Calor goes electric for London deliveries

Calor may be the UK’s best known supplier of bottled gas, but it has chosen electric power to deliver propane and butane products in central London. It is now operating a FUSO eCanter out of its Wandsworth depot to service an area which includes London’s ULEZ.

The 7.5-tonner, which features a safety rail-equipped body from SB Components, which gives it a typical payload of 2,370kg. As its duty cycle involves exchanging full bottles for empties, its payload remains high throughout. Its range of over 62 miles is more than enough for its daily 30-mile schedule, before recharging back at the depot.

The Calor vehicle is now one of 16 eCanters operating in the UK. Support is through the full Mercedes-Benz Trucks network. Manufacturer Daimler claims running cost savings equate to around £145 per 1,000 miles compared with the diesel Canter.

Alan Harrison, Calor’s national vehicle engineering manager said: “At Calor we like to move quickly to adopt any new technology that can help our business. The FUSO eCanter is a perfect example – it reduces the impact of our operations on the environment, while also making sound financial sense.”

Alexandru Nechita, one of the truck’s two drivers, added “The eCanter is so smooth. The pick-up from a standing start is really strong and it pulls away easily. The lack of noise or vibration in the cab is noticeable too, and makes for a much more relaxing drive. The truck’s size and manoeuvrability mean it’s easy to negotiate city-centre traffic or access particularly tight locations.”

VW joins electric van club

The first fully electric van from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has been launched in the UK.

Developed in partnership with long-established Volkswagen modification specialist, ABT, the ABT e-Transporter 6.1 has its batteries located beneath the load floor, to retain a 6.7m3 load volume and a one-tonne payload. A range of up to 82 miles is claimed, with a DC fast-charging option providing an 80% charge in 45 minutes. Standard AC charging gives a full charge in around 5½ hours.

The 83kW (111hp) motor drives through a modified version of VW’s DSG dual-clutch transmission, with 75% of maximum power normally available. A kickdown function increases this to 100%, giving a 0-62mph acceleration time of 17.4 seconds.

UK prices start at £42,060 (ex-VAT) for the panel van, with kombi crew van and an enhanced Advance trim level versions taking this up to a maximum of £49,985.