A Fleeting Glance – News Round-up | 8th-14th June 2021

A Fleeting Glance – News Round-up | 8th-14th June 2021

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A Fleeting Glance – News Round-up | 8th-14th June 2021

Here’s the first in our new series of weekly round-ups of news items for all things fleet over the last seven days.

Bosch to open Semi-Conductor Factory

With the well-documented “semi-conductor” shortage affecting many industries, most notable automotive production – Bosch has announced welcome news of opening a new factory in Dresden, Germany, to focus specifically on semi-conductor production.

The €1 billion (£860m) semiconductor fabrication facility is the largest single investment the company has ever made.

Production starts as early as July –with the first semiconductors made in the new plant to be installed in Bosch power tools. Production for chips for the automotive industry will begin in September.

First “BP Pulse Rapid Charging Hub” Opens in London

The first BP Pulse rapid charging hub for fleet vehicles is now available in the UK. Situated on Park Lane, London, Uber are among its first customers.

With rapid charging available for 10 vehicles simultaneously – BP Pulse plans to more than double its capacity in the coming months and then look to roll-out similar hubs in major Cities across the UK.

Study shows fleet vehicle increase since start of pandemic

A survey by Opinion Matters has revealed some rather interesting statistics in relation to fleet vehicle usage since the pandemic started.

The first interesting point – and somewhat predictable – is that 80% of businesses surveyed have had to adjust their businesses since lockdown.

This has lead to several knock-on effects. The most notable changes are that a quarter of the businesses surveyed has added more vehicles to their fleet (or had to get vehicles) whilst a similar number reported an increase in fleet management running costs.

There has also been a huge shift in how fleets are managed – with almost half surveyed switching vehicle management systems and a third have digitalised their fleet.

What is blatantly obvious is that the shift in business needs is placing a greater emphasis on the role of fleet managers and understanding of fleet vehicles.

Peugeot Charged with Diesel Emission Fraud

Another week, another major vehicle manufacturer has been charged with diesel emission fraud.
French authorities have brought the charges against Peugeot following an investigation into vehicles manufactured between 2009-2015.

Following hot on the heels of fellow French rivals Citroen, investigators say that their investigations found some of the cars produced on-the-road nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions more than 10 times regulatory limits for some models.

BVRLA Highlight Lack of New Vans Is Genuine Concern

The issue in the supply in new vans – particularly for the rental and leasing sectors – is something we have touched on recently, and our concerns are shared by the BVRLA.

Following a survey carried out in May, 90% of respondents said the supply of vans was a problem. Worryingly – almost half of those said it was an extreme barrier when trying to meet customer needs.

The Chief Exec of the BVRLA said

“The van parc is growing exponentially at a rate double that of cars, yet the supply of battery electric vans is an acute problem. Although we have seen an increase in the number of makes and models coming to market, there is a particular dearth of vans capable of long ranges or towing.

“Vans play a vital role in the UK economy with one in ten workers relying on a one to do their job. A special focus on vans is needed if this sector is to achieve parity with the more developed electric car market and the BVRLA will be making recommendations to Government.”

The silver lining though was that most of those surveyed did anticipate things to improve significantly over the next 6 months.

Royal Mail Commit to 3000 More Electric Fleet Vehicles

Following the roll-out of Clean Air Zones, Royal Mail have added a further 3000 electric vehicles in addition to their existing 300 plug-in vehicles.

The new vehicles will be concentrating in the areas with Clean Air Zones and will be being to be used from October onwards.

Working with Peugeot and Mercedes, the Peugeot e-Expert, Mercedes e-Vito and e-Sprinter have been chosen as Royal Mail to ensure a low-emissions per parcel service.

This news comes just days after DPD announced they had order 750 electric vehicles from Maxus, doubling it’s electric fleet to 1500.

And finally….

BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe Is Now Available for Orders

The eagerly-anticipated BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is now available for orders pending it’s arrival in the UK in November.

The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe combines some of the practicality of the 4 series into the fun and vigour of a 4 Series Coupe – bringing the best of a lot of worlds into one and making it equally adept for business and pleasure.

With prices starting from £40,465, it comes with a range of petrol and diesel engines, an 8-speed automatic gearbox fitted as standard and the option of rear or all-wheel drive.

We will of course be reviewing the car in more detail this summer and give it the full Fleet Adviser overall review treatment.

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The Volkswagen Abt eTransporter LWB – The Reviews

The Volkswagen Abt eTransporter LWB – The Reviews

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The Volkswagen Abt eTransporter LWB – The Reviews

If you have been finding stock this month tough to come by, we might have the answer. With reported issues in meeting demand due to the issues in the supply chain of components, finding vans – let alone great deals on vans has been hard to come by.

One of the vans that has gotten around these issues though and that we have seen plenty of great deals for is the all-electric Volkswagen Abt E-transport LWB. But is it any good?

About The Van

What’s it all about?

The VW e-Transporter is an electric version of VW’s classic mid-range, LWB van. Coming from VW then you can be assured of high-quality build and guaranteed quality driving experience – especially on urban streets, where the smooth ride makes light work of all the pot-holes!

Inside the Cab

The e-Transporter is one of the smartest interiors of the vans in this category – delivering both supreme comfort and style.

The van comes either as the e-Transporter or the 5 or 6 seat e-Transporter Kombi. The interior is also extremely functional – with plenty of storage options and cup-holders.

There is a choice of two different-sized infotainment screens. It also comes with a wireless charging option and is compatible with Apple AirPlay / Android Auto.

Other Equipment

The equipment and controls is pretty conventional and what you’d expect – but it’s well packaged and presented – which makes it even more re-assuring. It comes with;

  • 16-inch wheels
  • Air-conditioning
  • Heat-insulating cabin glass
  • Heated front seats
  • Driver’s seat with height-adjustment, four-way lumber support and arm rest
  • Dual passenger bench seat
  • Rubber flooring in the cabin
  • Electric windows
  • Electric, heated door mirrors
  • Multi-function steering wheel, leather trimmed
  • LED interior lighting
  • Lockable, illuminated glovebox
  • Single 12v socket
  • 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with DAB radio, Bluetooth and USB C connectivity
  • Multi-function ‘premium’ instrument cluster display
  • Volkswagen App-Connect compatible
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Remote central locking

Using the Van

The range

Being electric, the range of a van is important. VW quotes a WLTP range of 82 miles. However, the range of any electric vehicle is always subject to driving style and weather conditions.

Now that might not sound a lot, but with the vehicle coming with a limiter of 56mph, this helps the battery charge.

However, if the majority of your driving is localised to 20 miles radius and on local roads, then the range is going to be more than adequate on a day-to-day basis.

Charging

Charging the e-Transporter to an 80 per cent charge from flat can take around 45 minutes, while charging from a 7.2kW wall-box full charges the battery in around five and a half hours.

If you are planning on making longer journeys on a regular basis then with it’s range, it’s probably not the best choice. If however you are concentrating your driving locally, you won’t be spending chunks of your working day charging the thing as we’ve already said, the range will be more than adequate.

Load

Because of the weight of the batteries, the payload is reduced to a maximum of 996kg – however this often meets most needs.

VW interior and doors

Also, on the plus-side, the e-Transporter has been homologated to tow up to 1500kg – which is unusual for an electric van as many aren’t rated to tow at all. 

The other great thing is the battery packs are tucked away underneath the van. This means it doesn’t impact on the load space and you get the same as you would in a diesel version.

 

AutoExpress scores the e-Transporter 4 out of 5 for it’s Energy Use and Running Costs and it’s Driving and Performance.

It then gives the van 4.5 out of 5 for it’s load space and practicality as well as it’s reliability and safety whilst it’s cab and interior scores a 5 out of 5.

It then gives an overall score of a rather stingy 3 out of 5 – citing the reasons for scoring it down as its cost and its low range.

However, as we’ve discussed, if you a looking to use a van locally, the range is irrelevant. And with so many issues with supply, the deals available on these vans at the moment make the cost much more palatable – it’s probably the best time to get one.

The Parker’s Guide gives the e-Transporter a 4.0 out of 5 rating.

It too cites the main plus points being the interior, the drive quality, it being cheap to run and it’s towing load as mentioned previously.

On the downside again it cites purchase price, range and the speed limiter.

Again though, for local use on local roads and the odd sprint up a couple of motorway junctions, the range and speed limiter isn’t an issue.

Parker’s Guide sums up that due to the sheer quality of the interior and the drive – the e-Transporter is worth considering over the Mercedes eVito.

WhatCar gives the e-Transporter a 3 out of 5 rating.

WhatCar does list the vehicle’s range (or lack of) as a negative. However, as we’ve already said, if you are only making short, local journeys each day, this isn’t really an issue. So if this is your business, then the plus points in the WhatCar review are much more important. 

In the rest of the review it scores the VW eTransporter Abt with 4/5 for it’s drive, low running costs and safety features. 

It does score 3 out of 5 for it’s payload being 996kg. It doesn’t however, mention the towing capability of the van – which on this van is a big plus point.

In summing up, WhatCar says “Volkswagen’s partnership with ABT to make the e-Transporter is a quick fix to get an electric van on the market to rival competitors. It could be improved with more size options, bigger batteries and a greater range, but overall it is a smart, safe and comfortable attempt at an electric van.

Summary

If you are looking to switch to an electric van that;

·         you can use locally,

·         rely on for a save, smooth and comfortable drive,

·         come with the payload space of a diesel van, and

·         that is cheap as chips to run,

then the deals currently available on the VW Abt eTransporter LWB are worth checking out. 

The other thing to consider is how cheap it will be to run on a day-to-day basis. It is compliant with the new Clean Air Zones and zero tax. It also comes with the rapid charge option to get to 80% – making it ideal for local use.

When you consider all these factors, the VW Transport is a great van with 70 years’ heritage – and the electric version is a great starting point for your electric van journey.

If you would like to get a quote for some of the deals out there, drop us a line and one of our experts will contact you. 

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