Meanwhile, the Dealer has also supplied Rhodar’s parent company Lexia Solutions Group with a Mercedes-Benz Citan, which is now working for demolition division Bagnall UK.
The Sprinters are all 313 CDI models and equipped with fuel-saving ECO-Start systems. ECO-Start is designed to automatically cut the engine when the vehicle is stationary for three seconds then re-starts it as soon as the driver depresses the clutch, thereby cutting both diesel consumption and exhaust emissions.
The overwhelming majority of Rhodar’s fleet of more than 180 vans wear Mercedes-Benz three-pointed stars, but the new arrivals have replaced vehicles by another manufacturer, which the company said had proved ‘thirsty and expensive to maintain’.
‘By contrast, we know from experience that the Sprinter is extremely cost-effective to operate, and very reliable,’ commented group fleet manager, Steven Haigh.
‘Also important is the fact that we can get our new vans maintained outside our own working hours, thus avoiding costly downtime – unlike the supplier of the vans we’ve stood down, which was basically a car dealer, Northside are proper commercial vehicle specialists and understand our business needs perfectly.’
The Vito 113 CDI and Citan 109 CDI are both Dualiner variants with second rows of seats, so capable of carrying a driver and four passengers while maintaining a useful cargo capacity.
Rhodar was already running nine other Vito models. However, it is the first time that a Lexia Solutions Group company has operated a Citan, the new small van from Mercedes-Benz, which was launched last year.
The new vans are now transporting work crews, tools and equipment to sites across the UK – typically, in the case of Rhodar, where asbestos has been exposed during alterations to buildings and needs to be safely removed and disposed of.
Some also tow mobile decontamination units which are effectively highly specialised caravans, divided into three compartments. After working on an asbestos site operatives enter at the ‘dirty end’, remove all their protective clothing, then move through to the middle section, which is equipped with showers, before exiting through the “clean end”.
Like all new Sprinters, Rhodar’s vans are fitted as standard with Trailer Stability Assist, which works with the vehicles’ Adaptive ESP electronic stability programme to counteract “fishtailing” and make towing easier and safer.