Once again the demand for winter tyres from commercial vehicle fleets is on the increase and Kwik-Fit, who won an award last year for their comprehensive service, is still recognised as one of the best in the industry.
Kwik-Fit Fleet only started their winter tyre programme in 2010 and because it was so successful they are repeating the initiative again this winter. The service includes offering fleets a hotel style facility to store all of their summer tyres when the weather is at its worst. The use of winter tyres has been in the spotlight again recently as the United Kingdom prepares for another harsh winter and it was Kwik-Fit who were first to offer fleet operators the option that will not only help keep vans on the road during winter but could also save lives.
Kwik-Fit Fleet has won another award at the Van Fleet Safety Awards. The award comes at a time when Kwik-Fit is investing money in order to improve their service to the commercial sector. During the past twelve months they have seen vehicle servicing and MoT work increase by a staggering 40% on vans typically covered with van insurance, demand for LCV tyre sales go up by 20% and van brake repair and replacement work has increased by a quarter.
Kwik-Fit Fleet Sales Director, Peter Lambert, said “No other fast fit company has the network coverage or offers such a comprehensive range of services that we have available to operators of light commercial vehicles. We are delighted that the Safety Award recognises not only our winter tyre programme but also our range of risk management services that are designed to keep vehicles on the road and aid corporate legislative compliance. Our ethos is based on delivering a menu of easily accessible car and LCV based services at a reasonable price accompanied by first class customer service.”
Motorists in Scotland have been asked to only make journeys that are absolutely necessary today as a Met Office weather warning puts the whole of Scotland on alert.
The Met Office issued a red warning, their highest alert, during the night and said the next 24 hours will bring the most severe weather so far this winter. The winds will bring snow and rain, and in a bid to avoid the chaos that ensued last year, emergency services are bringing in extra staff. Storms are already crashing into the Western Isles this morning with winds up to 90mph recorded already. The Scottish Parliament has instructed schools to close and drivers to get off the road unless they have good reason to be there.
Of course delivery drivers and other motorists who have vehicles covered by commercial vehicle insurance will have great cause to be on the road as their livelihood will be at stake. It is hoped the Met Office and Government warnings will keep the roads clear enough to enable the commercial sector to go about their business unhindered.
Unfortunately there is bound to be some hold ups and many drivers will find their routes changing as the day progresses. Allan Moffat, from the Association of Scottish Police Officers, said: “It is likely that some or all of the major bridges could be closed, this will inevitably cause disruption on major routes and have an impact on other road networks. The predicted impact of the wind is such that it may cause structural damage and is a specific danger to high sided road vehicles. By travelling, motorists may be putting themselves at serious risk; such is the severity of the forecast conditions.”
It is just 12 months ago when Scotland came to a standstill for virtually months as the coldest winter for decades took hold, and drivers who used their vans and cars professionally found their businesses under threat from a source they never considered. Insurers paid out millions of pounds in claims and breakdown organisations were pushed beyond the limit. Scotland will be hoping the big storm coming today is not a foretaste of things to come.
The changes to the LEZ (London Low Emission Zone) are less then seven months away and Vauxhall Commercial Vehicles are offering any owner of an older van the chance to take advantage of the special discounts on offer from their range.
From January next year all vans which are 3.5 tonnes and below and were registered as new before January 02 will no longer have the luxury of being exempt from daily London Low Emission Zone charges. Vauxhall want to help the owners of commercial vans which will be ten years old when the changes start, plan ahead and avoid having to pay the daily toll which will be another unwanted cost for a business to find. Firms with vans covered by commercial vehicle insurance which are over a decade old need to think about replacing the fleet or at least some of them. Vauxhall are offering generous savings to anyone buying a new Vauxhall commercial vehicle before December 31st this year.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said “I want to make the air cleaner and greener in this great city with the minimum of financial impact for those who need to upgrade their vehicles. I’ve already given extra breathing space during the depths of the recession before these standards are introduced and I am pleased that a number of manufacturers are now offering new discounts to aid us in our efforts.”
Even though the London Low Emission Zone changes only relate to commercial vans ten years or older, Vauxhall are also offering deals to anyone who has a vehicle first registered as little as seven years ago. They are offering £3,000 off a brand new Corsavan via a trade-in, while a £7,500 discount is available off the new Movano with panel vans and chassis cabs also included in the offer.
Vauxhall say they are proud to once again support their customers with this value for money deal which is aimed at helping customers to get through the current tough economic environment.
Councils throughout West Yorkshire are going ahead with their plans to extend the fleet of electric and other environmentally friendly vehicles. Leeds council recently took a delivery of five electric-powered Transit vans and Wakefield council has an order for seven new vehicles.
Later this week Leeds will be taken over by 30 low-emission vehicles which will be parked on Millennium Square. The council organised this free low-emission vehicle exhibition, which is open to members the public. The event is part a promotion of low emissions vehicles.
The display will show vans used by the council, all of which are covered on commercial vehicle insurance and run by biomethane. The council will be showing off an articulated lorry, a refuse collection vehicle, a hybrid double decker bus as well as cars and scooters.
The council operates a range of low carbon vehicles including two biomethane powered refuse collection vehicles, 19 diesel-electric hybrids, with a further five electric transits that have just arrived.
Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive board member who has the responsibility for development and regeneration, said he sees this event as an ideal chance for everyone to learn about new technologies.
Mr Lewis said “There is an urgent need to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases being produced, and reduce the risk of dangerous climate change and poor air quality. Transport is the most difficult sector to reduce emissions, but by introducing new technologies like the ones on display at the exhibition we can really start making steps towards achieving targets.”
The event will include presentations from experts in the field, and its main aim is to promote low emission vehicle technologies. It is hoped that large fleet operators will be encouraged to switch over to the new technologies once they have seen the vehicles in action.
Wakefield Council will be showing off two of their electric vehicles at the Leeds event, as they have also recently been chosen to take part in the Department for Transport Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Programme.
The ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association), based in Belgium, have said that commercial vehicle manufacturers in Europe are developing an evaluation tool which will calculate real life emissions ahead of purchase.
The CO2 emissions from a commercial vehicle will vary depending on the size and shape of the vehicle and also on the amount of work it does, for example how much is carried, how far the vehicle will be travelling and how fast, how many times will it be starting and stopping as well as many more factors.
The calculation method uses computer simulation to properly reflect the purpose and usage of the vehicle concerned. The CO2 evaluation tool will enable customers to pick the most fuel-efficient vehicle specification. This initiative is an important step in realising the commercial vehicle industry’s ‘Vision 2020’, which was announced in Hanover two years ago where a pledge was made to further reduce CO2 emissions by 20% by 2020. Since the 1970’s the commercial vehicle industry has reduced the fuel consumption of its vehicles by more than a third. This is all good news for firms who have vans on the streets which are covered by commercial vehicle insurance but who are also worried about C02 emissions.
Leif Johansson, Chairman of the Commercial Vehicle Board of ACEA, and President & CEO of Volvo Group, said at the international commercial vehicle show in Germany. “Our industry fully supports the common objective to reduce CO2 emissions, and by sharing our expertise with the market as well as with policy makers, we will arrive at ambitious results. It is important that legislators support our efforts with a policy approach that matches the reality of commercial goods and passengers. Measures should, furthermore, be globally harmonised. Our industry operates globally, and climate change is also a global challenge.”