempest said: “We have only built two of these vehicles so far and would love to put them into full production in the UK as they have been designed, sourced and built here. “But we have to be realistic and we have been approached by the state of Missouri in the USA. The Ford and Chrysler factories in St Louis recently closed and they are desperate to get new firms to come to the city and provide jobs. “We have been offered incentives over a seven-year period and no-one else has come up with an offer that anywhere near matches this, although no final decision has yet been made.” Tempest envisages producing 5,000 units in the first year, going up in increments of 10,000 units per year with a target of 100,000 after 10 years. First targets will be the UK and Germany, followed by other European countries and possibly North America. One of the problems with electric vans, in addition to their limited range, is price but Tempest envisages a cost of around £32,000 for the Emerald, which would mean payback in two years, even ignoring savings such as entering the London congestion zone. No dealer networks are to be set up but instead the firm will be targeting fleet buyers direct.
Verdict Sports seats offer superb comfort, but may not feature in the production model
26 December 2012 fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan
The build quality is superb, the price is reasonable and the running costs are amazingly low. If this van doesn’t set the UK sales charts alight in two years’ time, then LCV operators will be missing out on a very large trick.
All the Emerald’s side panels are moulded plastic
Behind the wheel The problem with niche vehicles put together by anyone other than the major van manufacturers is that they often look like Heath Robinson affairs knocked up in someone’s back garden. There’s certainly nothing of that in the Emerald’s design – take a look at the pictures and you’ll see a vehicle that simply oozes style and is eminently fitting for the 21st century fleet driver. Touch the Emerald and you’ll find something completely different too. All the body panels are moulded plastic and they are made to withstand pretty hefty knocks without crumpling or smashing to pieces. Look underneath and in the rear of the van and another surprise awaits. A hefty chassis and cargo area floor are made from aluminium – this vehicle is as far away from the mainstream rivals as you can get. There is a reason for the plastic and
aluminium – to save weight so that the van has a reasonable payload. We’d say it was more than reasonable: at 1,400kg it carries more than both the Citroën Dispatch and the short-wheelbase Ford Transit. The space age styling continues in the cab. There are two sports seats that offer superb comfort and support (although these may not make it to final production stage) and in the middle console are a van driver’s crucial coffee cup holders and cola bottle bins – two of each. There are a few knobs and switches that we recognised from the Ford Transit but in place of the usual dials, there are two screens in the middle of the dash. The top one reads out all the info such as speed and battery power while the bottom one is a computer which controls all the van’s functions such as turning the diesel engine on and off. It’s a proper PC too and will eventually be connected to both sat-nav
and fleet management systems so that operators can keep an eye on their drivers. The designers really are aiming for top quality here and so ABS brakes, electronic stability control, air-conditioning and a full set of airbags come as standard. Emerald does not intend to mess about with paid-for options lists. What you see is what you get. My test drive took place at the Millbrook Proving Ground and very nearly ended after 10 yards or so when an Italian driver in a brand new Ferrari cut across my bows at speed and nearly took me out. ABS, ESP and God knows what else leapt into action as my heart was leaping into my mouth and we slammed to a stop, cursed and carried on with the test. At least I know all the emergency gear works well! And what a sweet vehicle this is to drive. The engineers who were in charge of the
Emerald’s ride and handling were mostly former McLaren and Lotus engineers and this van really did feel like a sports car on the track, with crisp handling on the corners and wonderful ‘chuckability’ – although of course that sort of capability may be viewed as a minus point by fleet managers. With max torque coming straight from standstill, this van fairly flies and on the banked high-speed bowl we hit 80mph with no problem. The Emerald will be governed down to this speed when it goes on sale. At the end of my drive and after my interview with the chiefs at Emerald, I really did feel proud to be British – and that’s a feeling I haven’t had for a long time. Once again, we Brits have taken up a challenge, chewed it around and have come up with an admirable solution, designed and built here in the UK. It’s just a shame the Yanks look like getting all the glory.
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D r i v e n F i a t D u c a t o L 2 H 1 3 5 11 0 b h p
Facelifts keep Ducato looking fresh Fiat van comes in four power options and three lengths
Ducato swallows up to 10 cubic metres of cargo
What’s new? n 110bhp engine feels lively n More than 40mpg on the combined cycle n ESC only an option
By Trevor Gehlcken he Fiat Ducato was first launched in 1981. This thirdgeneration model came to market in 2006 and the version on test here was facelifted and improved last year. The models on offer in 2012 are more stylish, more refined and far more economical than their predecessors – who’d have believed 31 years ago that a 3.5-tonne panel van like this could return more than 40 miles per gallon on the combined cycle? Our test model is the medium wheelbase low roof variant with the lowest power output of 110bhp – we chose this is it is likely to be one of the big fleet sellers. Weighing in at £22,295, the van features a 2.3-litre Euro5 diesel powerplant with a standard six-speed box. The Ducato range also features 130bhp, 148bhp and 177bhp models in three lengths and two roof heights but these cost anything up to £29,895,
thus adding significantly to company costs. In the back, the Ducato swallows a healthy 10 cubic metres of cargo weighing up to 1,600kg and this van features what could be a record number of load lashing eyes – 13 to be precise, including five halfway up the sides where they are really needed. Until recently, all vans had lashing eyes only on the floor. Standard specification includes electric windows and heated mirrors, height adjustable driver’s seat, full steel bulkhead, central remote locking, ABS brakes and a driver’s airbag. However, we are concerned to note that electronic stability control, which stops sideways skids and has been called the best safety aid since the seatbelt, still remains on the options list at £348.50. Also among the options which we consider to be ‘must haves’ for any fleet are rear parking sensors at £230.50 and load floor protection at £384.25.
“It features what could be a record number of load lashing eyes”
Fiat’s biggest van will make a cost-effective and pleasing addition to any fleet and we really can’t see any point in paying extra for higher-powered models. Once again, we give a big thumbs down for the fact that ESC remains a paid-for extra.
Behind the wheel When you drive a variety of different vans as I do for a living, you soon begin to sort out the good ones from the not-quite-so-good. And Fiat will no doubt be pleased to learn that the Ducato, along with its twin brothers the Citroën Relay and Peugeot Boxer, come pretty near the top of my favourites list. So what makes them so good? For starters, they have amazingly stylish looks for a panel van – not the biggest tick in the list of fleet must-haves admittedly, but they’ll help give your company a stylish and upmarket look if they carry your logo. Then there is the driver’s seat, which must be among the best on the market. Figure hugging and hugely supportive, it features ample side and lumbar support and will protect the driver from back twinges on long journeys. And the passenger seats aren’t bad either – none of your slabs of concrete here. Both are just as comfortable on long journeys as the driver’s seat. On the road, the engine is silky smooth, gearchanges snick into place quietly, power steering is weighted just right and overall, you could for all the world be driving a big car. This is the lowest powered variant on offer but it felt lively and responsive and should do for most fleet purposes unless you intend carrying full loads up and down hilly areas. In fact, the only item that really bugs me about the Ducato is the fact that the nearest coffee cup holder is across the other side of the dashboard. It’s not a hanging offence admittedly, but nevertheless a pain in the posterior if you have a cup of Nero’s best at your side.
Specification Gross vehicle weight (kg): 3,500 Power (bhp/rpm): 110/3,600 Torque (lb-ft/rpm): 221/1,800 Load volume (cu m): 10.0 Payload (kg): 1,600 Comb fuel economy (mpg): 40.9 CO2 emissions (g/km): 189 Price as tested (ex-VAT): £22,295
fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan December 2012 29
L o n g - t e r m t e s t R e n a u l t Tr a f i c
Stylish elegance and comfort It’s been around for 11 years but the Traffic can still leave the opposition behind
New to Fleet Van, the Renault Trafic Sport
Need to know n Sport model has styling enhancements n Achieves 40.9mpg on the combined cycle n Model now entering its 12th year on sale
By Trevor Gehlcken ome of the best commecial vehicles launched over recent years have been the result of co-operation between van manufacturers. Although I’ve mentioned the word ‘recent’ here, it’s hard to believe that some of the vans available today have been around for a long time. We’ve recently taken delivery of a new Renault Trafic, which will be used by Fleet Van for the next 12 months. This van was first revealed to the public in September 2000 as a collaboration between Renaol and Opel/Vauxhall, and with a series of updates and honing over the last decade it still manages to make a stong case for itself alongside newer rivals. When I first drove the Trafic in 2001 I noted it was the only launch I can ever remember when two rival van manufacturers actually put their differences aside and got together for a single presentation. But what really stood out was that this new van was so much better than anything that had gone before – it really was a quantum leap forward. Although most of these vans that you see on UK roads carry the Vauxhall moniker and were built
at Luton, it is fair to say that this vehicle is a metallic paint is a waste of time should stop and Renault at heart. It was designed by Renault and consider just what an upmarket, quality story a since its introduction, Nissan has also joined in vehicle like this will say about the company which with the project selling the same vehicle as the runs it and has its logo emblazoned on the side. Primastar. This van simply exudes style and elegance. Since the Trafic first arrived on UK roads a There are also residual values to think about. Put a van like this through the auction halls and whole host of other variants have become availit will stand out among the typical workhorse variable, including the Trafic Sport that we have on ants, and attract significantly greater interest and test. higher bids from used van buyers – they just can’t Given our extensive previous experience of the get enough of them. It’s a simple question of Trafic and its Vauxhall Vivaro and Nissan speculating and accumulating Primastar counterparts, we really. expect a year of hugely enjoyThe model on test here has a able motoring ahead with the basic price of £19,870 ex-VAT but Trafic able to cope with any task Gross vehicle weight (kg): 3,005 with a few added extras that required of it. Now you would Power (bhp/rpm): 115/3,500 Renault has added to the vehicle, expect that after 11 years, this Torque (lb-ft/rpm): 221/1,500 the price rises to £20,930. van would be getting a tad grey Load volume (cu m): 5.0 The Trafic only arrived a few round the gills and showing its Payload (kg): 1,080 days before we went to press so age against the opposition. in the next issue we’ll be telling Well if you thought that, you’d Comb fuel economy (mpg): 40.9 you how the van is settling in to be dead wrong – and it’s a sign CO2 emissions (g/km): 180 its busy new life. of just how far ahead it was in Price as tested (ex-VAT): £20,930 For now we’re very happy with 2001 because quite frankly the initial impressions. But some of the opposition are still looking ahead 12 months, when we defleet the trying to catch up. Trafic – and when the van’s design will be 13 years Of all the vans we’ve ever driven, the Trafic just old – I wonder whether it will have lived up to our about tops the list even now for comfort and drivearly expectations, or after all this time, despite ability. And looking at the picture here, you’ll see the many updates which have witnessed many that even its looks are still contemporary and upgrades in equpment levels as well as significutting edge. cant improvements in fuel efficiency and cuts to Our Sport model offers that little bit extra than CO2 emissions it will have begun to feel its age. the standard models and anyone who thinks that No doubt time will tell. spending money on things like alloy wheels and
30 December 2012 fleetnews.co.uk/fleetvan
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