Vans beat trucks at HNT

Commercial Motor
January 24, 2007

Avonmouth-based HNT, which runs a 26-strong van and truck fleet, is realising the benefits of running large vans over 7.5-tonners.

MD Chris Potter tells Motor Transport that the company has recently trialled a 5.5-tonner Renault Mascott panel van, which he says proved to have significant benefits over its six MAN 8.150 7.5-tonners.

He explains that not only did the van have a slight payload advantage, but its fuel economy was roughly 30% better too.

But just when Potter was ready to replace some of the MANs with Mascotts, he was loaned a new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter for a week - which caused him to change his mind.

"What a great van," says Potter, who already runs seven old-shape Sprinter panel vans. "The cab is much quieter than in the old model, it's more spacious, and storage facilities are great too. I am also impressed with the build quality."

Although the demonstrator was only a 311 long-wheelbase high-roof panel van, Potter says he was impressed enough to place an order for a pair of 5-tonner MWB chassis cabs. "I know I'm shooting in the dark to some degree," he says, "but I'm confident that they will also show significant benefits over 7.5 tonners".

The new vans will be fitted with TGS Coachworks curtainsider bodies.

In his quest for operational cost savings, Potter has recently limited his entire Sprinter fleet to 70mph. Coinciding with this, the bulk of his drivers have attended the SAFED driver training course.

He explains that this combination has had a dramatic affect on fuel economy, with the fleet average mpg increasing from the low to the high 20s.

Now he wants to introduce speed limiters to the company's five 55-plate Vauxhall Vivaros, but has been told that it will cost £800 per vehicle.

Vauxhall tells MT that speed limiters are now an option on the latest Euro 4 Vivaros. It can be set at 56, 62 or 68mph for a cost of £75.

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