Vanarama's resident LCV expert Tim Cattlin takes his weekly tour through all the major news, views and gossip from the industry.
Electrifying News From Ford
At a major event in Amsterdam this week - apart from breaking the news that the manufacturer may consider leaving the UK if there is a no-deal Brexit - Ford announced its intention to introduce fully-electric versions of all models in its car and van ranges. This includes a battery-powered 'big' Transit with a launch date of 2021.
There are no further details regarding range, payload, or anything else really, apart from the fact that it is being planned for urban, last-mile deliveries. So, don't expect a 200-mile range…
Speed Limiters – is this the answer?
The EU has announced proposals to make it compulsory for all new vehicles to be fitted with speed limiters from 2022 (with the UK following suit if we leave the EU).
The European Transport Safety Council reckons this tech will reduce collisions by 30% and save 25,000 lives within 15 years. While any initiative that could save lives can't be ignored, there are a few potential issues. The technology works by detecting speed limit signs and then setting the appropriate vehicle speed restriction. That's OK, but there are plenty of places where there is no sign – the speed limit being indicated by the type of road (dual carriageway, motorway, or urban roads with street lights at a certain distance apart, etc) – meaning a driver relying on the system could inadvertently exceed the limit or be travelling well under the permitted speed.
The legislation won't be retrospective, so drivers of older vehicles are likely to leave the nice new cars and vans in their wake. Or will they? The ETSC is proposing that the system will be able to be overridden by pushing hard on the accelerator! So, I'm not entirely sure what the point is…
Builders B… ack
Our friends at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles have carried out a survey of builders, the results of which suggest that over two-thirds have taken time off due to back pain, costing the UK economy an estimated £21 billion.
It's not suggested that this lost time is due to a poor driving position in the van, but during a recent test session a chiropractor watched some builders adjust a van seat until they were comfortable. In his opinion, two-thirds were still sitting incorrectly or missing out some important steps in the search for a correct position.
- Height: Your thighs should be as parallel to the floor as your seat will allow, and where possible try to get your hips higher than your knees. You should also adjust the thigh support if you have one to ensure you have the maximum surface of your thighs touching the seat.
- Pedals: You should be able to push the pedals to the floor with a bend in your knees.
- 110°: Bring your seat all the way up so it's straight and then take it back until you are comfortable whilst maintaining a 110-degree angle between your back and thighs.
- Lumbar Support: The lumbar support should be adjusted so you can feel it support the hollow in your back but so it's not causing your spine to arch more than is normal for you.
- Head Restraint: The height and angle of your head restraint should be adjusted so you can feel the centre of the support touch the middle of the back of your head, although it doesn't need to be touching at all times
- Steering Wheel: Once you are in the correct seating position, bring your arm up in front of you and position the centre of the steering wheel to be in line with the fold of your wrist.
- Rear Mirror: Lift your chest by five degrees and then adjust your mirrors to help stay in an upright position on long drives.
This is helpful in theory, but I can't see many of the builders I know running down this checklist every time they get into a van…
Here's An Interesting Graphic About Vehicle Ages
It shows that the average age of vans (and cars and trucks) in the EU is increasing rapidly. Whilst this does suggest that vehicles are becoming more reliable, it makes one wonder where this leaves governments who are seeking to achieve clean air targets. Another scrappage scheme in the offing maybe?
OK – I Was Close But…
Remember a few weeks ago when I talked about Toyota's new small van (based on the Peugeot Partner, Vauxhall Combo and Citroen Berlingo)? I speculated that it would probably be called the LiteAce, a name given to a previous small van from the manufacturer.
Well, I was wrong – they've announced that it'll be known as the Proace City (Proace being the medium van in the range).
Seems a bit confusing to me but, what do I know…
Yes, it was that date this week. Lots of stuff floating around, the majority being easy to detect as being not too serious.
The van industry was a bit lacking this year and left our friends over the Irish sea to steal the LCV jokers crown. Great effort from Volkswagen Ireland…
And Finally – Dropping Off A Parcel Takes On New Meaning
Some walkers in Cornwall had a surprise last week when they stumbled across this little predicament. According to The Sun, local man 'Graham' told his local paper: "I was delivering to the youth hostel on the coast and the driver was lying on the grass. We thought he was in shock, but he was lying back calling for a tow."
A spokesman for Parcelforce Worldwide said: "Despite what the picture may suggest, at no stage was our driver at risk in this incident."
Not so sure myself…