Transport Managers Now Face Disqualification As Legal Pressure Increases

The roles of transport managers are integral to the operation of company vehicles and public transport alike. Yes, without transport managers in tow, our roads would be in a sorry state, and with this level of responsibility, the government is ramping up the legal pressure to ensure processes are completed by the book, particularly when things do go

The news comes after Transport Manager Tina Domeney was disqualified by Traffic Commissioner Nick Denton. According to Denton, Domeney failed to tackle a number of serious infringements – including countless driver hours and working time offences, and drivers regularly driving for hours without qualifying breaks – on several occasions, leading to increased road safety risk. But where does this example and the resulting increased legal pressure leave you as a transport manager?

Be clear about your duties

Safe operation and compliance should be the two primary focuses for transport managers, and as a result they have a selection of responsibilities, each of which may change as legislation evolves further.

Making arrangements to ensure that drivers comply with the latest rules regarding drivers’ hours and tachograph is important, whilst the same level of care leaves managers overseeing compliance with speed limits, the maintenance of vehicles, the inspection of fleets, and the remedy, reporting and recording of any defects identified. Reporting should be as accurate as possible across the entire spectrum, and ensuring that vehicles are not overloaded in the process should be high on the list of priorities. A transport manager’s relationship with the relevant Traffic Commissioner is another vital part of the role. Transport managers must liaise with their Traffic Commissioner to report operator prosecutions and convictions.

How technology can help

Legally approved products like the Hope Safe-T-Bar can help to ensure all the vehicles within your fleet are as safe as possible. The UK manufactured, industry standard Safe-T-Bar uses years of experience and commercial vehicle knowledge to provide optimum protection for your vehicles as well as safe and easy access for your drivers. The Safe-T-Bar in particular is a rear under-run protection device that has transformed the safety of light commercial and heavy goods vehicles. Since its creation more than 20 years ago, the Safe-T-Bar has become an integral part of vehicle safety for fleet managers and individual customers alike. Thanks to its high tensile cold formed alloy steel and universal design, the Safe-T-Bar provides a high quality, durable and reliable defence against fork lift damage and low speed rear impact for most van makes and models. The product’s specially formulated, non-slip step comes as standard too, and works to protect workers from the slips, trips and falls that are so common from commercial vehicles.

The benefits and unique features of the Safe-T-Bar can be fine-tuned to your specific vehicle application further. Our team of specialists can work with you to create a higher specification product that caters to your exact requirements and ultimately gives your vehicles and workers even better protection. Using the Safe-T-Bar has been proven to lower risk, and our collaboration with commercial vehicle drivers and fleet owners means you can benefit directly from expert product manufacture. Additional features are also available when purchasing the Hope Safe-T-Bar. The reliable sensor option is an excellent addition, and the system uses four sensors alongside audible and visual warnings to ensure the risk of accidents can be minimised when reversing or parking.

Want to find out more about how the Hope Safe-T-Bar can help you remain compliant as a transport manager? Contact our team direct for further details.

The New Materials Transforming the Van Manufacturing Process

The mass production of commercial vehicles has evolved significantly over the years, with van manufacturers like Henry Ford paving the way with the design of the first moving assembly line in 1913 just the start of the modern day manufacturing processes that we rely on today. With technology evolving almost daily, production methods are becoming more and more innovative with a focus on the materials used in our vans even more important.Grain field

As pioneers of van safety products Safe-T-Bar and Safe-T-Step, we make it our mission to keep up to date with the latest developments in vehicle manufacturing so you can improve single vehicles or large fleets, and make significant cost savings and safety improvements in the process. Here we take a look at the new materials being used in van manufacture and conversions, and the trends that could be making their way to a commercial vehicle near you very soon.

Barley seed flooring

Barley seed isn’t just an ingredient that you’re likely to find in your favourite breakfast cereal, it is now being used as a material in the manufacture of commercial vehicles. Relating to the raised ripple pattern of flooring, the barley seed surface offers a laminated, tough and water resistant option for commercial vehicles of all types. Traditionally used as flooring in trailers, horse boxes, play equipment, stages, storage lockers, bulkheads and narrowboats, the barley seed floor pattern is now making its way into our vans to ensure a lower risk of slips, trips and falls for the workers loading and unloading vehicles. Available in low or high depths, barley seed floors are heavy duty and slip resistant.


GRP or glass reinforced plastic has long been used in the construction of aircrafts, karts, wind turbines, micro cars and sports cars, but it proving to be particularly beneficial in van manufacturing. A popular composite material that can be specially developed to provide further reinforcement, GRP’s excellent weight to strength ratio makes it just as advantageous as carbon fibre composites. GRP also has great resistance to corrosion and water, both plus points if you are looking for an easy to maintain and durable commercial vehicle.

Often referred to as fibreglass, GRP vehicle bodies are being manufactured with flame retardant resins to improve vehicle safety further.

Plastic floor panels

Plastic may not seem like the most appropriate material for the floors of your light commercial or heavy goods vehicle, but with special formulation, plastic is becoming THE material for all budgets and uses. Polypropylene vehicle linings can be fitted during van manufacturing or at a later date, and are already a popular choice for all makes of commercial vehicle, including Toyota, Fiat, Peugeot, Citroen, Renault, Volkswagen, Nissan, Vauxhall, Mercedes-Benz and Ford.

This heavy duty lining works to protect the interior of your van from the dents and scratches that so commonly occur during loading and unloading. As well as protecting your fleet investment, van ply lining also provides a great level of protection for the cargo within. Installation of plastic floor panels both during and post production can also improve the re-sale value of your commercial vehicle with used van buyers willing to pay a premium for that extra protective element. Plastic seat springs are also being developed to unlock the flexibility and durability of polymer composites within vehicle manufacturing.

It’s not just van materials that are evolving, the technology that could improve the safety and handling of your vehicle is also there for the taking.

We design and manufacture a selection of high quality, advanced equipment for vans and other commercial vehicles. Browse our website for further information.

Commercial Vans Now Used for Longer Says Auction Specialist Manheim

When it comes to our vans, we’ve always been of the mind-set that the newer a van is, the better things will be, however attitudes are changing throughout the commercial vehicle market. In recent years, the auction houses selling such vehicles have reported an increase in older vans coming through their doors, and according to recent statistics buyers just can’t get enough of them!Older Ford Transit

Famous commercial vehicle auction company Manheim has revealed that vans are now being used for longer by companies big and small, but is this trend here to stay?

The average age of auctioned vehicles is changing

It was back in summer 2014 that Manheim first gave a nod to the changing age and mileage profile of the vehicles coming into their auction house for sale. Vans being sold at auction are now much older – four to five years old to be exact – highlighting a new buyer love for used commercial vehicles. Car derived van models in particular saw the greatest proportion of older vehicles, in fact 22% more four- to five-year-old vehicles were sold in June than the previous month. Manheim’s small panel van auctions also saw an 11% increase in older vehicle sales, and 15% of the larger panel vans, weighing more than 3 tonnes, sold were between four and five years old.

It does appear however that there is a cut off where the age of vans is concerned. Whilst there has been a significant increase in the number of four- to five-year-old vans being sold at auction, the volume of vans aged over five years sold has decreased.

Used trucks are gaining popularity too

To counter the surge of used commercial vehicle sales, Manheim recently launched a weekly auction dedicated to the sale of trucks and trailers. The first auction was an overwhelming success with over 130 trucks and trailers sold for some £1.5 million. Countless vendors attended in person while many more joined the event remotely using the auction house’s online bidding option.

Why are used vehicles more popular?

From used trucks and trailers to older car derived, small panel and large panel vans, there’s no doubt that used commercial vehicles are more popular than ever. As well as buyers taking advantage of their used commercial vehicle’s proven reliability, the use of technology in commercial vans is making an extended lifespan possible for vans of all makes and models.

The Hope Safe-T-Bar is just one product that helps light commercial vehicle and heavy goods vehicle drivers extend the life of their vans and reap the rewards of a more reliable and safer vehicle. Developed by our expert team, the Hope Safe-T-Bar works to prevent damage when loading, unloading and operating your vehicle. Using a truly innovative design, the Safe-T-Bar works to protect vehicles from low speed rear impact and fork lift damage, two incidents that are common and can result in significant repair costs and vehicle downtime. Made from the highest quality materials at our manufacturing facility, the Hope Safe-T-Bar not only provides protection from impact, but against climate and wear. Use of the Hope Safe-T-Bar has also been proven to protect drivers and individuals assisting with the loading and unloading of the vehicles. Hope Safe-T-Bar customers have reported a lower risk of slips, trips and falls from their vehicles thus increasing worker safety.

The Hope Safe-T-Bar is quick and easy to install – fitting takes just minutes to complete! – meaning you can realise its benefits sooner than you think. For further information about the Safe-T-Bar’s benefits and unique features, please contact our dedicated and friendly team direct.

Funding for Plug-In Points Becomes More Accessible but Where Does it Leave HGV Refuelling Stations?

Electric plug in pointWith individuals and businesses across the globe seeking a cleaner, greener way of living it is no wonder that green technology is becoming more and more popular, and more importantly accessible to people from all walks of life. Government funding for plug-in points for electric vehicles is just one area that has been revolutionised in the fight to make green technology fully accessible, however we want to explore where Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and the fleet operators that manage them stand not just in regards to plug-in grants but the gas stations used by traditionally fuelled lorries and vans?

About the plug-in electric vehicle grants available

With the grant scheme for plug-in points revised earlier this year, many electric vehicle owners simply don’t know where they stand when it comes to the latest rules. Whilst the £5,000 subsidy has now been scrapped there is still financial assistance available for owners of qualifying cars.

The amount of funding available may be reduced – those who were eligible for the previous £5,000 grant will now only qualify for a £4,500 or £2,500 grant – the new tiered system currently in operation is designed to make the process of accessing this funding easier with efficiency categories clear for all to see. As well as making the application process more straightforward, the changes also identify a greater range of efficiency, meaning electric cars that did not qualify before 1st March 2016 may now be eligible. The rule of thumb with the revised grant however is the more efficient your electric vehicle is, the higher the grant available to you.

Are trucks eligible for funding under the revised grant?

Previously the grant was only available to smaller commercial vehicles, with those eligible weighing up to 3.5 tonnes, however the government has recently extended the eligibility of the grant, meaning larger electric vehicles now qualify. An additional £4 million has been added to the scheme with electric vehicles, more specifically trucks, of 3.5 tonnes and over able to access funding of up to £20,000.

The move is all a part of the wider mission to reduce emissions from UK transport use, and for many fleet managers the grant extension is welcome news, particularly as more and more businesses re-evaluate the green credentials of their commercial vehicles. This recent expansion into vehicles over 3.5 tonnes will also make car manufacturer Nissan’s statement about electric vehicle charge points outnumbering petrol stations by 2020 even more of a surety.

What does this mean for traditionally fuelled vehicles?

While fleet managers and other commercial leaders are using recently granted access to government funding to make investments in electric vehicles, many may think that support for traditionally fuelled HGVs has fallen by the wayside. However, efforts are being made to ensure all vehicle types are being catered for as the number of gas refuelling stations for HGVs increase.

After the UK’s first grid-connected compressed natural gas (CNG) station was introduced back in March, more and more refuelling stations are appearing on-route, with one of the latest new developments at the Port of Liverpool in Seaforth opening its doors around the clock to HGVs and other commercial vehicles looking for fuel. Another state of the art, Liverpool based refuelling station is also under development and this too promises 24 hour refuelling facilities when it opens in early 2017.

In addition to refuelling stations increasing nationwide, there are also plans for 10 more CNG stations in the pipeline thanks to the partnership between HGV refuelling experts ENN and Pro-Petro Ltd.


Vans Lead the Way in the Commercial Vehicle Sector with Rising Numbers Leaving HGVs in the Dust

TransitVans are officially driving the commercial vehicle sector, especially in terms of conversions, but as the growth in van numbers continues into 2017 it is heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) that are being left behind.

According to research collated by Transport for London’s Roads Task Force, there is evidence that vans are being used as substitutes for HGVs, and this trend isn’t just affecting the capital. This record number of vans has been seen throughout the UK and limited HGV use is also mirrored but why are commercial business owners and fleet managers choosing to go down this route? Here we explore this burgeoning trend and reveal what this could mean for the future of HGVs.

The statistics behind the trend

Earlier this year the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) revealed that the number of vans on British roads is the biggest ever to be recorded and as of April 2016, there was just over 4 million vans being driven on UK roads. The figures document an increase of 4.3% in comparison to 2015 and as business confidence and growth continues these numbers are expected to increase further year-on-year.

Van manufacturers have taken advantage of this trend of rising numbers too and at the UK commercial vehicle sector’s much anticipated annual exhibition, Commercial Vehicle Show, there were a record number of new van and pickup models showcased as manufacturers look to capitalise on this van use explosion. In stark comparison, whilst the domestic freight activity showed a slight increase, international freight activity and HGV usage declined from April 2015 to March 2016 in accordance with the Department for Transport’s findings. Overall there were 8% less goods lifted and 6% less goods moved.

Why the big change?

Several reasons have been attributed to the strength of van sales and the decline of HGV use on UK roads. There is less regulations affecting van drivers compared with HGV operators, regulations that can mean an unlimited amount of paperwork for fleet operators. Even speed limit changes that should have tipped the balance towards HGV use have had the opposite effect with the aftermath of HGV speed limit increases on rural roads, as introduced last April, making lorry journeys slower than ever.

Fleet managers and commercial business owners may also be favouring the use of vans due to fewer skills being required to operate such a vehicle. Whilst HGV drivers much obtain a professional driving qualification, known formally as the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC), the standard UK driving licence (more specifically category B) means you can drive any van type as long as it weighs less than 3,500kg. With a salary of up to £35,000 per annum, HGV drivers also cost more making lower paid van drivers a much more cost effective prospect. Even for businesses looking to operate HGV fleets, the long running shortage is making HGV drivers an endangered species industry wide.

The future of HGVs

With the 600,000 licensed HGV drivers currently registered within the UK having an average age of 57 and wandering closer to retirement, the driver shortage crisis is set to continue, which means more and more business owners will be looking for more viable alternatives in order to get their goods from A to B. The flexibility offered by fleets of vans is another key reason why the future of HGVs may not be looking so bright, and industry experts expect the van favouring trend to continue as a result, despite the inefficiency that will be encountered in terms of load capacity.


Volkswagen Transporter is 66 years old!

Old TransporterNow one of the most coveted retro vehicle models around, the Volkswagen Transporter is definitely the cool kid on the block but it hasn’t always been this way. Celebrating its 66th birthday this year, VW camper vans were once commercial workhorses known for their versatility not their good looks, and whilst the older models have become something of a collector’s item, Volkswagen Group’s sixth generation model, known officially as ‘T6’, is carrying on this tradition.

The history of VW’s T Series

Officially the bestselling van model of all time, the Volkswagen Transporter has sold 12 million units across the globe. From its T1 version, manufactured from 1950 to 1967, to its latest T6 model, introduced this year, the Transporter is an iconic commercial vehicle, and throughout its history has outshone competitors Ford Transit, Toyota Hiace and Mercedes-Benz Vito.

Volkswagen T1s are the first model that comes to mind when we think VW camper, and this was the first generation to kick start production in the Transporter family. Manufactured between 1950 and 1967 in Europe and the US, and from 1950 to 1975 in Brazil, the T1 – which was called Type 2 at the time, as were VW’s T2 and T3 models – was built in Germany and was cutting edge at the time. In addition to its eye catching split windscreen, which has earned the model the nickname ‘Splittie’ in recent years, the T1 incorporated an air cooled engine mounted to its rear, an engine type that was upgraded in 1953 to unlock greater brake horse power (bhp).

Like all of the Transporter range, the T1 was available in a selection of body styles, with the T1 accessible as a 5-door panel van, 5-door minibus, 2-door pickup, or 3-door pickup. More incarnations of the Transporter Series emerged namely the T2 (manufactured from 1967 to 1979), T3 (1979 to 1992), T4 (1990 to 2003), T5 (2003 to 2016) and the T6 (from 2016 to present).

Introducing the T6

The T6 Transporter is the latest model in the series and was released by Volkswagen earlier this year. The sixth generation model has already been named ‘International Van of the Year 2016’ with its range of features already proving popular with commercial business owners. Volkswagen attributes the superior quality of its T6 model to being able to perfect technology across multiple generations and as well as incorporating a new 2.0 TDI and BiTDI diesel engine with the EU6 emissions standards, the larger load capacity and vast choice of seating and compartment options are all features appreciated by their customers.

To improve efficiency and performance further, the T6 uses BlueMotion Technology, which unlocks Start/Stop, regenerative braking and low rolling resistance tyres. Inside the vehicle a touch screen display helps drivers to access yet more technology, including DAB+ radio, Bluetooth, satellite navigation and other driver assistance systems such as a Front Assist with City Emergency Braking System, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), High Beam Assist and Driver Alert.

Celebrate with Volkswagen

With Volkswagen marking two model 66th birthdays this year – the Volkswagen Group celebrates subsidiary SEAT’s 66th birthday this year too – there is much to celebrate! As always there are a variety of regional events in the calendar to celebrate the VW T Series in all its glory – this year’s Southsea BeachBuggin’ event, the ultimate VW show where hundreds of old splitties from all eras gathered in August, was a particular highlight – with Camper Jam, BusFest, Van Fest and Bonaween all offering plenty of family friendly VW fun. The Classic Motor Show and North Devon’s Final Fling are both still to come for 2016.

Electric Vans: Is Now the Right Time to Plug In?

Electric VansLow emissions driving is becoming more popular than ever, and over 70,000 people in the UK have already made the switch from petrol or diesel to electric. As a commercial vehicle operator or fleet manager, cutting costs fleet wide is of course a main priority but what role do electric vehicles play in achieving this goal?

Fuel savings, low maintenance and major tax breaks make going low emissions more accessible than ever before, and with the availability of government grants slashing the showroom value of electric vans and other vehicles dramatically, the only major concerns left are whether electric alternatives can indeed go the distance, and once recharging is required, are plug in points really as reachable as they make out? Here we take a look at the current state of the charge point network, the government funding available for plug in points, and just how the petrol and diesel powered commercial vehicle world is fighting back…

Charging electric vehicles

Charging your electric vehicle both at home and on the move is a point that many potential low emission investors make against opting for this greener way to drive, but as the number of low emission drivers increases so too does the network of charge points. There are now more than 11,000 charge points based around England and Wales, and roughly 96% of motorway service stations are also fully equipped with at least one rapid charger, which charges an electric vehicle to at least 80% in under 30 minutes. As well as charge points on the road being more accessible, and journeys in electric vehicles more comfortable and confident as a result, installing a plug in point in your business premises or even your home is now possible thanks to specialised government support.

Government funding for plug in points

In addition to providing grants to lower the price you pay at the showroom for your electric vehicle, shaving up to £4,500 off a brand new electric car and up to £8,000 off an electric van via the Plug-in Car Grant and the Plug-in Van Grant, support is also available to minimise the cost of any equipment or installation fees associated with home and business charge point fitting.

Whether you have off-street or on-street parking at your residence, the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) will cover 75% of the cost. The eligibility criteria for the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme has recently changed. From the 1st July 2016, a grant of up to £500 – this funding was originally capped at £700 including VAT – will be available to those who have taken keepership of an electric vehicle. Whilst this vehicle can be new or secondhand, it must be a make and model that is eligible. This means that drivers can charge vehicles at their homes easily and safely.

Are fuelled vehicles soon to be made redundant?

Whilst the role of electric vans is growing, and is likely in the future to overtake the numbers of fuelled vehicles on our roads, the increasing number of refuelling stations for HGVs shows that there’ll always be a place for diesel and petrol powered vans in the commercial vehicle world, after all low emission driving isn’t for everyone.

Traditional refuelling is undergoing its own evolution; recently HGV refuelling experts ENN and Pro-Petro Ltd teamed up to launch the UK’s first open access natural gas vehicle refuelling station, and plans for 10 more similar stations are also in the pipeline. Our world is changing and hopefully to a cleaner better future for commercial vehicles.

Van Safety: What Should the Driver Check Every Day?

Van safetyAs a manufacturer in the van access and protection market, we understand more than most that van safety matters. With more than 4 million vans being driven on UK roads at the last count, vans and other commercial vehicles are the backbone that keeps small and large sized businesses satisfying their own customers, however without the right maintenance these companies will quickly find that their fleet is actually a drain on resources.

According to the latest statistics gathered by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), of the 10,800 vans stopped annually at the roadside, 88.5% were overloaded, 63% had serious mechanical defects and 50% would fail an MOT. Carrying out relevant safety checks daily, not just at your next MOT or service, is a vital part of van maintenance and without them you could find yourself facing a hefty fine, van prohibition or vehicle immobilisation. Here we take a closer look at the van safety checks every driver should be completing every day…

Your daily checklist

By following this simple van user checklist you can ensure that your van is maintained to a high level, free from mechanical defects and not driven whilst overloaded.

  1. Be aware of your vehicle’s maximum payload to avoid overloading, and when towing make sure that the tow bar and trailer of the van is secure and any electrical connections are fully operational
  2. Check your brake pedal and parking brake, both should experience very minimal play whilst the latter should hold your fully loaded vehicle when stationary
  3. Each tyre should have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm, be correctly inflated, its sidewall must be free from deep cuts, cord should not be visible on the tyre, and all wheel nuts should be present and secure
  4. Your van’s lights, indicators, marker lights and dashboard warning lights should work correctly
  5. The windscreen wipers and washers must also be in good working order, i.e. able to clear the windscreen of debris when switched on, whilst your washer fluid should be topped up at all times
  6. All mirrors should be fully secured to your vehicle, aligned to the driver’s preference, and free from damage and discoloured glass
  7. Seats should be secure and the seatbelt on each fully operational and free from damage
  8. The levels of fluids, fuel and oil should be checked before every journey regardless of its length, this includes the brake fluid, engine coolant, engine oil, power steering fluid and windscreen washer fluid. Your vehicle should also be free from leaks with all caps able to be fully secured
  9. Your van’s bodywork and doors require attention too, all doors should be secure when closed and the bodywork should be free from damage and sharp edges, paying special attention to the van’s body panels.

Additional safety measures

To enhance safety further, there are a number of innovations that make great investments for drivers of vans and commercial vehicles. Our range features a diverse selection of specialist equipment, each of which is designed and developed to protect your vehicle, allow easy access for drivers and improve safety. Our Safe T Bar and Safe T Step products are made from the highest quality materials and approved to the highest standards to provide various benefits to not just the driver but all those who encounter the vehicle.

Your Guide to Ultra-Low Emission Vans

CO2_car_image-low-emission-vehicle-370Ultra-low emission vehicles have dominated the motoring headlines for a number of years, and now thanks to the launch of joint government and car industry campaign, Go Ultra Low, switching to electric has never been so easy or beneficial. There are many advantages of going ultra-low for commercial vehicle operators and fleet managers, harnessing huge fuel savings being one of them, but what are the latest trends in the van world and just how successful is the adoption of electric vehicles in the commercial sector?

Why go ultra-low?

As we’ve briefly mentioned, opting for an ultra-low emission van could in fact have more benefits than you think, and thanks to the government backed Go Ultra-Low scheme the adoption of electric vehicles is more accessible than ever. The fuel savings aspect of ultra-low emission vehicles is of course one of the main advantages, after all fleet managers and commercial vehicle operators are always looking to save money. The latest research shows that ultra-low emission vans could unlock fuel savings of up to £1,500 per year in comparison to the diesel fuelled vehicles usually deployed throughout the commercial sector. Even if half of the 3.7 million vans currently operating on UK roads made the switch fuel cost savings would be a colossal £2.6 billion!

In addition to saving on fuel, ultra-low emission van owners will spend less on maintenance fees and tax rates.

The latest developments

The ultra-low emission vehicle sector is constantly evolving, however thanks to the latest developments and growing government support, electric cars and vans are not only cheaper to run than their petrol and diesel powered alternatives but more affordable to buy. As well as benefiting from sizable tax breaks and fuel savings, the government grants now available make electric company cars and fleet vehicles a worthy investment. Fleet managers and commercial vehicle operators can get up to £4,500 off the showroom price of a new electric car or up to £8,000 off the price of a low emission van courtesy of the Plug-in Car Grant and the Plug-in Van Grant. Grant eligibility is dependent on the electric vehicle make and model, and the criteria is split into three categories as a result.

Thanks to these grants, both of which aren’t as complex to access as you think, more and more commercial vehicle operators and fleet managers are investing in low emission driving, and overall more than 70,000 drivers have already made the switch.

What do you need to consider?

After considering the cost of your low emission investment and the benefits that go hand-in-hand with driving an electric van, there are other factors that must be deliberated before going electric. The range of your ultra-low emission van may be a concern, especially as you will be using it to transport goods or deliver services on behalf of your business. It may surprise you that some electric vehicle models have a particularly long range, and can travel up to 700 miles off one charge.

The accessibility of recharging points for electric vehicles may also be a concern, however, whilst they may go unnoticed, there are over 11,000 charge points in the UK at present, and this number is growing. Amazingly 96% of motorway service stations have a rapid charger that will recharge your low emission vehicle to at least 80% in under 30 minutes, which gives you or your driver just enough time for lunch!

50 Years of Ford Transit

Ford Transit1965 wasn’t just the year that The Beatles released the album Rubber Soul, or even just the year that Winston Churchill passed away and a state funeral like no other was held in his honour, it was also the year that the Ford Transit was born! Yes, the nation’s favourite and most iconic van is currently celebrating its 50th birthday, and market leading vehicle manufacturer Ford certainly knows how to celebrate in style. As well as dedicating this blog entry to revelling in the history of the Ford Transit van, we reveal what Ford is doing to celebrate the anniversary of this commercial best seller and British van hero.

Where it all began

It was in October 1965 that the Transit rolled off the production line and onto our roads. An inspiring sight for Ford, the Transit was designed and developed to replace the Thames 400E, offering something bigger, better and more adaptable. The Transit was the subject of the co-development partnership between Ford of Britain and Ford of Germany, and each combined their knowledge and expertise in what is now considered the hub of Ford’s early activity, the manufacturer’s Langley headquarters, also the site of Spitfire builds during World War II.

Its main competition at the time was the Bedford CA, however Ford used its American identity to pioneer something that was not only distinctive in design but a vehicle that was much more useful. The design itself used short V4 engines fitted at the front of the vehicle, which gave the van a greater loading capacity and transformed van use for businesses not just in the UK but around the world. It wasn’t just one model that made its way onto the light commercial vehicle market during that fateful month, Ford introduced panel van, pick up and minibus models to ensure at least one would work for their clientele, and as a result the Transit brand gained a bevy of loyal fans.

The brand evolves

It wasn’t until 1978 that the second generation Ford Transit was developed and seven years later in 1985, Ford proudly announced that it had witnessed its two millionth Transit exit the production line. In addition to still being one of the most popular and best-selling commercial vehicles across Europe – some eight million Transits have been sold globally since its introduction in 1965 which equates to a customer buying a new van every 180 seconds during its lifetime – the Transit has a number of records to its name, including world records for endurance and towing.

Let the celebrations commence!

To celebrate this momentous occasion, Ford has been honouring 50 years of Transit incarnations all over the world. The party began at the NEC Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham where the manufacturer showcased their full range of Transit vans, which included a golden van alongside four new models, namely the Transit, Transit Custom, Transit Connect and Transit Courier. Commemorations followed at events around the world, enabling Transit enthusiasts everywhere to join the celebrations.

Whilst the Transit is no longer manufactured in the UK, it’s safe to say that the Transit is still very much an icon that should be celebrated, and few vans in fact have made such an impact on the world and more specifically motoring history.

Happy 50th birthday Ford Transit!