A fully electric welfare van offering up to a 120-mile range has been unveiled this week under a tie-up between VMS Fleet Management and Kier Group.
Said to be the first of its kind and currently on long-term rental with the Kier Group for use across a variety of its highway contracts, the Master Z.E. van was supplied to VMS Fleet Management by Renault Trucks UK before going to Clarks Vehicle Conversions to be converted.
It brings standard welfare features, including a microwave, water boiler, dining table/desk, interior lighting, bathroom, and can accommodate up to 6 x 85kg people at one time, plus an additional 225kg of weight. It also brings innovative access points to vehicle and power elements and features a newly developed Clarks Cab Shield to assist in social distancing.
It’s aimed at urban work but also has the capability for traditional highway work. The welfare conversion has the added feature of being powered by solar panels on the roof of the vehicle which charge a lithium battery pack. This pack can be removed to charge and/or replaced with charged batteries ready to use for the next working day.
The van also features full telematics courtesy of Geotab, building on standard telematic features with fault reporting, full EV system monitoring including state of charge and charging costs and the ability to evaluate whole-life cost as well as provide a comparison against a diesel or other fuel equivalent.
Its work at Kier will see it first join the group’s Smart Motorway project M6 Jct 13 – 15, where it will be evaluated before moving to undertake broad tests across urban and rural contracts.
For VMS, the new vehicle bears evidence of heavy investment in its EV fleet as it looks to support customers in making the decision to ‘go electric’ and become more sustainable in the future; more electric vehicle announcements are to come very soon from the group.
Martin James, managing director of VMS Fleet Management Ltd, said: “After months of testing and working closely with the fantastic team at Clarks Vehicles Conversions, I am so proud to say that we can unveil the UK’s first all new, fully electric welfare van. It really is a credit to all involved, especially considering that the teams on the group were building this vehicle and getting it delivered in such an unnerving time.”
He added: “We will continue to work with our partners Kier, who are at the forefront of sustainable transport, on ground-breaking new vehicles that will make a real difference to the environment. Watch this space.”
Karl Simpson, fleet & plant innovations & business improvements manager at Kier Highways, commented: “It’s not every day you get to work on a project as interesting as this one, and to develop a vehicle as different and exciting as the Renault Trucks Master Z.E. electric welfare van. We’re looking forward to continued expansion of our green fleet and working with VMS on new vehicles in the future.”