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.

#TruckingBritainOutOfCovid19: Empty streets boost productivity

Telematics provider Microlise has confirmed what we may already have suspected, that road transport would be more efficient if it weren’t for all those other road users. Its Data Science & Operational Research team has compared data from baseline figures recorded in the first week of February with each subsequent week.

The key results include fuel economy improved by 6 or 7%, and over-speeding and harsh braking events both reduced by up to 37%. The peak reduction in over-speeding was seen during the week beginning 13 April, since when the reduction has stabilised at around 31%. The harsh breaking improvement peaked during the previous week, now settled at 29%. The fuel economy improvement has remained fairly constant throughout.

Total mileage began to fall from 23 March, reaching its lowest level during the week beginning 6 April, down 27%, since when it has returned to about 16%.

The CEO of Microlise, Nazeem Raza, said “Travel movement for those hauliers who have been able to continue to trade, seems to have improved during lockdown – drivers are performing more safely and are travelling more efficiently between depots and delivery end-points, perhaps due to lighter traffic conditions and the fact that night-time delivery restrictions were relaxed.”

Looking ahead, Raza wondered “Could HGV-only lanes and more flexibility around delivery windows support a more agile supply chain into the future? What is certain is that the Coronavirus pandemic has thrown our global supply chain into sharper focus in a way that is likely to transform our logistics landscape into the future with data continuing to play a key role in supporting our sector as it returns to a new normal - a sector that yet again, has proved in a time of crisis - to be a bedrock within our economy.”

More detailed analysis of Abbey Logistics' fleet has shown significant increases in both average speeds and fuel efficiency since the lockdown.

Steve Granite, CEO of Abbey Logistics, said: “We have all been trading in incredibly challenging circumstances, but as a result of quieter roads, we have seen an improvement to customer service and savings in repair and maintenance and an increase in MPG as well as nearly 6% increase in the average speed of our fleet. This means the fleet is doing more with less and our assets are much more productive and require less repair and maintenance thanks to more consistent driving.

“To get a better understanding of these benefits, how they could be sustained and what it could mean to Abbey and other operators when traffic and congestion increases, we began a project with Microlise to analyse the data to share with the sector, which will hopefully help all hauliers as we come out of the crisis and potentially also help influence decisions around traffic management and congestion in the future.”

Abbey Logistics and Microlise began analysing Abbey’s journey metrics for its fleet of 550 drivers, 400 trucks and 550 bulk liquid and powder trailers with initial results covering the period 30 days prior to and 30 days post, the UK lockdown.

Key results were:
• Average speed improved group-wide by an average of 5.66% (from 36.6mph to 38.8mph)
• MPG – increased by 2.6%
• CO2 emission percentage improvement across the group of 3.97% from base point in February 2020.
• Driving behaviour and performance:
- Acceleration of more than 95% decreased from 5.61% to 4.53%
- Engine idling decreased from 2.51% to 2.04%
- Greenband driving increased from 90.39% to 91.52%
- Cruise control use increased from 45.72% to 53.15%