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The Commercial Vehicle Show returned to the NEC in Birmingham last month. Though smaller in size and with less vehicle manufacturers than in previous... Commercial Vehicle Show review

The Commercial Vehicle Show returned to the NEC in Birmingham last month. Though smaller in size and with less vehicle manufacturers than in previous years, the show was certainly popular with visitors, with packed aisles across the three days. These were some of the highlights that we spotted.

Ford partners with  construction charity

Along with the launch of the Ford Pro commercial vehicle business and the first opportunity for many buyers to see the new E-Transit and the next generation Ranger, Ford joined forces with construction industry charity the Lighthouse Club and Balfour Beatty, to launch Make It Visible, a campaign designed to combat construction worker suicide.

As many as two construction workers a day in the UK and Ireland take their own lives, according to the Office for National Statistics. Despite the extensive physical measures taken on site to protect workers, many are unaware of the mental help and support that is also available through the Lighthouse Club.

“This campaign is hugely important to Ford and highlights the importance of mental wellbeing alongside physical wellbeing on the construction site,” said Mandy Dean, director, commercial vehicles at Ford of Britain.

“These highly distinguishable vans will be visiting sites across the country to deliver visible support to the boots on the ground workforce. The vehicles are manned by the Lighthouse Club’s on-site team, who are all Mental Health First Aiders with relatable experiences in the construction industry,” said Bill Hill, CEO of the charity.

Unsurprisingly, Ford’s stand dominated the main hall at the show, with numerous examples of the new E-Transit on display. The company also had the next generation Ranger, in Raptor and Wildtrak trims, on show, alongside other vans and pick-ups from the range, including the latest Transit Connect, which was making its UK show debut. Ford was keen to explain to customers the benefits of Ford Pro, a complete eco-system covering new vehicles, charging, software, finance and service.

Maxus launches first electric pick-up

Maxus pulled one of the few genuine surprises at this year’s CV Show, with the launch of a full electric pick-up. The T90EV is a rear-wheel drive truck with an 88.55kWh battery pack. A 150kW motor is attached to the rear axle, capable of providing a WLTP City range of up to 198 miles. 

The double-cab pick-up has a payload capacity of 740kg, with a gross weight of 3,300kg. It rides on 17” alloy wheels and comes with a reversing camera, LED daytime running lights and a comfortable cab with 10.25” infotainment screen. The T90EV will be available to order from August, with full pricing and specifications available nearer the time. Deliveries to UK customers are expected by Q1 of 2023.

The company also introduced its first electric MPV people-carrier at the show, in the distinctive shape of the MIFA 9. This six-seater boasts a 93kWh battery pack and a 180kW motor, promising up to 323 miles of driving range. Indeed, alongside these two newcomers, every vehicle on the Maxus stand this year was battery powered, with a wide range of eDeliver 3 and eDeliver 9 models now offered and a host of conversions on show, from minibuses and tippers, to welfare vehicles and an RAC rescue van.

Maxus captured 11% of the rapidly growing eLCV market in the UK last year and the electric pick-up should add to that total when it arrives
in 2023.

“The Maxus brand is synonymous with market-leading commercial electric vehicles, which is a very strong position for a brand that is relatively new,” said Mark Barrett, general manager of importer Harris Maxus.

“EVs accounted for more than 36% of Maxus registrations over the past 12 months and the growth and interest in EV vans, particularly from the grocery, delivery and pharmaceutical sectors is phenomenal.” 

TVL calls for national database

Van security specialist TVL Security is urging fleets that fall victim to van crime, to contribute to a national online database that is being backed by the police. The ‘Tell TVL’ initiative calls on companies that have had their vans stolen, or items stolen from vans, to report full details including images at www.tellTVL.co.uk, as well as reporting the crime to the police.

The data will be securely stored, as agreed with the National Business Crime Centre, to create the UK’s first real-time national database capturing the scale and nature of van crime. Registered users will be able to get free anonymised data reports highlighting crime hotspots and receive targeted crime prevention advice, based on trends in entry methods, so drivers can be alert to all potential risks.

“Unfortunately, van crime in towns and cities across the UK continues to soar and we are often the first port of call for drivers and fleets looking to increase security after falling victim to theft,” said TVL Security’s managing director, Laura Moran.

“That means, on a daily basis, we see how much these crimes impact hard-working employees, sole traders and business owners. But because police databases are organised regionally, there isn’t a true national picture of the scale of the problem. There isn’t a standard way to capture details of van crime, including methods used to gain entry, so drivers and owners don’t currently know what to look out for.”

Tell TVL launched at the CV Show and will be hosted in partnership with the International Security Register (ISR) guaranteeing that data provided won’t be shared with anyone except the police. Website users, who aren’t obliged to give their contact details, will also be able to access the latest vehicle crime prevention advice from the National Business Crime Centre.

“Our hope is that by putting the spotlight on this very real issue affecting thousands of British businesses every week, together we will be able to prevent even more from becoming victims,” said Moran.

“We think it’s about time drivers and fleet owners were given a chance to join forces against the criminals who cause them so much damage, financially and emotionally.”

Toyota broadens LCV offer 

Toyota Professional took the opportunity to show its Corolla Commercial in production trim, (tested on pg 8) alongside a growing range of light commercial vehicles. One customer seeing the compact van for the first time immediately ordered 30 of the car-based LCVs. 

The revised line-up included a Hilux GR Sport, a new grade for the ever-popular pick-up. As well as cosmetic updates to the Hilux, the truck gets upgraded suspension, with new monotube shock absorbers and front springs. The changes are designed to provide improved damping performance with faster response. The Hilux GR Sport is based on the 2.8-litre model, delivering 204hp and 500Nm of torque.  

Of more interest to fleet van buyers will be the news of upcoming expansion at the Special Vehicle Operations workshops at Toyota’s Burneston plant near Derby. The SVO team is increasing the personalisation and customisation offer available on Corolla Commercial, Proace and Proace City, including Type Approval if required. Customers will be able to order a wider range of towbars, additional lighting and other accessories directly from the factory, reducing delivery times.

LEVC signs up Geotab for telematics 

LEVC will equip all of its VN5 range-extended electric vans with Geotab fleet management and telematic systems. LEVC Telematics, as the system will be known, will take information from the vehicle’s on-board systems and transfer directly to the customer’s device or desktop, through the MyGeotab dashboard.

Customers will have 12 months of free access to the Geotab service, worth £300, with every new LEVC vehicle. They can then choose whether to subscribe or not. Data supplied includes battery state of charge, mileage trends, driving styles and vehicle utilisation levels and fleet managers can access the information in real-time or later on. The MyGeotab dashboard offer customisable reports, that can be used to maximise vehicle utilisation, reduce unplanned downtime and reduce charging costs.

“Our integration with LEVC means that their next generation of taxis and vans will be true connected vehicles,” said David Savage, Geotab’s vice president, UK and Ireland.

“Geotab understands that data isn’t much use without context. By focusing on analysis and visualisation, LEVC’s customers will spend less time measuring and more time improving productivity and enhancing safety.”

Locks 4 Vans adds to award-winning line-up

Security specialist Locks 4 Vans was celebrating the award of Sold Secure’s highest grade for vehicle security, Automotive Diamond, for its L4V Statement Lock. The highly visible Statement Lock has been further improved, making it even more resistant to cutting or drilling.

The company has also achieved Sold Secure’s Gold accreditation for its latest Hook Lock, which again, is specifically designed to resist drilling. The hook has been upgraded to incorporate laminate technology, for a stronger mechanism, which is more resistant to fracture.

Business development director Terry Rayner commented on the rising demand for additional security in the LCV market.

“Crime has not reduced,” he said. “The last year has been a big year for us and around 50% of our business has been retro-fit, after an incident has happened.”

Locks 4 Vans has also moved into box body and trailer security, creating a range of locking devices for automotive roller shutters and trailer doors. These are designed to be fitted at source by the body builder and are proving an increasingly popular option, particularly in the parcel and last-mile delivery business.

Looking further ahead, the company is working on new technologies, including electronic locking devices, with geofenced opening just one of the features expected to be announced later this year.

Ring Automotive adds to charger range

Vehicle lighting and electronics supplier Ring, has expanded its SmartCharge range with the launch of two workshop and showroom chargers, capable of delivering 50A and 60A of continuous charging. The 60A RSCP60T is compatible with stop/start alternators and it comes with fully insulated high capacity battery clamps, built-in thermal and overload protection.

The RSCP60T has been designed for mixed fleets, capable of delivering 12V and 24V charging in three stages, to help speed up charging times,” said Henry Bisson, marketing director at Ring.

“It’s a three-in-one professional charging solution, with a 60A charger, 540A jump starter and 30A continuous battery support.”

Modul-System looks to an electric future

Racking and van conversion specialist Modul-System was just one of the many companies basing its latest products on an electric van chassis. Built on an E-Transit base, the company was keen to show the full range of equipment available to van users and the integration available through its Modul Connect Pro electrical system. Far more than a way to control electrical components on board, the Connect pro system provides reporting to fleet managers for both ICE and EV vans, from speeding to overloading, if a weigh loading system is supplied.

The system can also be tied into temperature sensors, for pharmaceutical users and others for whom guaranteed temperature-control is vital. As with other racking and conversion companies at the show, Modul-System was keen to point out that its flooring and racking can be installed without having to drill into the van itself, through bonded flooring and adjustable racking mounting rails.

Though based on Ford’s latest e-LCV, which is equipped with the ProPower electrical outlets, Modul System had chosen to fit its own auxiliary batteries to power systems on the van, so as not to affect driving range. The secondary batteries charge at the same time as the traction battery, so there is no additional work for drivers.

Isuzu heads for Basecamp

Building on the recently introduced Arctic Trucks AT35 pick-up, Isuzu demonstrated just what might be possible in terms of conversion of its latest D-Max, literally throwing the sink at its AT35 Basecamp concept. This expedition-ready vehicle featured a roof-mounted SkyCamp Mini 3.0 tent, sitting atop a Gearmate hardtop canopy with gullwing doors and rear access. The truck had an ARB Outback Solutions modular rollout drawer system, with a fridge and a slide-out kitchen, including a three-burner gas stove and that kitchen sink.

“Built to conquer all types of landscapes and be a true adventure vehicle, Basecamp demonstrates the aspirational nature of the AT35,” said Brian Wheeler, PR and product manager at Isuzu UK.

While attracting plenty of attention at the show, the truck also demonstrated just what is possible from Isuzu’s fleet preparation centre, where customers can have D-Max trucks customised to fit their specific fleet needs.