The safety body Euro NCAP has revealed that many of the most popular commercial vans are performing badly during their safety tests. Euro NCP claimed that the tests were based on more true to life situations than the standards tests that are performed on vehicles before they are road legal. The results have led to the safety organisation calling for higher levels of safety equipment in vans and a toughening up of that they deem ‘lenient’ legal safety requirements.
The Ford Transit’s Custom was the only vehicle to gain five stars in the tests, while the Renault Trafic (which is also sold as the Vauxhall Vivaro and the Nissan Primetar) only scored two stars. Euro NCAP also tested vans that had up to nine seats as Dr. Michiel van Ratingan, Secretary General Euro NCAP, noted that large families are now opting to use vans instead of MPVS. He said “being derived from commercial plan platforms, these people-carriers are usually less equipped for safety than normal passenger cars. If you have a family with lots of kids and are tempted to buy such a vehicle, please be aware that they do not offer the latest state of the art in vehicle safety”.
Common problems of the vehicles include poor safety assist features, to the point where Euro NCAP even refused to perform a safety assist assessment due to the lack of electronic stability control in the Renault Trafic. Furthermore, all the vehicles – including the Ford Transit – were marked under fifty percent for pedestrian safety, meaning that if a driver has an accident and doesn’t have adequate van insurance they will have to personally pay for all costs and could even find themselves being prosecuted.
Unsurprisingly, the manufacturers of these vehicles have already released statements claiming that they are addressing the issues. Fiat has even promised that a front passenger airbag and a speed limitation advice will be featured as standard in more European markets.
Renault has now launched the Kangoo Van ZE, it is the first of its four strong Electric Vehicle (EVs) impressive line up and it will be on show in all the first wave of United Kingdom Renault dealerships that specialise in EVs. Twenty-one electric vehicle sites have all been branded as ZE Expert and are now ready to offer the full range of sales and after-sales services for Renault’s electric vehicle the Kangoo Van ZE.
Each of the twenty-one sites will have fully trained staff that will be able to answer any question that fleet managers may have as well as offering advice on making the most of the benefits associated with running an electric fleet, including the environmental and financial factors. There will be a minimum of two fully trained ZE sales specialists to guide interested private and business customers through the funding and charging options, along with battery hire plans to calm any concerns over the performance and replacement costs. All ZE Expert sites will have a Kangoo Van ZE available for test drives, so that fleet managers can experience for themselves the differences of driving an electric vehicle. Renault are aware that there will be a number of electric vans on the market in the coming years and fleet managers will be making comparisons between the different choices before looking for a cheap van insurance quote.
Thierry Sybord, managing director of Renault UK, said “I’m delighted to see so many of our dealers embracing this new era of electric transport. With a full range of four fully-electric models set to launch in the UK in less than one year, we have high hopes for our ZE range. I’m sure our ZE Expert dealers will reap the rewards on both sales and after-sales and we look forward to charging ahead with them in the months and years ahead as we seek to attract as many electric vehicle buyers as possible.”
The dealerships have also brought in specialist ramps and equipment to deal with the service and maintenance of electric vehicles. Renault has also invested in three new charging points at each site. One will be in the workshop, one in the demonstrator area and one in the car park. The charging point in the car park will also be accessible for all EV customers to use.
In news that could persuade van drivers with an interest in purchasing a van insurance quote on a zero-carbon work van to take a detour tomorrow, Renault have announced they will be showcasing the new Kangoo ZE at Thursday’s widely anticipated start to the Ecovelocity event at Battersea Power station in London.
The four day show will feature many aspects of the new “green vehicle” technology and Renault has decided to make a highly visible presence at the show. Alongside the all electric Kangoo ZE will sit the new Fluence. This four door family saloon is also electrically powered and will soon be available to buy in the UK.
It is the Kangoo ZE though that Renault are pinning their hopes on. Coming in at under £17,000 Renault believes this environmentally friendly van will be a big hit with the British public. Renault say it is the only electric van mass produced by a big manufacturer and are adamant they have stolen a march on their rivals.
Andy Heiron, the head of Renault UK’s electric vehicle arm, said “Renault is the only manufacturer to offer a full range of affordable electric vehicles. The company will be launching its ZE models on the roads of the UK in the next few weeks and we are delighted to be showing off two of the family at Ecovelocity.”
There is no doubt that experts expect commercial vehicles to be at the forefront of spending on zero emission vehicles and the reception given to the Kangoo ZE this week at the show will interest other manufacturers as well as Renault.
Renault has won yet another trophy to add to its already long list of plaudits, this time for its newly-revised van range, and they are delighted at winning the award for Most Improved Van Manufacturer of the Year at the Fleet Van Awards.
Europe’s number one LCV marque was also praised for the New Master in the Large Panel Van of the Year category and they also made the shortlist in category of Small Van of the Year for the Kangoo Van.
Renault is getting very serious about its vans in the United Kingdom. They now have a good range of vans which are very competitive, particularly the New Master which came very close to winning the category it was in, and a network of dealers that are waking up to the needs of fleets. They hope in the future that many more firms will be taking out commercial vehicle insurance on Renault vans when they see what they have to offer. Renault’s range of van-specific initiatives (Renault Pro+ and iCare) has raised the standards as well as giving van fleets a reason to consider Renault as a supplier.
Speaking after the award was won, Darren Payne, Renault UK’s Director, Fleet and Commercial Vehicle Operations, said, “We’re honoured to have received the award for ‘most improved van manufacturer’ and are thrilled that the judges have recognised the work that has gone into revising our entire LCV offering in less than two years. With the unique Kangoo Van range of three distinct models in the compact category, plus the revised Traffic Phase 3 and recently launched New Master in both front- and rear-wheel-drive, we truly believe we offer the ideal range for business customers, large or small. Aside from just upgrading our products, we’ve also worked extremely hard on delivering unique initiatives to ensure that the quality of our customer care matches that of our vans.”
A nationwide charity has purchased commercial vehicle insurance on a whole new fleet of vans this weekend, as they have taken delivery of sixteen new vehicles.
Age UK, the charity that works to improve the lives of Britain’s older population, has bought sixteen Renault Master vans and plans to operate them in its retail section. The vans will be used to make door to door collections of clothes donated by the generous public in the UK, and will then take the clothes on to the charity’s central warehouse in Warrington. From Warrington the vans will then ferry the clothes to the charity’s shops around the towns and cities in the UK heartlands.
David Coeshall, the Vehicle Procurement and Fleet Manager at the charity, said “Our brief while tendering was to look for a van that was reliable, spacious and fuel efficient, and the New Master met all of these requirements. The Renault Master is also comfortable, easy-to-drive and looks great thanks to its recent redesign.”
A spokesman for the vehicle manufacturer, said “It’s a real privilege to be handing over sixteen New Master Vans to a fantastic charity. Age UK does essential work in supporting elderly people and we are delighted to be working with them. Charities need to keep a close eye on their running costs, so we hope the New Master can help thanks to its huge capacity and incredible fuel economy in its class, achieving up to an impressive 870 miles on a single tank.”
Age UK came about with an amalgamation of two well known charities, Age Concern and Help the Aged. The charity is well known for its sterling work with old people throughout the land which includes advocacy advice, help in the home, day centres and other help and advice schemes.