Every Friday Vanarama's resident van expert Tim Cattlin offers his own take on what's hit the news (or gossip tree) in the world of vans and anything else that might impact van operators and drivers across the UK.
There's loads of news this week, so, here's a few snippets and we'll share the rest next Friday.
The next generation VW Transporter
Volkswagen gave us more than a strong hint as to what the next generation of Transporter will look like when they issued an image of the European passenger-carrying version called the Multivan (see main image). Now, if you thought that you had to look carefully to tell the difference between the T5 and the current T6, well, the fact that this has been named the T6.1 gives a hint as to the extent of this particular makeover.
There's a new frontal design (it's there, but it's not radical), and, externally that seems to be about it. Inside, there's a new digital instrument cluster on highline models and a revised infotainment screen. VW are saying that there's lots of new tech and are following in the footsteps of Ford and Mercedes-Benz in providing dedicated connectivity with its own SIM card.
Timescale? My contacts at VW are telling me to expect an early 2020 launch.
Ford Ranger 2022
More new model news. Well – actually pretty unsubstantiated rumours to be fair but, lets run with this for the time being…
It's no secret that Volkswagen and Ford are working together, and that 2022 is likely to see a replacement for the Ford Ranger, which will also almost certainly be marketed as an Amarok (or whatever VW decide to call it). What we didn't expect, three years ahead of launch was a leaked photo from an Australian magazine allegedly showing the new vehicle.
!(/assets/blog/something for the weekend/ranger2022.jpg)
Make your own mind up – to me it looks far more like a development of the Ford F150 (look at that grille) but, apart from the front nothing really earth shattering on the face of it. Time will tell, but, my own thoughts are that this is too early, and it's difficult to understand why the manufacturers would produce such an 'arty' image at this stage.
We talked about this fantastic navigation 'thing' before when we reviewed the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. The entire(ish) planet has been split into 10 metre squares and each square has been given a three word address - for example the reception desk at Vanarama HQ is 'turkey / video / bunks' (note, don't bother experimenting with rude words a 'friend' has, and they don't seem to use them…).
Anyway, Ford are now the second manufacturer to adopt the system. Ford's 'Applink', which allows certain smartphone apps to operate within it's SYNC3 infotainment system is now compatible with what3words. So, as I understand it, download the what3words app to your phone, link it to the vehicle and Bob's your uncle.
Remember that? The government scheme back in 2009 which successfully stimulated the new car market in the dark days of recession. Well, it's back, kind of… micro businesses and charities in London who operate in the new ULEZ are being offered £6000 towards the purchase (or £3500 towards funding cleaner alternatives) of a new electric van.
There's plenty of conditions though, notably 'businesses and charities will have to be registered in London or have entered the existing Congestion Charging Zone (CCZ) 52 times in the past six months and provide a certificate of destruction for a non-compliant vehicle'.
A political move maybe? The pure EV proposition for van operators is still a tough one for many to make work, and I suspect the uptake will be low. Operators will be more likely to buy or lease a new Euro 6 Diesel van which, from a capital cost perspective are generally a whole lot cheaper than electric vans, and don't come with the range, charging and payload issues that can be presented by a battery powered van.
In good old Trevor McDonald 'News at 10' tradition, here's the last story...
A Wolverhampton based company operates 20 Mercedes-Benz Sprinters. Wisely, they have aftermarket tracking devices fitted but, when one van was stolen recently the crims clearly knew this and quickly ripped it out.
The owners contacted the supplying dealer, Ciceley Commercials in Bolton who quickly realised that the new Mercedes-Benz PRO Connect system (with its inbuilt 4G connectivity) allowed operators to view the vehicles position in real time. Tracked to a yard in Leeds, the police were informed who recovered the van 20 minutes later. A great use and by-product of the tech now becoming commonplace in the current generation of new vans.
If you liked this article, why not check out this blog from Tim Cattlin covering everything we know about the latest BIG Ford Transit, and check back next week for the latest "Something for the weekend", or feast your eyes on all of our van review videos on YouTube?
_ If you're still hungry for news, why not check out the latest episode of The Vanarama Podcast right here on THIS page below - we talk about the top 10 vans, Ford Ranger Raptor and VW's e-Caddy and e-Transporter is plenty of detail. _