Citroën and Fiat show big van updates
We’ll have an opportunity to see revised Citroën Relay and Fiat Ducato vans. As yet little is known about these two, though Citroën is promising that two trim levels, two roof heights and four body lengths will be available from launch in the third quarter of the year.
Citroën will also show its updated Berlingo, which benefits from further fuel economy improvements. These include the adoption of a six-speed Efficient Tronic Gearbox (ETG6) for the Berlingo Airdream model, with improved mapping and more modulated gearchanges.
Vauxhall and Renault world premiere
Driven primarily by emissions legislation, we can expect a host of new and improved vans at this year’s show. Vauxhall and Renault will finally take the wraps off their long-awaited Vivaro and Trafic van updates. The mid-weight LCVs will get a range of new 1.6dCi diesel engines, including a twin turbocharged model that boasts a claimed 39.2mpg.
Both companies will also show facelifted versions of the larger Master and Movano. Vauxhall will be exhibiting a range of converted Movanos on the stand. These will include a walk-through bulkhead delivery vehicle and a lightweight cage tipper, built with converter VFS, that offers a secure non-glazed utility cab behind the driver for storage of tools and equipment.
Vauxhall will have a Combo Crew van on offer as well, alongside its first Combo Sportive model and the largest Combo L2H2.
Plenty of vans to see and drive
Visitors will get a chance to see the full Ford Transit line-up, with just the smallest Transit Courier still to be launched. The full size Transit, that we have now driven, is expected to draw the most attention on the stand and Ford will be running test drives from the show for prospective customers.
Mercedes-Benz won’t launch the next Vito van until the Hannover show later this year, although visitors to the firm’s Van Experience in the summer will no doubt get a first glimpse of the revised van. There will be plenty to see on the firm’s stand though, including Citan and current Vito models, along with both Sprinter vans and chassis cab models. A separate truck stand will show Mitsubishi’s Canter Eco Hybrid 7.5-tonne truck alongside Merc’s own Atego. Visitors can expect a full range of Euro 6 heavy trucks to make an appearance at the show too.
Racking and cooling options
If you are looking for internal conversions then racking specialist Tevo will be adding to the lightweight range that it launched last year. The company will be introducing a range of lightweight drawer units, that are said to cut weight by around 20% compared to previous models.
The company is also launching the Modul-Safe, a robust locker that can hold a laptop or other valuables. The safe can be free-standing or integrated into the racking system. Tevo will also show a revised gas bottle holder with an improved locking mechanism, a cable shelf specifically designed for carry cable rolls, and a heavy duty Modul-lock that can be used to lock up to three drawers at a time.
Site workers using their vans as workshops may also be interested in the latest Handiwash 2 washing unit from Eberspacher, that uses 50% less energy than previous systems. Handiwash 2 has two dropdown taps for hot and cold water, a waste water collection system and an integrated water level. The unit folds flat when not in use.
Eberspacher will also show the Euroengel F0720 mobile refrigeration case. This compact cooler unit has been designed to fit inside a Mercedes Citan, Renault Kangoo, Peugeot Partner or Citroën Berlingo. The heavy-duty polyethylene container is suitable for perishable foodstuffs or pharmaceutical use. The chilled container can also be used in larger vans, providing mixed temperature storage. With 12V, 24V and 240V options, it is also possible to plug the unit into the mains overnight to maintain temperatures prior to the following day’s use.
Suspension for heavy loads
For those looking to convert their vans below the bodywork, VB-Airsuspension will be showing a range of suspension conversion options at the show. These include uprated spring kits, already fitted to both RAC and AA service vans to cope with constant heavy duty use, along with semi-air and full air suspension set-ups.
VB has recently become a Premium Partner to Volkswagen, making the company the first choice supplier for Crafter and Transporter suspension conversions. The Dutch company is believed to be one of the first non-German Premium suppliers to Volkswagen.
Pick-ups are the next line of focus for VB, as the company is developing a range of semi-air suspension options for pick-up customers, to improve empty ride and handling while retaining a one-tonne payload for VAT purposes.
The firm has also been working with the VCA and with VOSA to ensure that its air suspension systems are fully compatible with electronic stability control systems, now that these are standard on all new vans.
Bodybuilders show conversions
Popular LCV converter VFS will not just be present on the Vauxhall stand. The company, which has Whole Vehicle Type Approval across its full range of body conversions, continues to supply Ford with the UK Transit Dropside body.
The company will now also supply dropsides to Renault, Nissan, Vauxhall and Fiat, with other manufacturers to come soon.
VFS will be showing a new Luton box body at the show, that can be installed on a range of manufacturers chassis. This is the first time that the company has offered a box body and initially it will be built for the longest chassis option of each manufacturer. The lightweight GRP panel body weighs just 520kg and the company aims to be able to supply a box body and a tail lift, yet still offer a 1.0-tonne payload on a 3.5-tonne chassis.
Another popular converter at the show will be Dutch firm Snoeks. The company will offer a double cab in van conversion for Ford ‘s new full size Transit. Unlike Ford’s own double cab conversion, the Snoeks set-up retains the full load length at the floor on front-wheel drive vans, as the bulkhead allows the load to pass below the rear seats.
The high strength plastic bulkhead has been fully tested to offer maximum occupant protection, while the rear seat conversion is available with either three or four seats, each with armrests.
The conversion can be carried out directly by Snoeks, or through any of its nine fitting agents in the UK.
Technology developments show the way forward
MiX Telematics will launch a back-to-basics entry level track and trace system at the show. Available with a 12 month contract, the MiX DataTrak offering will cost just £17.99 per month per vehicle for both hard and software. Indeed as the system is internet based there is no requirement for a customer to download additional software as it can be accessed from a PC, tablet or smartphone on a 24/7 basis.
The system provides customisable real-time alerts covering vehicle status, ignition on or door open. Geofencing is also available through DataTrak with a range of tailored or standard reports available to the fleet manager. Mapping is provided by GoogleMaps and the system is aimed at SME fleets.
Larger fleets might be better served by MiX Fleet Manager, which this year features a new interface for the user and delivers a wide range of fleet management solutions.
A less familiar name to van customers, though well known in heavy truck markets, is R2C Online. The company will be showing a web-based tool for managing and controlling service, maintenance and repair work that coordinates work between fleet owners and their repairers.
Called issue to invoice (i2i) this authorisation tool ensures rapid processing of service and maintenance requests to minimise downtime and reduce the number of telephone calls between fleets and their service providers.