Company Car Today

The CV Show returned to the Birmingham NEC on August 31, but anyone hoping that this meant a return to something like normality would have been a little disappointed.

The big gaps on the show floor where major brands would previously have had their stands were the most notable signs that this wasn’t a totally typical event. Citroen, Fiat, Peugeot, Renault and Volkswagen were all particularly conspicuous by their absence.

There was still plenty to see and talk about, though – and these are the high spots of this year’s CV Show.

 

TOYOTA BRINGS HYBRID EXPERTISE TO VAN WORLD
Toyota provided the biggest news of the show, unveiling a brand-new model in the form of the Corolla Commercial van.

Toyota Corolla VAn CV Show 2021It is based on the Corolla Touring Sports estate, and not only will it become the sole car-derived van of its size but also the only ‘self-charging’ hybrid in the van sector.

The van uses the same 122hp hybrid powertrain as the car and is to be built in the brand’s plant in Burnaston, UK.

There will be one fairly basic trim level to start off with, followed by a more luxurious one if there is the demand.

Gareth Matthews, Toyota light commercial vehicle manager, said: “We’ve long had customers asking about a hybrid commercial vehicle

“It’s just the right time to launch it. There are fleets out there that want to reduce CO2 emissions – they want to be more environmentally responsible but maybe don’t want a full-size van or can’t make full EV work for them.”

 

VAUXHALL EXPERTS VIVARO TO BE 50% EV BY 2023
Vauxhall showed the electric versions of the Combo and Movano for the first time, and said it expects EVs to make up 50% of its Vivaro registrations by the end of 2022.

Brad Miller, Vauxhall’s commercial vehicle brand manager, said: “Year-to-date, 14% of the total Vivaros are EV. Our future order bank is 28% and we expect, by the end of next year, our order bank will be 50% EV versus ICE.”

Miller also confirmed that the hydrogen-powered Vivaro is confirmed for right-hand-drive production and a UK launch in 2023.

It will come to the UK for trials in left-hand drive before that, though, with fleets having already voiced interest.

 

INNOVATION AUTOMOTIVE’S EV-ONLY APPROACH
Innovation Automotive is a new name to vans, with the importer planning to bring a range of small electric commercial vehicles to the UK.

It currently has agreements with Chinese brands DFSK and Skywell and plans to bring at least three models to the UK, including the DFSK EC35 small panel van and EC31 chassis cab that will arrive in early 2022.

Paul Bridgen, CEO of IA, said: “Our ultimate objective in the longer term is to build up a bigger brand portfolio, to add more brands that are complementary to these.”

The goal is to target SMEs and local authorities who are looking to make the move to zero-emissions transport ahead of the 2030 deadline. Despite this target market, the plan is to offer the vehicles through a direct-to-consumer sales method, with a network of aftersales partners.

 

MAXUS PLANS BATTERY EV PICK-UP AND MORE
Maxus has plans to diversify its electric offering with several heavier commercial vehicles, a tractor and a pick-up truck all on the cards.

Mark Barrett, general manager for Harris Maxus in the UK, said that an electrified version of the T90 pick-up truck could come to these shores. “It’s a case of homologating it for Europe, and obviously changing it to CCS charging type,” he said.

The truck would be two-wheel-drive only, he said, and would still manage a payload in excess of one tonne and offer a range of around 250 miles. Other new variants include a crew cab for the E Deliver 9 arriving late this month.

 

DIFFERENT EDUCATION TACK NEEDED SAYS LEVC
Plug-in hybrid van and taxi manufacturer LEVC is exploring a different approach to educating potential customers, with the traditional whole-life costs not always being the best way to sell the VN5 electric range-extender van.

“The traditional way of looking at total cost of ownership does not take into account downtime,” said James Drake-Lee, head of product management at LEVC.

“With electric vehicles, particularly BEV vehicles with relatively short ranges, the amount of time you need to stop and charge can be very harmful,” he said, pointing out that the LEVC sales team is having to emphasis the potential loss in earnings with electric vans that could require significant charging. He cited a rival EV that takes six hours to charge to 92 miles of range.

“If you’re comparing us with that competitor you would look on the TCO chart, and there’d be no accounting for the fact that the other vehicle is not operating for half a day. And there needs to be some, if you’re doing the maths on a vehicle that’s bought just for commercial purposes.”

 

FORD PRICES UP TRANSIT EV
Ford’s big announcement was the pricing of the Transit EV, which starts at what looks like an enticing £42,695 (not including VAT or Govt. grant).

The big electric van made its European public debut on the stand and is set to go on sale in 2022. Orders will be taken from October with the first vehicles heading out in spring 2022.

Add in the new Ford Sync 4 infotainment system, a range of up to 196 miles and a high level of standard kit, including heated seats, keyless start and the Quickclear windscreen, and the Transit BEV looks like an intriguing prospect.

Tom Webster