LeasePlan UK Head of Commercial Vehicles, Matt Dillon, shines a spotlight on some of the latest innovations at the UK’s biggest commercial vehicle showcase.
From connectivity and automation, to electric and hydrogen fuel cell versions, the commercial vehicle market is changing just as quickly as passenger cars. This year’s latest innovations were all on display at the 2022 Commercial Vehicle Show, held at Birmingham’s NEC on 24-26 May.
With a bumper number of exhibitors and up to 10,000 visitors over three days, there was plenty of new product to talk about – we’ve had a look at the biggest announcements below:
Transit vans are a cornerstone of British business, so it’s no surprise that the first all-electric version – part of ambitions for all new European vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035 – drew big crowds at the show.
The E-Transit features a 68kWh battery offering a range of up to 197 miles and will be available with two power outputs – 181bhp or 265hp. There are 25 body variants, including a double-cab-in-van and chassis cab, with payloads of up to 1,758kg, an on-board power supply for conversions and equipment and fleet customers get a year of complimentary access to Ford Pro E-Telematics.
“Make it visible”
Ford are also making mental health wellbeing support more visible for commercial vehicle drivers partnering with The Lighthouse Construction industry charity. The “Make it Visible” campaign was supported by a fully liveried Transit Custom in matching high-vis. Balfour Beatty, a key supporter of the initiative, were also in attendance to build awareness of the resources available to construction workers as well as a dedicated, safe space to talk.
The vehicles will be travelling across the country to deliver visible support to construction sites, manned by The Lighthouse Charity’s on-site team who are all Mental Health First Aiders with relatable experiences in the construction industry.
New British vehicle manufacturer, INEOS Automotive, showcased its highly anticipated Grenadier off-roader just days after announcing its 34-site UK dealer network. Designed for those who need a rugged 4×4 for off-road use, it’s an alternative to the now more lifestyle-focused new Land Rover Defender.
Production of the Grenadier will begin in July. It’s a body-on-frame off-roader which offers up to 3.5 tonnes of towing capacity, 5.5 tonnes of winching power and up to 2,000 litres of loadspace, with durability proven over a million-mile development programme. INEOS will offer two-seat and five-seat Utility Wagon variants, the former capable of accommodating a Euro pallet, and a five-seat Station Wagon. Diesel and petrol engines from BMW will be available from launch, and hydrogen fuel cell versions are under development too.
Marking ten years and more than 50,000 sales of the D-Max pickup in the UK, Isuzu showcased its new Fleet Conversion Centre with several adapted versions of the five-star Euro NCAP rated new model, which launched last year. Eye-catching variants included the one-off ‘Basecamp’ version, with a rooftop tent and pull-out kitchen complete with fridge and hob.
The CV Show also shone a spotlight on the D-Max’s flagship Arctic Trucks AT35 version, including an wider arches and upgrades to the frame, drivetrain, suspension and tyres. Priced from £47,999 on the road, it retains the standard model’s payload, towing capacity and commercial vehicle classification, and is backed by a five-year, 125,000-mile warranty.
Another British built vehicle, the VN5 van from LEVC is an electric vehicle with a petrol-powered range extender to keep the battery charged for longer journeys – it never directly puts power to the wheels. It’s a great solution for fleets, offering a potential range up to 319 miles, whilst carrying the same load space and weight of a Vauxhall Vivaro or Transit Custom L1. Being built in Coventry, the availability and turnaround for build is very quick – definitely one to be considering.
At the CV Show, LEV highlighted a new Geotab telematics system which will be pre-installed on all new VN5 vans (and sister product, the TX taxi) enabling fleet managers to monitor state of charge, driving behaviour and intelligent mapping to optimise performance. Data can be fed into other telematics dashboards and fleet customers will get 12 months’ complimentary access with every new vehicle.
Maxus launched two new electric vehicles at the show, but perhaps the most significant for fleets was the T90EV pickup. Set to be the first electric pickup on sale in the UK, it’s expected to offer an expected range of 198 miles (WLTP, city) or 130 miles (combined) and a 740kg payload. Initially this will be produced in 4×2 format, with a 4×4 version to follow.
Pricing will be announced in late summer with orders taken from August, and deliveries are expected in Spring 2023. With the limited number of pickups on the market, all struggling to reduce the emission levels in line with diesel panel vans, the need for an affordable 4×4 pick up as an EV is growing.
Alongside the pickup truck, Maxus launched the MIFA 9 – an all-electric full-size seven-seat people carrier with an estimated range of over 300 miles.
Toyota has recently extended its partnership with Stellantis and plans to expand its commercial vehicle to include a large van from 2024 (likely to be a re-badged version of the Relay, Boxer, Ducato and Movano) complete with a battery-electric option. Existing shared models were on show in Birmingham, including the Proace City (Toyota’s version of the Combo, Partner and Berlingo) in EV guise. It’s a very credible small electric van with a great range and compliments the larger Proace model.
Newcomers also included the Toyota Corolla hybrid van, which is based on the estate car but has the rear seat and boot area converted into a very useable space for any trade requiring a smaller van. With the impressive Toyota hybrid technology, this provides a great middle ground for those wanting or needing to step further into the non-ICE arena where a full EV may not be 100% suitable for them just yet.
One area of focus this year was security. With vehicle parts becoming more difficult and expensive to source, the demand for used parts grows. Naturally, as any need grows, then the potential for this to be exploited by criminals will also arise.
Locks4Vans, Van Guard, Comm-ply, along with many of the larger vehicle fitout companies, were all demonstrating new and ingenious methods of preventing access to a vehicle or theft of tools and materials.
A common approach for access has been to ‘peel down’ the side loading door to a van. Locks4Vans demonstrated a simple solution which makes this process so much more difficult and most importantly more time consuming. A bracket in the top corner limits how far the door can be peeled – it doesn’t stop it from happening but seriously reduces the amount of damage, which in most cases could still allow the vehicle to be used until repaired. A really credible solution for proportionally little money!
I never stop being amazed how clever some of the vehicle fitout solutions become in addressing simple storage, security and safety issues making a van so much more useable and efficient than just a metal box.
With most of the main convertors in attendance, new innovations for storage, on-board electric power solutions and weight reduction ideas were in abundance.
Likewise, vehicle livery designs, materials and solutions to maximise a company’s advertising opportunities were as ever more dynamic in demonstrating what is now available. Media Fleet supported many of the vehicles on display with some amazing graphics, designs and alternatives to the simple company name and phone number.
Find out more
You can view the 2022 Commercial Vehicle Show official video below, and download the Official Show Guide (eventguides.co.uk) here.