The UK’s first 3.5 ton, inner-city, electric delivery vehicle has been revealed. Sort of. With motor and battery technology still in the early stages of development, companies are looking for a way to squeeze past the tight new regulations that are due to arrive in October. WhichEV wonders if regulators had this level of ‘blue-sky thinking' in mind when they tried to make our cities a cleaner place to live.
We don't cover hybrids, choosing instead to focus our attention on pure electric drive systems and associated technologies. So why this story? Well, conversion specialists Astra Vehicle Technologies have, in partnership with Sherwood Truck and Van, created a 3.5 ton van that uses a clever GPS system to completely decouple the fossil-fuelled parts of its drive train when approaching ultra low emission zones.
The clever part is the on-board technology that uses GPS geo-fencing to detect when a driver is entering a green zone and can automatically switch to pure electric mode. The battery on board is enough to power the van for up to 30 miles, making a trip in to London and back out feasible (just about).
It’s this mode that could potentially save companies thousands of pounds every year as local governments get more aggressive in their introducing of pollution charging fees (up to £300 a day) for commercial vehicles. Some authorities (as in the case of Bristol) seem to be considering banning diesels altogether.
The underlying van is an Iveco Daily and the creators believe it is the only product of its kind on offer in Europe. It is powered by a combo motor from Elinta.
While massive lorries will continue to move bulk freight around the country on Britain's motorways for some time to come, this kind of vehicle is targeted at those organisation that need to move tons of goods from warehouses in the sticks to a final destination or a smaller, more localised holding structure in the city. In that scenario, its designers believe that overall emissions for deliveries could be cut by up to 70% when compared to a full diesel vehicle transport. Not perfect, but certainly better.
The conversion will also be made available on larger vans, up to 7.5 tons.
Assuming no lockdown, Sherwood Truck and Van expects to supply around 20 units to UK customers in the first 12 months. Lead times will be delivery time from plant plus two weeks. They will each cost around £50,000
John Chadderton, director of Astra Vehicle Technologies, said: “This intelligent and highly efficient vehicle will give operators the best of both worlds, removing the range anxiety of fully electric vehicles while bringing significant overall fuel and environmental benefits in the electric vehicle and hybrid modes of operation”.
Nick Pemberton, director of Sherwood Truck and Van, added: “Working with Astra has been productive and we are happy with the new hybrid vehicle. We are looking forward to seeing what customers think”.
At the time of writing, we have no idea if local authorities will allow this kind of vehicle to enter the city streets without being sent a penalty charge notice, but it will be interesting to see. If the detection systems don't allow for this ‘smart switching technology', then a lot of customers might not be happy.
Find out more from Iveco over here.